|System: X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Bongfish||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Destineer||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 24, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-8||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Considering that points are scarce and you'll need sixty six fame points to turn pro, expect to spend several hours as an amateur. Unfortunately, this is one of the major problems with Stoked. Early in the game you feel directionless, endlessly retrying challenges in an attempt to get to the much more interesting game hidden beneath the lengthy introduction. Once you've turned pro, you'll get to take on other pros in an attempt to gain more moves, have photo shoots that can display your boarding prowess, or even have sponsors fighting over whose clothes you'll be wearing. I'm all for gradually easing players into an experience, but this is one game that really needed to speed up the process of getting to the good part.
Speaking of good, the graphics in Stoked are actually quite nice, especially considering that it's a budget title. The way the light reflects off of the fresh snow on distant mountains is particularly lovely. Constantly changing daylight and weather conditions only further make these environments beautiful and believable. The only real glaring presentation issues come from the lack of variety and some noticeable pop in, though neither of which manage to adversely affect the gameplay.
However, the actual act of playing Stoked isn't without its fair share of problems. Preloading hucker jumps is complicated at best, requiring an elaborate string of button presses and circumstances to work correctly. The physics in the game can be a tad unforgiving, usually resulting in many undeserved failed landings. Pedestrians will sometimes saunter into the middle of your jump, completely annihilating any chance at a successful trick. The game also seems to have issues registering grabs at times, which is quite troublesome when trying to complete the final move in a series of required tricks. Keeping in mind that you can retry any challenge in the game by simply pressing the back button, having to retry challenges multiple times due to these issues can still be rather infuriating.
Even so, Stoked is a good overall package for anyone looking for a more realistic snowboarding game. It has a lengthy single-player experience, a varied online component, a decent soundtrack, nice graphics, and is coming in at a budget forty dollar price tag. Unfortunately, the game also has its share of problems, such as the incredibly slow initial pacing and limited customization, that keep it from being a must have title. Still, if you can overlook its few issues, Stoked is certainly worth checking out.
CCC Staff Contributor