#4 of 2012: SSX

Posted January 2nd, 2013 at 6:00 pm


Attempting a reboot of SSX was a daunting task for EA Sports. They faced inevitable backlash due to the inherent nostalgia fans of the series carried – which could naturally have inhibited creativity and use of new technology – and a shrinking base of consumers open to arcade-style games in general. The end result however was the best sports related offering in the first half of 2012. SSX delivered great gameplay, innovation, and superb post-release support.

The ranking of games in the best of 2012 list is based on number of factors including the personal amount of enjoyment had with a particular title, whether advertised features were fully delivered, post-release support, community interaction and communication, overall gameplay experience, feature set, and online play performance. Again this is largely a personal take and one with the advantage of tracking the games beyond just the release frame and does not act as some sort of recap of those with the highest scores on Metacritic. The analysis is weighted heavily towards those high in fun factor while considering them as a whole and compared relatively to the field.

Generally high in fun factor what did detract some were various elements of frustration. The most oft-cited one related to how often falls would occur into voids but there were also occasional issues with orientation and with how artificially difficult some of the Deadly Descents were to complete. Inevitably there was reason to have to restart races so often that they would begin to feel as though they were a hassle to complete successfully. How one handled moments of frustration ultimately determined how much value would be gleaned from the title.

SSX though had a ton to offer content wise and especially with the online components. The gameplay and environments were exhilarating and there was good variety in types of races and on the mountains. The social-based online play succeeded with RiderNet and Geotags pushing players to achieve better results or make things difficult for friends. The “Online Pass” system was also handled better than any other sports game to date offering the ability for those without it to still play online but restricting the in-game “credits” to only those that had one. NASA data was used to craft the mountains and despite having all that great detail the graphics were exceptional and the framerate smooth and consistent. The menus were designed well in a streamlined manner to promote more play.

Post-release support was exceptional especially considering that it wasn’t a big seller. DLC was released which included new tracks and characters. Patches and tuners not only addressed some issues but added in new features for free. The most significant patch delivered online races and “freeride” mode.

Though not able to eliminate all elements of frustration SSX was high on fun factor and deserves recognition for excellent design decisions and execution. The post-release support from EA Sports added significant value and that is to be commended especially given weak traction in the marketplace. In most situations that alone would have given a company the reasoning to move on and bury any further support of the product but that didn’t happen here. SSX exceeded expectations in many ways making for one of the best experiences of the year.

Year in Review
Much more still to come!
•#4 of 2012: SSX
•#5 of 2012: UFC Undisputed 3
•#6 of 2012: Forza Horizon
•#7 of 2012: MLB 12: The Show
•#8 of 2012: NHL 13
•#9 of 2012: NCAA Football 13
•#10 of 2012: NFL Blitz
•Vote for the 2012 Community Choice Awards
•Revisiting the Top Stories of 2012: The Death of the MLB 2K Series
•Revisiting the Top Stories of 2012: Turning to Entertainers for Marketing Exposure
•Revisiting the Top Stories of 2012: Lawsuits Faced by Electronic Arts
•Revisiting the Top Stories of 2012: Disingenuous Marketing and Unfulfilled Features
•Revisiting the Top Stories of 2012: The Disastrous Road Towards NBA Live 13

  • hennry

    awesome game it was one of my favorites of the year not just in sports games but out of everything.

  • Tr77

    Surprised that this hasnt won more awards. I know it won Best Individual Sports Game at the VGAs but havent heard much else talk about it in other places.

  • Tr77

    LOL. The first part of your statement is just ridiculous, but the second part has no relevance either. How does it not selling well have to do with how good of a game it is? I got it for $40 and it was well worth it.

    • Keith.

      It’s got a lower user metacritic score (6.5) than Backbreaker (7.7), which everyone around here but me panned.

      So, the sales were dismal, the user metacritic score was dismal, and yet I’m the ridiculous one for thinking it’s absurd to be placed higher than The Show?

      • Tr77

        Youre using user metacritic scores to determine quality of a game? Hold on I have to stop from laughing here. Might be a while.

      • Metacritic user scores are complete garbage. The fact that you use that as evidence to once again bash another EA game is weak.

        • Keith.

          The subject is Top 10 games of the year. Generally speaking, the top games sell well and are popular with people who buy it (and the good word of mouth usually leads to even more sales).

          SSX sold lousy, and was panned by the people who did buy it — as evidenced by metacritic and Amazon. I realize that you (BC Wendel) like to pop in here and defend all things EA. But it’s not my problem that you — or anybody else — don’t like hearing the truth about this or any other EA game. You’ve got your opinion, and I’ve got mine.

          • Kem

            The description Pasta wrote says nothing about the top games being partially based on their sales.

            Though wait, then you support Madden getting the #1 spot. Good to know Keith. That’s surprising that you’d say Madden 13 is the best game this year but with your criteria I see why.

          • I’m all for calling out EA for the things they do wrong – which is a lot. I hate the Ultimate Team stuff, I hate the nickel and diming. But your endless bashing of them for everything they do? It’s tiresome. I don’t see you calling out 2K very often for the things they do wrong with their games. If I don’t hate all things EA then I’m some blind EA fanboy? This simplification of things is sad.

            And this is Pasta’s top ten list – not yours, not mine.

          • Keith.

            If you don’t like my posts, give it a down-vote and move on. Your posts responding to mine the past couple of weeks have been just as tiresome to me, as my posts have been to you. The difference being, I could care less what you post (so long as it’s not dealing with me).

            As for whose top ten list this is — I’m plenty aware of that. But Pasta puts his list up for us to comment. If he didn’t want us to comment, he’d close them up for discussion. Until he does that, I guess me and you and everybody else is free to continue to post our thoughts. Not sure why that’s so difficult to understand.

          • So you’re telling me not to respond to your posts? Maybe when you stop the endless mindless EA bashing I will. I was hoping with the new approvals process we would see a lot less of your posts on here – alas and alack. It seems like you can’t accept anyone liking and enjoying EA’s games – being that Pasta’s page is about sports game and EA makes many sports games, of course EA titles will be featured here.

            Pasta has been more critical of EA in the past year – he even said he’s on EA’s bad list – and still it is never enough to appease you and your anti EA-crusade. You think SSX looks and plays like a 1.99 iPad game? Ridiculous.

  • Crest_LAC

    Awesome game. Hope there will be a sequel.

  • pssshhh

    madden 13 is gonna be number 1 which is bs because madden 13 is the worst madden EVER!!!!