SSX blur first look.

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SSX blur first look.

Post by l2es-darfvader » Thu Jan 18, 2007 11:51 am

It seems that the beloved snowboarding series that we all recall from the days when PS2's roamed the earth is coming to the Wii. Here's some of the first details:

When EA's SSX Blur was announced at the end of last year, the marriage of Nintendo's innovative hardware and the fast, fun action of the SSX series seemed like a good fit. The promise of how the game would control with the Wii Remote definitely piqued our interest. We finally had the chance to satisfy our curiosity recently when we were able to get some hands-on time with a work-in-progress version of the game. Boasting gameplay faithful to the previous entries in the series, and some Wii-centric twists, SSX Blur looks like EA is delivering the kind of experience we were hoping for.Image


Look for a mix of content from past games and new, Wii-specific elements in Blur.

The version on display featured one racer, Mac, and a remixed version of the Happiness course seen in previous games. We were able to zip around the course in the game's slope-style mode and get a brief taste of a race. The game sticks closely to the SSX essentials and retains much of the same structure and mechanics from the previous games, but with a Wii twist. Blur will feature two main modes to choose from: single and multiplayer (though they weren't shown at the event). The single-player game will feature quickplay and tournament options. The quickplay mode will let you jump into big air, slope-style, half-pipe, race, and slalom games. The tournament mode will serve as the core single-player experience and send you into a competition that's ultimate goal is to reach and race on the peak of the mountain. You'll progress by entering various events you'll come across on the various courses.

The multiplayer component of the game will offer two ways to play: a split-screen mode for two players to race against each other, and a hot-seat mode that will let up to four players compete against each other's score in a turn-based competition. You'll make use of one of 12 characters, which include 10 returning competitors, like Mac, as well as two new faces created especially for Blur. You'll use these racers to test your skills on 12 tracks spread out over three mountains. Like the roster of characters, the courses will include a mix of previous runs, such as Happiness, and some originals. The returning tracks will be more than simple re-creations on the Wii and will feature tweaks to make them a better fit for the game's play style on the system.

So just how do you snowboard on the Wii? Pretty easily. The game has taken the basics of SSX's mechanics and smartly married them to the Wii Remote's unique attributes. To keep it simple, the system keeps air and ground controls separate. You'll steer your racer by turning the Nunchuk, and the analog stick lets you carve for sharper turning. You'll use the Z button to boost, and you can jump by quickly flipping the Nunchuk. Once you're in the air, you'll use the remote to turn by moving it left and right and perform flips by moving it up and down. To land some of your crazier tricks, you'll hit the B button to set your character up to hit the ground at the right angle. You'll use the analog stick on the Nunchuk to perform grabs while in the air, as well.Image


A dozen snowboarders will be available for you to play, including two newcomers.

As far as the game's signature ubertrick special moves go, those have seen three adjustments for the Wii game. The most significant is how you perform the moves, because you'll need to draw shapes with the Wii Remote while you're in the air. The second is the actual tricks, which you'll have to open up by collecting pickups as you play. Every 20 pickups will yield an ubertrick, with a total of 12 being available in the game.

Finally, the third change is to the meter that lets you perform the tricks. This time out, the meter on the right side of the screen that lets you perform tricks, as well as boost, reflects your "groove," which ties into your performance and the game's soundtrack. From what we've seen, the groove element seems more cosmetic than anything, as it seems to work just like the momentum meter in previous games. The major difference here is that the music changes on the fly to reflect your status, and you'll see musical notes floating around your racer when you're doing well. We'll need to clock more time in with the game to see if there's a significant difference from the previous games with the groove system, but so far it works about the same. Overall, the game has a good feel to it, even in its unfinished state. We experienced some weirdness with some of our motions not detecting properly, or performing moves we didn't quite intend, but that didn't happen too often.

Blur's visuals are shaping up well so far. The SSX games have tended to lean more toward the stylized than the photorealistic, so the Wii hardware's horsepower doesn't seem to be an issue. Mac looked solid, sporting a modest amount of detail and smooth animation. Little flourishes such as Mac getting covered in snow when he tumbles were a nice touch. The mountain course was well done and featured a good dose of flat areas mixed with drop-offs, assorted spots to leap from, and tunnels to pass through. Falling snow and chunks of ice kept things lively, as well. The various pickups stood out thanks to vibrant coloring and yielded some flashy particle effects when collected. The game also featured some screen filters for dramatic effect. The action was buttoned up with a smooth frame rate that was fairly consistent, even in the game's unfinished state, which is good to see.
Image

The Wii controls feel about as natural as you'd expect so far, with the Nunchuk used for gross steering and the analog stick for carving.

SSX Blur's audio is getting a bit more love than the previous entries thanks to the aforementioned groove-based gameplay. Besides the voice for Mac and the expected assortment of sound effects, you'll hear the game's soundtrack change on the fly as you play. Besides the visual cues to let you know you're getting your groove on, the game's soundtrack will dynamically change, ebbing and flowing with your success or failure, which adds a different feel to the experience that we're liking.

Based on what we've played so far, SSX Blur is smartly meshing the core elements that give the series its appeal with a good amount of what the Wii has to offer. The control is smart and intuitive, taking good advantage of the Wii Remote's functionality. The visuals are clean and stylized, staying well in line with the style of the previous games. Though we'd obviously like to see more elements of the Wii taken advantage of, such as support for online, WiiConnect24, the built-in speaker, and Miis, the game seems like a good direction for the game on the Wii that's left us wanting more. Look for continued coverage of the game in the weeks leading up to its release late next month.



nitromotor
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Post by nitromotor » Thu Jan 18, 2007 11:59 pm

When////if/// I get the Wii, this will be on the list of games to go with, not a FPS, but should be good for a laugh

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Post by l2es-darfvader » Fri Jan 19, 2007 9:21 am

so far the wii hasn't got a decent fps apart from cod3, but im still waiting to see what will turn out of metroid prime 3. If the past is any indication samus is gonna rock the wii.

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