|System: PS3, X360, PC, Wii, PS2, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ubisoft||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 16, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 (16 Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Shaun White does deliver a variety of events ranging from half pipe competitions to freestyle excursions with each one having the bonus of being multiplayer compatible. Once you hit an event icon, you have the option of inviting anyone on your friends list to join you. However, there's no general matchmaking option; if you want to hit the slopes with some random people, you're out of luck.
There is diversity from a number standpoint ten event types are available from the get-go yet most of them revolve around racking up the most points within a set time limit. In Freestyle, you go from mountaintop to bottom, trying to get the highest score; in Collect, you grab as many items as you can before time runs out (again, trying to get the highest score); and in Air Time, you try to get the most air you can, while keeping on an eye on the clock. It's all about high scores and rewarding you with cash to buy more stuff to accessorize your character.
Most of these events can be characterized by their sense of loneliness. If you don't have friends to join you online, chances are you'll be doing them solo, with a high score being your only motivation. Actual downhill races against bots are hard to find. Aside from Death Race a mode where you can take on A.I. controlled boarders most modes either have you going solo or competing against computer times and scores. It seems odd that a board game would be so light on actual boarder-to-boarder races, especially since the brief ones you do get to compete in are genuinely fun. Also, many of the modes have you going down a track with borders that are sometimes hard to pick out. Often, you may find yourself off the track and not have a way to get back on, so you have to wait from the counter to tick down and restart the event.
What saves Shaun White from being a total fiasco is its presentation and boarding fundamentals. Creative touches like a load screen that functions as a half-pipe practice area and a mountain that contains an icy bobsled run show that some great ideas are present. Thanks to the Assassin's Creed engine, mountains not only look impressive, exhibiting nice detail and an impressive draw distance, but they are truly epic to board down. Not only does it take several minutes to get from the top to the bottom, but the way your boarder reacts to different surfaces for instance, ice gives you a speed boost, whereas powder slows you down, offering less restricted control give the game a simulation-like aspect that feels appropriate.
Here were are, eight years since the original SSX, and Shaun White Snowboarding has trouble trumping a PS2 launch title. It's not a matter of the exhibitive aspects of Shaun White it has no problem dealing out a decent presentation it's the execution. Nearly every potential plus is a minus: the open world is artificial; the supposedly intuitive control scheme is actually counterintuitive; and the event types range from lackluster to merely okay.
CCC Freelance Writer