Big Air Review

By: Dave Mitchell

Big Air is the latest in the snowboarding game trend. It promises big thrills, a killer soundtrack, and "authentic tracks." Let's see if the game lives up to these claims, shall we?


Well, I'll start with the control. At it's best, it's sluggish, at it's worst, it's horribly, horribly unresponsive. It's hard to turn properly with the control, even in analog mode on newer PlayStation controllers. The trick system is, to say the least, very limited. By using combinations of the L and R buttons, and the other buttons, you control and modify all your tricks. Frankly, it's just not a well thought out system. Of all the ways to make a trick system, they chose this one. So the bottom line of what I'm trying to say is: Every aspect of the control sucks, which certainly doesn't help a game.

Now for the graphics. The graphics in the game are fairly good. There is slowdown sometimes and a few glitches here and there, but the tracks and the boarders look good. They don't give you a real in-your-face feeling, but they're fairly realistic. They aren't great, but they do the job. The tracks have a good clear and crisp feeling about them. So in short the game has above average graphics.

In this game, the real problem is the gameplay. In the selection for the characters and boards, it doesn't give you clear indications of the abilities of boards, it just lists the weight, length and aspects of that nature. This means for the non-snowboarder, like me, this selection doesn't make sense. Why don't they just list the speed, acceleration etc.? The game is supposed to be a snowboard simulation, so why don't they design it to make complete sense to both non-snowboarders and snowboarders? In the actual game the trick modes aren't much fun, mainly, as discussed before, the trick system sucks! The racing mode isn't exactly top notch either. While the courses are fairly well designed, the game gives no "feeling of speed". Sometimes the board stops for no reason, though you're pushing the button to accelerate all the while. For some reason, the screen is scrolling, but often it just doesn't feel like you're going fast at all in the racing mode. Seeing how it's a snowboarding game, that's a huge flaw. Also, the games design isn't realistic enough to appeal to snowboarders, but not accessable enough to appeal to non-snowboarders, so the game is a complete failure in both ways. The games two player mode slows down even more then the one player game (which is typical) and just doesn't offer any fun.

The music is a mixed bag: While many real bands are used in the soundtrack, they all manage to sound very similar. They're all of a punk or ska variety, and all but a couple are no-name bands (not that that's a bad thing - I myself was just in a no-name garage band). The problem is that the bands just have nothing to differentiate between each other, so they all sound like carbon copy punk/ska bands. The sound effects are fairly average, with the standard sounds of the snow crunching under your board and various crash sounds.

Sadly, this game doesn't offer anything that will entertain you for more than a few minutes. I was bored as heck after about 10 minutes of playing the game. Neither does it offer anything to set itself apart from the current glut of snowboarding games on the PlayStation. There's a lot of those games out there, and this game is just another one of them. There are some gigantic, inexcusable flaws in the game, and the only thing in the game better than average is the graphics. In the decision to rent or buy this game, just stay away from it altogether! The game would bore you in a few minutes even during a rental, so please don't waste your money buying this generic title - it's not even worthy of your time.






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