Shaun White Snowboarding • Page 2

Snow Crash.  

Wrong. It's a nightmare. Whereas Skate gave us a concrete world, then politely told us the rules and asked if we wanted to master it (to which the answer was almost always "oh Lord yes"), nothing in Shaun White Waterboarding feels bolted down or finely crafted. Every time you carve to the left or right it feels imprecise, and correctly landing after getting some big air is worse. Over the last two days I've watched my poor character take 50 or 60 separate tumbles in the snow despite landing cleanly with his entire snowboard flat to the ground, and twice I've seen him continue on his way and snap back upright as if nothing was wrong after landing on his back.

A saving grace is that there are a couple of events in Shaun White Waterboarding which don't suffer these problems, namely the grinding and racing. Grinding's pretty good, because most of the time your board is magically drawn towards any rails, trees, boxes and the like which are lying around, enabling you to put satisfying combos together fairly quickly. Racing is adequate, because you're no longer wrestling with the controls - although it is a bit dependent on how expensive your board is.

Ubisoft Montreal also saw fit to include a rubbish snowball-throwing mechanic, which works by letting you press B to instantly snatch a snowball from the ground, then hold B to aim it at your nearest opponent and release the button to fling it. Anyone who gets hit by a snowball instantly collapses face-first into the ground. Think of an un-aimed snowball as a tiny green shell (though capable of rapid fire) and an aimed snowball as a red shell. And yes, that means that in first place, the AI pelts you with what might as well be rocks at all times.

2
...except for the vistas anyway, which are consistently gorgeous.

A slightly better idea in the game is the way Shaun occasionally makes an appearance to teach you a new Focus Ability, something you can then use to access different paths down the mountain. The first ability allows you to shoulder-barge through walls of ice and certain fences, for instance. But the implementation of the system is half-baked. Instead of making you feel clever by letting you return to kick the ass of previously impassable obstacles, Super Metroid-style, the main use of the Focus Abilities is in letting you collect the giant rotating coins marked on your map, coins which then unlock... Shaun White teaching you the next Focus Ability.

A final feature is multiplayer, which does the Burnout Paradise thing. Using the d-pad you can get up to 15 people to join you on your mountain, or you can join them on theirs. After that there are a couple of multiplayer-only races at the top of each mountain the lot of you can access, though that's it. I guess you could just ride around and enjoy each other's company, or if the snowball throwing was any good you could have a snowball fight. But it's not.

4
You can ride a chairlift if you want, but it's creepy. You can only turn your head far enough to see the motionless knees and hands of whoever's sitting next to you.

Let's at least end with something nice, since I've been so mean for all of this review. A substantial amount of time and money has clearly been spent acquiring all the tracks that make up the game's music, which is a nice mix of pop old and new, a bit of soul, dance, some classic rock and plenty of grunge that brings to mind the excellent Project Gotham Racing soundtracks. Though come to think of it, PGR lets you sort the music by genre, strip individual tracks from the playlist or listen to your own music, none of which Shaun White Waterboarding quite manages. Oh, snap.

4 /10

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Quintin Smith

Quintin Smith

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Quinns has been writing about games for a decade. If you see him online, please be gentle. He'll be using a shotgun no matter the circumstances and will not be very good.

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