Shaun White Snowboarding Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | PS2 | DS
Shaun White Snowboarding box art
System: X360, PS3, 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.

Shaun White Snowboarding screenshot

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.

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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.

By Jason Lauritzen
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.2
Graphics
The Assassin's Creed engine has been put to good effect: there's an impressive amount of detail and great draw distance. There is the occasional clipping issue (you can fall through the snow and ski lifts will pass right through you) and the engine seems to have trouble rendering shadows accurately.
2.3
Control
Obviously drawing inspiration from Skate, the stick-only controls go from “that worked pretty well” to “ugh, what the heck just happened?” Pulling off simple moves – like 360s and board grabs – is no problem, but trying to do anything sophisticated is a mess.
3.0
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The character voices range from annoying to serviceable. Your mileage from the licensed soundtrack will vary, but most of the songs are cliché hits from well-known artists and don't really fit the feel of the game.
2.3
Play Value
Collecting tokens gets monotonous fast. There's fun to be had exploring the parks, but once that wears thin you're left with a bunch of “get the high score” modes and not much else.
2.9
Overall Rating - Average
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Open world mountains: Choose how you ride in open world mountains across the world. Conquer the extreme peak conditions, create your own paths in the back country, or compete with fellow riders in the terrain parks.
  • Friends always around: Play in a world where your friends are always around. Do your own runs on mountains populated by real gamers, or join your friends for a quick session from anywhere in the mountains.
  • More than just snowboarding: Have fun with your friends on and off the board. Throw snowballs, hike to access secret spots, or film your friends doing ripping tricks. Upload your videos online to share with the world.
  • Riding styles: Express yourself through tricks, riding styles, and highly customizable avatars – both in single-player and in the online world. Use the intuitive dual analog control to pull off a huge variety of tricks that express your style.
  • Next-gen technology: Built on the Assassin's Creed engine, this game creates a massive world with gorgeous visuals and realistic non-player character interaction. This is also the first time a snowboarding game is completely driven by physics instead of animation.
  • Authentic snowboarding: Ubisoft has worked closely with Shaun White to infuse the gaming experience with authenticity, personality, and humor. Shaun is a friend and mentor in the game, and will help you with your skills. If you are deemed worthy, you may even be able to play as Shaun in the game.


  • Screenshots / Images
    Shaun White Snowboarding screenshot - click to enlarge Shaun White Snowboarding screenshot - click to enlarge Shaun White Snowboarding screenshot - click to enlarge Shaun White Snowboarding screenshot - click to enlarge Shaun White Snowboarding screenshot - click to enlarge Shaun White Snowboarding screenshot - click to enlarge Shaun White Snowboarding screenshot - click to enlarge Shaun White Snowboarding screenshot - click to enlarge Shaun White Snowboarding screenshot - click to enlarge Shaun White Snowboarding screenshot - click to enlarge Shaun White Snowboarding screenshot - click to enlarge Shaun White Snowboarding screenshot - click to enlarge

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