Shaun White Snowboarding

Shaun White Snowboarding

Genre : Sport/Snowboarding
Snowboarding games are a rare commodity. It’s been a long time since anyone made a snowboarding game in the spirit of 1080° and the original Amped. Ubisoft is bringing back the magic in mid-November with Shaun White Snowboarding on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360. Think of it like EA’s Skate, only on a snowboard. SWS features four massive mountains that are completely open from the start. There are no tricks to unlock, just four special moves to complete some specific missions. Otherwise, you are pretty much able to pull off any trick you want from the get-go if you have the talent.Tricks are really easy to pull off. Once in the air, move the Right Thumbstick in a direction for a grab. Click in on the thumbstick to open a second set of moves. You can tweak grabs with the trigger as well. The Left Thumbstick controls spins and flips and is used to balance yourself before landing. It’s that’s simple. While it might take you a run or two down one of the mountains to get comfortable with the system, it’s easy to master. And once you do have the moves mastered, there’s a lot of fun to be had with Shaun White.

While you don’t upgrade your snowboarder, you will purchase new boards that have properties to increase your stats. Better boards give you more speed and air, better cutting on the snow, etc. You’ll also find that the higher those stats grow, the less “forgiveness” you get from your board. Though your starting board is weak, its level of forgiveness on landings is mindboggling. You’ll certainly put face to powder once in a while, but you’ll also land tricks that would be physically impossible to walk away from. The pay-off for more air and faster speeds is a drop in forgiveness. That’s how Shaun White gets you to up your own game. You want to go big? You better be able to nail your landings. Should you bail, SWS doesn’t punish you too greatly. You’ll lose your multiplier, but you’ll hop up and keep on down the slope within a few seconds. This way you don’t lose the flow. As much as I love a good bail, it is nice not to lose 15 seconds of time watching my character bounce around.

Now, when I say the mountains are big, I mean it. Riding from the top all the way down can take 10 minutes. It’s not only a long ride down, but there are plenty of divergent paths. There’s no way you can see everything on the first ride down. Each mountain has its own persona, which isn’t easy to pull off considering they all have snow and trees. Park City has the old mine and the bobsleigh track, Europe has the plane crash site (don’t worry, we didn’t know them) and the monorail, and Alaska has the pipeline and dense trees.

Shaun White Snowboarding gives the player, as the title suggests, a snowboard and sends him off to four ski run locations around the world (Europe, Alaska, Japan and a fictitious location called Park City) under the watchful eye of professional snowboarder Shaun White himself as well as other professionals, moderators, pilots and such. But before the player can go on the slope, he has to create his character by choosing not only from different body looks but also from different clothes and snowboards. During the course of the game the player earns money by completing the challenges which can in return be invested in more stylized clothes and additional types of snowboards. Each of the boards has six stats like balance or speed and not all of them are the best possible option for every given situation. While in a race speed is an important factor, a board with a higher rating in rotation allows for better stunts.

The game puts the player in an open world with him free to roam around the slope as he pleases. Several lifts and even a helicopter bring him to different starting locations but if he wants, he can also walk and discover hidden areas by doing so. By doing tricks, with controls using mainly the analog sticks similar to Skate, the player earns respect points. And on the track are, besides many obstacles to perform tricks on, challenges like the Jibfest, in which only tricks on rails and boxes count or Freestyle in which every trick counts. Others include the Death Race, in which the player needs to get to the goal before everyone else but as the name suggests, everything is allowed including ramming opponents and throwing snowballs to get them off-balance. There are also some challenges like King of the Hill that can only be done with at least one other human player joining in.

Operating system: Windows XP/Vista/7
Processor: Pentium ?® D 2,6 GHz or equivalent AMD Athlon T 64 X2
Memory: 1 GB (2 GB for Vista)
Video: 256 MB compatible with DirectX ?® 9.0 or 10.0, which supports shaders 3.0
Sound card: compatible with DirectX 9.0 or 10.0
Free space on HDD: 7 GB

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