Shaun White Snowboarding
Shaun White isn't the best PSP snowboarding game out there, but at least it doesn't fall on its face.
Shaun White Snowboarding's quality varies depending on the platform. The Wii version is pretty good, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions are underdeveloped and the PS2 version can't keep up with the superior SSX franchise. Now we have the Sony PSP edition, an on-the-go snowboarder that lets you tackle five mountains and the variety of challenges they have to offer. It's got more quality than we expected, but a few snags keep it from smoothly reaching the finish line.
White's experience and attitude are present throughout the game. You'll run into him in the beginning, as he offers you advice before you begin making your way down the mountain. From there, you're given a series of challenges on each mountain you visit. They're divided into four categories: Speed, Trick, Carve and Slide. Speed is just that, getting down a track as fast as possible to beat a time limit. Trick requires you to perform various maneuvers before you run out of room to snowboard. Carve is a tricky exercise forcing you to take sharp turns in continuation, with no real breaks in between. Slide tests your ability to grind along objects, such as pipes, benches and whatever obstacles get in your way.
Complete these exercises correctly and you'll earn precious experience points. You can turn these around and enhance each of your snowboarding abilities. If you don't feel like upgrading your performance, you can purchase new equipment, such as snowboards and other goodies, to customize yourself a little further.
The controls are all right. You perform tricks using the four face buttons on the front of the system, and the L and R buttons give you carving ability. Carving is extremely tricky, to the point that it may drive you nutty. Once you get the hang of it, however, you'll execute tricks like a pro.
You'll find plenty of activities in Shaun White Snowboarding, but the sad part is you'll have to go through most of them alone. The game does support two-player versus racing, but you'll need another copy. It also takes longer to set up a race than expected.
With the presentation, Ubisoft did a decent job. Mountains look the same, but the riders animate nicely and the fresh powder you fall into resembles the real thing. The soundtrack is very good, save for a couple of cover tracks. "Ballroom Blitz" is pretty ideal for a downhill rush.
You'll find plenty of activities in Shaun White Snowboarding, but the sad part is you'll have to go through most of them alone. The game supports two-player versus racing, but you'll need another copy. It also takes longer to set up a race than expected.
If you like boarding or you're a fan of the winter sports gold medalist, Shaun White Snowboarding just might be your game. Otherwise, there's no reason you can't stick with the inexpensive copy of SSX On Tour.
What's Hot: A great variety of challenges, you can upgrade skills and purchase new snowboarding equipment, five mountains to choose from, excellent soundtrack.
What's Not: Basic controls, multiplayer lacks online functionality.