I've been listening to a band called Autopilot Off recently. They fucking rock and they entered my life the same way some of my all time favorite bands did in the past. Goldfinger, System of a Down, Less Than Jake, Bodyjar, Cauterize, Crush 40, and Autopilot Off were all introduced to me via the video game. When ever I think about certain bands, such as the bands I listed above, sometimes I get brought back to the game that exposed me to that music. In which game did I really learn about Autopilot Off? SSX 3.
So I turned on SSX 3 again for the first time since the middle of the summer today because I wanted to listen to some Autopilot Off and maybe because it just snowed the other day and it was appropriate. After a whole bunch of racing and freestyle runs, I started thinking something rather treasonous:
SSX Tricky or SSX 3?
I think SSX 3 is a better game than SSX Tricky. There. I won't be clever and wait until the end of the whole fucking post before I come out and say it. I love both SSX Tricky and SSX 3, but I prefer SSX 3 over the former. The main question that I ask myself is the following: Why is it that SSX Tricky is the game that I find more people talking about when I feel that SSX 3 is a better game? Unfortunately, I don't have the energy to actually determine the answer to that question, but what I can do is compare the two games so you guys can decide for yourselves. SSX Tricky or SSX 3?
So here we go. The SSX series is a series of snowboarding racing games made by EA Big. There are several installments in the series, including 3 for the Nintendo Gamecube and at least 1 for the Wii (I don't claim to be an expert on Wii....yet). Based on the conversations I have with my friends both at home and at college (so you can tell I am getting a really wide range of people here), it would seem that SSX Tricky is the more popular game. For that reason, it must be the better game! SSX Tricky is an AMAZING game that kept my younger self entertained for weeks and weeks and weeks at a time, but I am not certain if it matches up with SSX 3, personally. I suppose I'll start off by discussing the features both games have in common.
SSX Tricky and SSX 3 both offer 2 main types of single and multiplayer player modes: Race and Showoff/Freestyle (Showoff in Tricky and Freestyle in 3. They're the same thing.) Race mode has you blasting down huge snowy mountains as fast as you can in an attempt to get from the beginning of the course to the end of the course in less time than it takes your opponent. That's how a race works. Showoff/Freestyle is a mode where you basically have the entire course as your own personal skatepark. You start at the top of whatever course you want, and try to score as many points as you can by doing all sorts of different crazy tricks before you cross the finish line. Each game has several different courses to board on. Each game has an upgrading system where you will get to choose which of your rider's stats you wish to increase, and the abundance of these opportunities increases depending on how brutally you kick your opponent's ass during the race. There are many different boards with all different stats for you to unlock AND there are different clothing options for each character that are purely cosmetic.
So both games have the same basic formula. And I'm not kidding, like, they are pretty much the same idea. Same equation and formula. No risk taken from Tricky to 3. This presents us with a unique opportunity where we can just literally compare the two games track by track, move by move. It's not like comparing Super Smash Bros. Melee's Adventure Mode to Brawl's Subspace Emissary, where they are completely different but are forced to be compared. SSX Tricky and SSX 3 have so much in common that it is incredibly easy and natural feeling to compare the two. It is a case like Minute Maid lemonade vs. Country Time lemonade where we can just say "This is better because I like it more." So. Obviously the games aren't EXACTLY the same, they just function the same. They look different, feel different, and play differently despite their concepts being akin. So we only have a couple of different things to compare, and a side by side comparison would be most efficient.
Let's start with the characters. Pretty much the same characters give or take a few newbies added to SSX 3 from SSX Tricky. Personally, I feel that the updated graphics that come with a game being newer does wonders for the SSX 3 character roster. It looks better since it is the same art style, and because it is newer. Visual appeal goes to SSX 3. Also, IM SORRY, but as much as everyone loved the announcer (Rozell?) in Tricky, SSX 3 has a real soundtrack complete with the auto-synching feature. Which means like, if in these rock songs, normally, there is a quiet section, then that quiet section is going to be played while you're in a dark cave. Then once you come shooting out of that cave, the chorus of that song is going to slam through the TV speakers, and the best part of the song is going to be pumping through while you're high in the air about to land and shit all over your opponents. Like how music is in a cheesy summer-movie made in the 90s? That's what SSX 3 does. Sound goes to SSX 3 as well.
Courses. Perhaps the tracks in SSX Tricky are more memorable. Maybe this is the result of nostalgia or because I've spent more hours total playing Tricky when compared to 3. I do feel that there was less emphasis on the course designs in 3. They don't feel lazy, in fact, they really are awesome. But, like, for example, the name of each course in SSX Tricky is blown thrown the TV speakers every time you select one. In SSX 3, they are not. And because in SSX 3, you can technically access a majority of the courses from an open-world-ish hub, you may play many courses without even knowing their names. Perhaps what I am trying to avoid saying is that even though the courses in SSX 3 are really damn fun, they do all kind of look the same - just a bunch of snow and a bunch of ramps. Fun, but I mean, Tricky has Tokyo Megaplex on its side....courses go to Tricky.
Finally, with a 1 to 1 score, we have how the game feels. Tricky does an amazing job of incorporating the element of doing tricks with the controls that can feel button-mashy but work, into a game that is not necessarily always about doing tricks. Maybe you'll want to tone the showoff inside of you down while you're ripping through tougher courses in SSX Tricky. This is because in Tricky, accidentally performing tricks you never wanted to do happens often and can REALLY fuck you up. It is very easy to accidentally stop performing your front flips (for example) while you're upside down. So like, you're blasting through a course, and a surprise ramp pops up from out of no where. Because you didn't see the ramp until it was too late, you're still holding up on the control stick, because holding up on the control stick makes you accelerate when you're on the ground. BUT in the air, holding up makes you flip, kinda. So before you know it, you're upside down, you're in the air, and you're about to eat shit and once you do, it's over. Time to press Restart. SSX 3 completely fixed this problem. In SSX 3, you automatically complete your flips every time they are executed. It's like the bottom of your board is magnetized to the snow. It makes doing double front flips on flat ground possible, but who cares how unrealistic that is? If you're going to spam tricks all day during the race, you're going to lose anyway. The point is that SSX 3 has solved the one problem SSX Tricky had with its trick system- you pretty much automatically land them every time. You still have to avoid hitting trees and stuff, but there is no bullshit when doing the tricks; each one can be performed with confidence. With the installation of SSX 3, the SSX series has finally worked out every kink in the system that links doing tricks to going fast, and for that, SSX 3 takes the best-feeling trophy.
Looks like SSX 3 wins 2 to 1. Of course, this is all just my opinion. I cannot discredit the volunteer opinions of my friends - SSX Tricky MUST be an awesome game since so many people always want to play it when they see that it is in my library. I couldn't resist getting the sequel because I was curious, but perhaps some of you may join my side one day. SSX 3 I do believe is only 5 or so dollars on Amazon. Enjoy, and don't forget that whether it is in a game or in real life, yellow snow is piss. Don't eat it.