SSX Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com SSX RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Extreme Sports Games We Want Remastered After Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 https://www.gameskinny.com/ro6np/extreme-sports-games-we-want-remastered-after-tony-hawks-pro-skater-1-2 https://www.gameskinny.com/ro6np/extreme-sports-games-we-want-remastered-after-tony-hawks-pro-skater-1-2 Fri, 22 May 2020 12:43:18 -0400 RobotsFightingDinosaurs

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Tony Hawk's Underground

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We'll finish with the best game in the Tony Hawk series. Not only does Tony Hawk's Underground feature rock-solid globe-trotting gameplay, but it also features the series' best story mode, with one of the greatest villains in video game history: Eric Sparrow.

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It's hard to understand now, but at the time, structuring an extreme sports game like a role-playing game was a huge risk.

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This isn't a game designed for quick, course-based play. Instead, this is a gigantic game complete with character development, trick customization, and a surprisingly deep story. We'd love to experience it again.

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Be sure to snag your copy of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 ahead of the collection's September 4 release date. Head over to our preorder guide to see what's in each edition! 

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Jet Moto 1 + 2

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The Jet Moto games don't get as much love as, say, the WipeOut series, or the F-Zero franchise, but its brand of futuristic hover jet-ski racing is incredibly engaging.

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The game's track and character design is stunning, and the Nightmare track still gives us vertigo. It'd be great to see the game get another day in the sun, in all its Mountain Dew-branded glory.

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Jet Set Radio + Jet Set Radio Future

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Do we really need to say any more? These games are the two most stylish pieces of video game media ever made, with two of the best soundtracks in video gaming history. The combination of graffiti, rollerblading, racing, stunts, and platforming is perfect.

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The only thing that could make the games better would be upgraded graphics, and a camera that doesn't have a frustrating tendency to get stuck in walls. Now, more than ever before, we need these games.

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Cool Boarders 2

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The Cool Boarders games weren't the first snowboard games ever made, but they are unquestionably responsible for inspiring the genre as we know it today, paving the way for games like 1080 Snowboarding and SSX.

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Sure, the games haven't aged particularly well in terms of visuals, but there is a lot to love about the series, especially Cool Boarders 2. Its half-pipe mode, in particular, is a highlight, and a visual upgrade would get rid of most of the problems it has.

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Skate 2

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To be completely honest, we'd take any game in the Skate series, but for us, Skate 2 is where the series peaked, which makes it especially galling that Skate 2 is the only game in the series not included in the Xbox One Backwards Compatibility program.

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Anyway...

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The Skate series is the answer to the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater school of extreme sports, pushing against over-the-top tricks and aesthetics for a more down-to-earth approach inspired by actual skating culture. And it really, really works.

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Judging by the folks who tweet "SKATE 4 WHEN???!?" during every EA press conference, a remake or remaster would be openly embraced, to say the least. 

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Snowboard Kids 1+2

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The Snowboard Kids games are arcade kart games in extreme sports clothing, and they remain two of the most unique games ever created because of that.

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Both games in the series task players with performing stunts to earn money, with which they can buy Mario Kart-style powerups that derail opponents as they traverse wildly unique courses.

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Tracks are varied, and range from haunted houses to underwater oases to a course where you get Honey, I Shrunk The Kids-ed and board through a house while mini-sized.

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Both games in the series are perfect competitive couch titles, and we'd love to see them re-introduced with a higher polygon count.

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NBA Street Vol. 1-3

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The NBA Street series is better than the NBA Jam series, and I will be hearing no argument to the contrary. All of EA's Street sports games are quality arcade sports titles, but the NBA Street series eclipses each.

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The games are much more daring and innovative than more straight-laced, iterative sports titles, with sequels adding innovations like the ability to create custom crossover combos and dunks, and each of the games features a story mode that still stands up today when compared with story modes in modern sports games.

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It might be a bit of a misnomer to call games in this series "extreme sports" titles, but NBA Street's reliance on stunts and over-the-top action qualifies it for the category in our minds. After all, the games were published by EA Big, the publisher's extreme sports division.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/5ed3c4df7550546cbfa4fc46a2c0e1dd.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/5ed3c4df7550546cbfa4fc46a2c0e1dd.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13364","description":"

Wave Race: Blue Storm

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In many ways, Wave Race: Blue Storm operated as a tech demo for the Nintendo GameCube's launch. What better way to show off your fancy new console than to release a game that is reliant on water physics?

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Sure, the graphics look dated now, but you know what's not dated? The gameplay. Jetskis bounce realistically and unpredictably, and catching an eddy at just the right spot to get a speed boost is still incredibly satisfying.

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With updated graphics and a fine-tuned physics engine, a remake of Wave Race: Blue Storm (or, indeed, another game in the series) would be a smash hit.

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SSX Collection (Tricky, SSX 3, On Tour)

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What Tony Hawk: Pro Skater was for skateboarding, the SSX series was for snowboarding.

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Following the first game in the series, a relatively laced-up snowboard simulator in the style of 1080 Snowboarding, the series made a huge splash with SSX Tricky, an unapologetically over-the-top snowboard game that features impossible tricks and beautiful, flashy courses.

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SSX 3 iterates on that formula by adding more characters and more tricks. It also happens to take place on a single mountain that players can traverse from top-to-bottom. It is, pretty much, an open-world snowboard game.

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SSX On Tour wasn't received quite as warmly as the previous two games, but its addition of skis is welcome, and its Napoleon Dynamite-esque visual style holds up even today. 

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Though the series did get a reboot back in 2012, that title failed to recapture the magic of the games before it, eschewing over-the-top aesthetics for more brutal realism and adventuring. The time is right to revive the silliness.

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Mario Strikers: Charged

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There's a reason why the Wii's Mario Strikers: Charged has a cult following: it's legitimately one of the best competitive sports games ever made. It combines soccer and hockey to great effect, creating a hyper-fast, high-stakes arcade sports experience.

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The game is chock-full of strategy as well. Passing the ball gives your shots a much higher chance of going in, Megastrikes give you the chance to score multiple goals at once, and power-ups create a tense risk-reward scenario in every possession.

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A fresh coat of paint is really all this game needs. The underpowered Wii wasn't able to render the game's character models in as much detail as they deserve, and a Switch remaster would make this an instant competitive classic.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/e/x/t/extreme-sports-games-that-should-remade-after-tony-hawks-pro-4eadc.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/e/x/t/extreme-sports-games-that-should-remade-after-tony-hawks-pro-4eadc.jpg","type":"slide","id":"210731","description":"

We're all incredibly excited for Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 Remastered. They're both legendary games that set the standard for extreme sports gaming with their combination of rock-solid controls and hilariously over-the-top stunts.

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The games weren't just special, they were formative for many of us; they served as a drop-in point between gaming culture and extreme sports culture that largely didn't exist before. 

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That said, we can't help but think about a few other extreme sports games we'd like to see get a fresh coat of paint, too. 

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Is ANY Snowboarding Game Going to be Able to Live Up to 1080 on the N64? https://www.gameskinny.com/z3sp4/is-any-snowboarding-game-going-to-be-able-to-live-up-to-1080-on-the-n64 https://www.gameskinny.com/z3sp4/is-any-snowboarding-game-going-to-be-able-to-live-up-to-1080-on-the-n64 Fri, 09 Dec 2016 11:00:01 -0500 Lydia M

In 1998 Nintendo developed an extreme sports snowboard racing game titled 1080 for the N64. This became one of the first and best sports and racing games of its time with the highest graphics provided on the N64. IGN simply called it "The most beautiful snowboarding game ever created. Nothing compares --- nothing." It received critical acclaim and won an 1999 Console Sports Game of the Year from the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences and an 88/100 from Metacritic

1080 had everything previous racing games had been lacking, realism. You actually got the sense of speed with the wind ripping past you and the sun reflecting off of the snow. The gameplay is no easy feat either, if you don't control your tricks precisely, you'll crash and have to start over. Needless to say, it was an early sports game that had a huge level of difficulty no one had seen yet.

10 years later, fans of the N64 game were able to take a trip down memory lane as Nintendo released an updated version on the Wii's Virtual Console service. Just as the old Mario and Crash Bandicoot games, the 1080 re-release gives you the feeling of nostalgia, no matter how lack the graphics are 18 years later. 

1080 was so ahead of its time, it took developers years to create a decent competitor. Then comes the SSX franchise.

From EA Sports, SSX has similar play style from 1080 but with more of a focus on tricks. It had brilliant graphics (for the PS2 at the time) and the original title received an astounding 93/100 on Metacritic. EA released multiple titles in the SSX series up to 2012 with the latest being a reboot from the original 12 year prior. The major difference from the latest SSX is that it included a story along with the classic racing and tricks.

1080 and the SSX series were both revolutionary at the time of their release. When fans heard of Ubisoft creating a new snowboarding game, Steep, the world hoped for a modern-day SSX, but it wasn't necessarily delivered as such.

In this generation every game is all about open world, so Steep caters to that with the game being set in the Alps and being a completely open world for players to explore. Steep isn't only limited to snowboarding either, to travel to different locations or to knock out different challenges it includes skiing, wing suit flying and paragliding. Steep is also heavily focused on their online features, implementing abilities to share clips of epic tricks and challenging your friends.

Although it's four years old SSX is probably the closest any game will get to being as good as 1080. If you're hoping for more modern style SSX, EA games have confirmed they'll be releasing a remastered 20th anniversary edition in 2020.

As for Steep, while it does modernise the genre with the online play, and track sharing -- not the mention the the graphics and animation -- it just doesn't have the style 1080 has; Steep lacks the feeling of motion, and attachment to the ground that 1080 had. Meaning, snowboard racing fans are once again having to look back to it to get their snow racing fix.

This all means that there is yet to be game to live up to the highs of 1080, and the likelihood of any game matching it is low; especially considering the demand for snowboarding games has plummeted. 1080 you are the best of the best, and have proven that even after 16 years you are still on top. Steep has got the step it up.

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Feel the Cool! Here are 11 Snowy Games for Your Winter Holidays https://www.gameskinny.com/3thlr/feel-the-cool-here-are-11-snowy-games-for-your-winter-holidays https://www.gameskinny.com/3thlr/feel-the-cool-here-are-11-snowy-games-for-your-winter-holidays Wed, 30 Nov 2016 07:00:01 -0500 Sergey_3847

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Steep
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And here is something completely new for you -- Steep, a fresh snowboarding title from Ubisoft. Currently, the game is being tested in a beta stage, and will be officially released on December 2, 2016.

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Steep is an extreme sports game set in an open world with a strong multiplayer component. This new approach will allow players from all over the globe to inhabit the same open locations engaging in various sports activities simultaneously. The most interesting aspect of Steep is the match recording system that will allow you to replay your activities, make screenshots and even share players’ experience data over social networks.

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A few older mechanics, such as the tricks system, also make a comeback, including the famous Alaska track that is such a fantastic winter location, so if you have been a fan of the SSX series before, you should definitely check out this new game from Ubisoft.

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What other winter-themed video games would you like to see mentioned? Share them in the comments section.

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Batman: Arkham Origins
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Gotham is almost exclusively depicted as this very dark and gloomy city, and even winter holidays bring no joy to its citizens that are being constantly terrorized by a bunch of maniacs. This kind of atmosphere perfectly fits the series of games about Batman.

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Of all other games in the DC lineup, Arkham Origins has one of the most fascinating winters. This was possible due to the APEX Turbulence technology, that allows some truly innovative weather effects, especially snow, to be created.

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Although, Origins is considered to be the weakest game in the Arkham series, it is still pretty solid, so give it a go.

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Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter
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If you’ve never heard of Icewind Dale, then think of it as a clone of Baldur’s Gate that is set amidst a frozen world. This is a classical RPG game that tells a story of a few wanderers trying to get into the very heart of winter in order to fight an Ice Dragon.

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On top of the really snowy and icy locations you get to see a number of typical towns and taverns that accommodate groups of drunken elves. Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter, despite its cold title, is actually a very heartwarming expansion that will keep you engaged during these long winter nights.

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"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/s/y/b/syberia-screenshot-2441a.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/s/y/b/syberia-screenshot-2441a.jpg","type":"slide","id":"142681","description":"
Syberia
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This cult adventure game from the Belgian comic book writer Benoit Sokal is preparing to become a trilogy. So before the third installment of the series gets an official release, this winter would be an excellent time to replay the first two parts. Both games take you to the coldest part of the world -- the Russian Syberia, full of icy caves and wild forests.

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Syberia has a fantastic story taking place in the bizarre world of automata with its own peculiar atmosphere. Lately the game has become available for mobile devices, so you don’t even have to access your PC or console to play this great game.

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Fahrenheit
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Fahrenheit from Quantic Dream is a very unusual game made in a classical noir style, and takes place in the snowy New York City. If you like the atmosphere of Max Payne, then you will definitely enjoy the world of Fahrenheit, as they are almost identical. The city is a freezing hell that almost feels post-apocalyptic, but that's just the initial feeling of the severe New York winter.

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This was the second attempt of David Cage in creating a cinematic video game that had the potential to revolutionize the stale industry, in which it did succeed to a certain extent. On the other hand, if you can’t stand the outdated graphics, then check out the remastered version that has significantly improved the visual side of this great game.

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"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/t/h/u/thumb-1920-186993-44574.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/t/h/u/thumb-1920-186993-44574.jpg","type":"slide","id":"142678","description":"
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
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Everybody knows what Skyrim is and what it can offer. This game probably has the most furious snowstorms of them all. If you want to experience a true Skyrim winter, all you need to do is get up as high as the highest peaks and watch heavy clouds shower everything around with thick layers of snow.

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It always looks amazing and if you do become tired of the fury of the Skyrim winter, you can always go back down into the sunny valleys. That’s the beauty of this game -- the world is so vast that you can never actually get bored of it.

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"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/u/n/t/untitled-881eb.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/u/n/t/untitled-881eb.jpg","type":"slide","id":"142677","description":"
Max Payne
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Snow storm, steamy pipes, fire, explosions, bullets in slow motion -- all this is Max Payne, one of the best action games ever created. The setting and the story made this title into one of the most beloved among the gamers.

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If you have an opportunity to replay the very first Max Payne, then do so. The graphics may look a bit outdated today, but hopefully, the sense of nostalgia will help you see right through those flaws, which mind you, weren’t flaws at all, when the game was released back in 2001.

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Until Dawn
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The horror genre has always been more about a good story rather than scary monsters. Until Dawn is that kind of game -- it knows how to scare, and all the events take place in a remote snowy area. Setting the events of the game during winter time was a proper decision, since it's much harder to run away from a maniac-killer through the thick of the snow-covered forest.

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The game is very cinematic and the camera explores areas just as if it was a movie. The motion capture is one of the best you will ever see, and the actors are actually doing a great job expressing their emotions. The level of interactive drama is always high and it makes up for one of the best games in the recent years.

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I am Setsuna
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If you don’t like to play sports video games, then here is something you might like more. I am Setsuna is an original IP from Square Enix’ Tokyo RPG Factory branch, that was created to revive the classical JRPG style of games.

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If you liked Chrono Trigger, then you will definitely enjoy I am Setsuna. The game looks very cute and charming and the perpetual winter environment perfectly underlines the story. Almost all locations are generously covered with the fluffiest snow, and you can almost feel the cool breeze coming from your monitor.

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The combat utilizes an Active Time Battle system that so many RPG fans have been craving to see in the recent titles. This is a rare gem that respects the origins of the genre and should not be missed.

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SSX (Snowboard Supercross)
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The famous snowboarding series was rebooted in 2012 and featured real locations instead of the fictional ones from the previous games. One of the best tracks is obviously Alaska -- the kingdom of winter that is perfect for snowboarding challenges.

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One thing you immediately notice when playing the new SSX is the vastly improved physics of movements. If this game will ever be available for VR, we all ought to try this out -- it would simply be amazing. However, even on the typical TV screen the game looks and feels astonishing.

\n

Every location has lots of secret tracks and you also have access to some great snowboarding equipment. For example, you can wear a special body armor that protects your character from the rocks and trees; the coolest of them must be the wingsuit that allows you to cover huge gaps in the air; etc.

\n

All in all, SSX managed to reinvent itself in this new reboot and you should check it out this winter.

\n

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/m/a/x/maxresdefault-ea625.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/m/a/x/maxresdefault-ea625.jpg","type":"slide","id":"142672","description":"
SSX Tricky
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Now is the best time to remember the best snowboarding game of all time -- SSX Tricky. This was a special game that was available on PlayStation 2, GameCube and Xbox consoles and garnered universal acclaim on all these platforms.

\n

SSX Tricky was a sequel to the first SSX game, which added a system of Uber moves that could be performed during a boarding match. If you managed to perform six consecutive Uber moves, then you would be given an infinite boost until the end of the match.

\n

This mechanics were so interactive and fun that it couldn’t possibly be topped by any other game in the same genre. On top of that you get to see some incredibly designed tracks covered with ice and snow that turn the game into a true winter sports experience.

\n

If you can’t find a way to play this game today, then head to the next slide for a reboot of the SSX series.

\n

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/u/n/t/untitled-52eeb.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/u/n/t/untitled-52eeb.jpg","type":"slide","id":"142671","description":"

Video games can do anything -- they can transport you to the times and places that are out of reach in real life. Soon the winter holidays begin, and many gamers wish to experience that special winter chill without leaving their homes.

\n

It’s not too difficult to recreate weather effects in the game, but only a handful actually managed to create a proper winter atmosphere.

\n

Here are some of the best games that will immerse you into the coldest season of the year, and make your holidays much more enjoyable.

"}]]]>
Quick Question: Where Did All The Over-The-Top Sports Games Go? https://www.gameskinny.com/hbvyp/quick-question-where-did-all-the-over-the-top-sports-games-go https://www.gameskinny.com/hbvyp/quick-question-where-did-all-the-over-the-top-sports-games-go Fri, 10 Jun 2016 09:30:02 -0400 RobotsFightingDinosaurs

As gamers, we really do live in a wonderful age. Gaming is becoming more and more mainstream, accepted, and referenced everywhere from late-night talk shows via Conan's Clueless Gamer segments to commercials for basketball games.

This brings up an important question. If games like NBA Jam and NFL Blitz are so ingrained into our culture that Yahoo Sports is comfortable making a highlight video referencing them, why haven't there been any new installments of these games on console?

For that matter, where have the rest of the over-the-top sports games gone?

Last Seen In The Early 2010s...

Though there is a mobile game, the last we have seen of NBA Jam on consoles was 2010's NBA Jam: On Fire Edition for the XBOX 360, Wii, and PlayStation 3. The last we have seen of the SSX series was also on last-generation consoles, releasing 4 years ago. 2012 also saw an updated version of NFL Blitz hitting consoles as a downloadable title. 

Each and every one of these games released to critical acclaim and commercial success, with SSX's 2012 release topping the charts in the UK the month of its release. There was a demand for these types of games, with high-flying arcade action. IGN said that SSX was "The video game this generation has been missing", and, well, they were wrong. The late 2000s and early 2010s saw a great number of these types of extreme or arcade-style sports games, from the skate series to the NBA and FIFA Street games to the aforementioned resurgence of NBA Jam and NFL Blitz.

Again, these games all released to positive sales numbers. The audience was there, and they were proving that fact with their wallets. 

Then... nothing.

A Generation of Silence

We are currently on the brink of the announcement of the next generation of gaming. Nintendo's NX is coming in 2017, with Sony and Microsoft each likely to follow closely behind.

The only major arcade-style sports game that has been released in this current generation of gaming was Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5. And, well, we don't talk about that one

The core gameplay in these over-the-top games is a very unique type of fun, one that has been missing in this generation of gaming.

Despite its failure though, one need only look at the hype generated before the game's release to realize that gamers are chomping at the bit for new games like this. We wanted the game to be good. We rooted for it. And, to be completely frank, that's rare for a triple-A title these days. You can even see it in our review of the game, that despite all its flaws, there's something in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5. The core gameplay in these over-the-top games is a very unique type of fun, one that has been missing in this generation of gaming.

And for many, that's why THPS5 was such a slap in the face. All the game had to do was work and it'd at least be a fun return to this fantastical over the top world of arcade sports action. Unfortunately, they couldn't even get that far.

So, Is There Any Hope Left?

One would think that in this day and age of endless rehashes, sequels, and studios relying only on successful franchises to move copies and make money, that a new SSX, a new NBA Jam, or a new FIFA Street would be a no-brainer.

After all, the costs of making video games has become astronomically high, so a sure bet like this, especially when a triple-A company would essentially be able to corner the market given the complete lack of other similar games currently on the market... it just makes sense.

The game's only competition would be coming from the indie scene, with games like OlliOlli helping gamers to scratch that Tony Hawk itch, but even then, an indie studio could not hope to compete with a fully fledged arcade sports game featuring athlete likenesses and high production value.

But short of staking hopes on a surprise announcement at E3, there's no concrete reason to expect a game like this anytime soon. 

That said, if the pundits are right, the future of gaming is in virtual reality, and there would be no better way to experience the high flying and high impact action of these games than from a first person perspective. Sure, it's a pipe dream, but that's what these games are all about, right?

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Sony announces free PlayStation Plus games for December https://www.gameskinny.com/g05oi/sony-announces-free-playstation-plus-games-for-december https://www.gameskinny.com/g05oi/sony-announces-free-playstation-plus-games-for-december Sat, 28 Nov 2015 04:08:48 -0500 Michael Falero

PlayStation Plus members are getting an early, month-long Christmas this year.

Sony has announced its free PlayStation Plus titles for the month of December. In a video teaser (see above) and accompanying post on its blog, the console maker highlights the dungeon crawl button-masher Gauntlet: Slayer Edition and the 2015 remake of King's Quest. Both titles will be free to those with an active PlayStation Plus membership.

The lineup also includes games for other PlayStation consoles: the PS3 will see two freebies, including Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, the tongue-in-cheek shooter and expansion to Far Cry 3. The 2012 snowboarding game SSX will also be a free PS3 title for the month. Sony has also announced Freedom Wars and Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken will be free on the PlayStation Vita.

If you haven't already, be sure to check out the PlayStation Store's Black Friday Weekend sale before it's over! When you check out, be sure to use this 10% off code (expires on December 1st):

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RR-sama Talks: The death of extreme sports video games https://www.gameskinny.com/hsxg0/rr-sama-talks-the-death-of-extreme-sports-video-games https://www.gameskinny.com/hsxg0/rr-sama-talks-the-death-of-extreme-sports-video-games Thu, 05 Nov 2015 05:51:13 -0500 David Fisher

Bails, fails, and board-breaking freak outs - these were the highlights of the extreme sports craze that hit video games in the '90s and early '00s. However, despite critical acclaim, and some of the most memorable video games in the history of gaming, the genre is starting to die out. Fast forward to 2015 and we find ourselves with sloppy video games where characters fall through the floor, skyrocket into the skybox, and fall off their boards like a free-balancing penny on a moving airplane's wing.

What has happened to the various video game series that we used to love? Why are they becoming worse and worse as time goes on? Why have they not improved the same way that various other video game series have?

I ventured into the internet to find out, and my findings were not pleasant...

Quality control is at an all time low

Back in 1999, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater was developed by a company known as Neversoft. This company was also responsible for just about every single successful Tony Hawk's Pro Skater game from the first to the 4th, the Underground series, American Wasteland, Project 8, and Proving Ground. With the exception of Project 8, every single Tony Hawk game developed by Neversoft has seen unanimous reviews of 7/10 or higher.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater blessed gamers and skaters alike with tight controls, fun stages, over-the-top tricks, and highly competitive arcade gameplay.

Neversoft was eventually pulled away from the Tony Hawk franchise, and since 2007 they have been put to work on the Guitar Hero series. Robomodo has since replaced Neversoft as the sole developer of Tony Hawk games, and ever since then we have seen nothing but terrible titles. In fact, the highlight of their "success" has been an HD remake of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater that saw limited success - Metacritic giving the game a measly 67. Everything else under their belt has seen scores of 56 at most.

But how did Robomodo screw up the formula?

When Robomodo comes to mind, the first Tony Hawk game that I think of is Pro Skater 5. This game was released just over a month ago, and this game was a glitchy mess. Those glitches that I referenced at the start of this article? Pro Skater 5 made it memorable.

Reviewers were quick to slam the game, and since then the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 versions of the game have been held back until the development team can fix all of the problems with the Xbox One and Playstation 4 versions.

Even Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD wasn't a hit. While it should be expected that a remake that does literally nothing to improve the game other than give it a new coat of paint get anything more than a 7/10, this game was once again cited for numerous glitches and other game-breaking bugs.

Releasing a game with a few bugs is common in today's market, but game-breaking glitches that resulted in a game that was quite literally unplayable? That isn't right no matter how you put it. The fact that Activision gave Robomodo the development rights to the series two times in a row, and proceeding to allow them to screw up a second time? That's plain insulting to customers.

They are not the only guilty party, though...

A lesser known game that involved extreme sports was EA Sports Big's SSX series. Originally, EA Sports Big was responsible for all of the over-the-top sports games published by EA Games. This included titles such as NBA Street, FIFA Street, NFL Street, Freekstyle, and more. While not all of these titles were particularly memorable, they were generally held in higher regard than most of EA Game's regular titles.

SSX 3 provided players with fast-paced racing action, quirky characters, and fully voiced rivalries that gave the game a unique feel that defined the series.

In 2012, EA Games decided to give the title to EA Sports (the company who usually developed the boring regular sports titles) and when SSX (2012) finally arrived on store shelves fans were beyond disappointed. While the game received positive scores from critics, the game scored terribly among user scores.

The reason was that the game might as well been styled around the Olympic Games.

When players opened up SSX (2012), they were expecting over-the-top tricks, quirky characters, whacky stage designs, and local or online real-time multiplayer where they could punch out their opponents in a no-rules free-for-all snowboarding competition. Instead, they got this:

While it may not be noticeable for people who haven't played the series before - or those who haven't played SSX (2012) for themselves - the game is nothing like its predecessors. Characters have been diluted to the point where a trash talking, emo-goth, punked out adrenaline junkie like Zoe Payne (seen in the clip) has been reduced to nothing more than another tomboy stereotype.

EA Sports eventually released a "classic skins" pack that introduced a new "true SSX style" map, but the physics engine of the new game didn't allow for the map to function properly, and didn't save this game from gamer hell...

But that's not even the worst part. The game's difficulty was reduced to an insulting level. In previous games you were punished for holding a trick too long, hitting a tree, or falling off a cliff. In SSX 2012, as long as players let go of a trick button before touching the ground (even if their board is floating in mid-air, out of arm's reach) they are safe. If you fall off a cliff, you get a downright impractical rewind system reminiscent of Prince of Persia: Sands of Time that puts you at such a disadvantage in their ghost-style time attacks and trick events that you may as well restart the run. This game was such a disappointment that it will likely ensure no future releases of this series will ever exist.

Congratulations EA. You killed the one series that this nostalgia-hating reviewer actually had fond memories of. Well played.

Could the problem be interest in the games?

One argument that I've heard about the decline in quality for extreme sports games is that players simply aren't interested in them anymore, and so companies aren't investing the same amount of resources they used to. While there is no way to prove that this is the case - outside of a direct confession from the companies themselves, which they would never admit - it certainly would seem likely since many of these games have been passed on to smaller or newer development teams.

However, I would argue this is not the case, and as my evidence I would look to one game series in particular: the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater competitor, Skate.

Released in 2007, the Skate series developed by EA Black Box served as an alternative to the over-the-top arcade action of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. The game provided an interesting take on the skateboarding genre of video games by making it less of an arcade-style game, and more of a simulation. EA Black Box did so by having players skate around in a realistic environment and required more manual dexterity than its competitor. The game was well received by critics and players alike, and many thought it would push the Tony Hawk series out of the limelight for good.

Unfortunately, despite keeping the same dev team, the game only saw their review scores shrinking with each sequel. While the original Skate saw a score of 8.6/10 on Metacritic, Skate 3 (which was released in 2010) ended up with a 7.5/10. While this is by no means a terrible score, it does show something: the games are not getting better, and if they remain good they are getting stale.

So what do you think is going on RR-sama?

That's a good question. Skate 3 provides me with the grounds to believe that the market is still out there, but there's something that's not quite sitting right with the developers themselves. What I found interesting about this game in particular, however, is that the game sold well not because it was a good game, but rather because of the game's notorious physics engine and humourous glitches as made popular by PewDiePie.

Taking this into account, I have come to the following conclusions:

  1. From Tony Hawk we learn that many big-name extreme sports games are failing due to being developed by teams who are releasing the game with a realistic beta testing and bug/glitch eliminating schedule. This in turn leads to poor customer satisfaction, less sales, and faltering customer loyalty. As a result, the corporations - who only see the poor sales, and not the poor product - decide that the series is not selling anymore and proceeds to halt all future projects.
  2. Those that are not suffering from terrible glitches or bad reviews - such as SSX - are being passed on to teams who simply do not care about the product, or are not in touch with the fanbase. As a result the product is a complete flop, and - once again - the businesses only see the bottom line and the series is dropped.
  3. Considering the success of Skate versus the failure of Tony Hawk I can only come to the conclusions that rather: A) the viability of a game being in a "Let's Play" is key to a game's success, or B) arcade-style games are just falling out of style. However, I would have to say that the former seems much more likely than the latter.

Honestly, I don't like the idea of any of these games finding their way into the "Gaming Graveyard." Tony HawkSSX, and Skate have all become series titles that people who love the extreme sports genre have come to love. When I look at what these companies have done - selling games based on nostalgia alone - I feel as though nobody wins. Series creators lose their prized projects, fans get a crappy product that destroys their happy memories, and the companies scrap a series for the sake of saving their bottom line.

I wouldn't mind paying for a sequel to SSX (2012), provided it has at least half of the personality that SSX 3 had!

Sure, I ruin some people's nostalgia by pointing out the flaws in their favorite games. However, I would never take someone's nostalgia, throw it into a pile of horse droppings, wrap it up in a shiny cover, and sell it to them for $59.99.

That's just evil.

What do you guys think about my theories on the lack of quality extreme sports games? Do you have your own theories or conclusions? Do you have a beloved series that has "died" as a result of selfish businesses? Do you simply think that the reboots and remakes have to end? Leave your ideas and thoughts in the comments section below!

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