It has been a while since I’ve played an extreme sports game that I really liked. I was always a fan of the Tony Hawk and Amped series of games as well as SSX, but there have not been a lot of these type games released in the last couple years. Sure, there is Skate and Skate II, but I prefer more arcade and less simulation in my extreme sports games. So, when I saw that Ubisoft was making a snowboarding game I was pretty excited. Shaun White Snowboarding was developed by Ubisoft Montreal and released on November 14, 2008.
The game has four mountains available to snowboard on the disc and a fifth you can get via DLC. Each mountain has sections for back country snowboarding, park riding, and peak sections. At the start of the game all four mountains are available to ride. You start with some generic clothes and snowboard and as you complete competitions you make money to buy better clothing and snowboards. There are no stats to level up and the only thing that affects your riding is which board you use. Fortunately, it does not take very long to buy a couple of the best boards in the game in the game.
There are only four requited missions in the game that Shaun White gives you. Each one is to go around all four mountains and collect 12 coins. The first one you complete unlocks a special ability to charge through fences that you need to use to complete the next mission of coin collecting. These repeats until you have completed all four missions and get the ability to boost your speed, break through fences, and jump extra high. After that you unlock these abilities you then get to compete against Shaun in a competition. Beating him is hard, but manageable if you have a full focus meter when you start. Other than these four missions and the contest with Shaun White all of the competitions scattered around the mountains are completely optional.
I found the missions from Shaun a little annoying because I they do not explain why you would want to collect these coins, but the actual jumps and stuff to get them are pretty fun. If it were not for going to get the coins I may have never found some of these great jumps and tick lines.
Graphically the game looks good and the sound track is great. It is a nice mix of current and classic rock songs. The tricks you pull are all real snowboarding tricks. You can do them way beyond normal human ability but I like that they are all real tricks I recognize from watching real snowboarding events. They make it easy to pull both air and rail tricks. Also, they make it fun and strait forward to string tricks together.
My only real issue with the game is that after about two weeks of playing I got bored with it. Since all of the side contests are optional I did not really see a need to do them once I purchased the best boards in the game. So, after completing the missions for Shaun it becomes just going down the mountains over and over. Which is fun, but not so much fun that I’m still playing it. The other minor annoyance I had was that a lot of the achievements are only possible after you play a lot of hours online and finish all of Shaun’s missions.
If you are looking for an action sports game along the Tony Hawk style I’d recommend renting Shaun White Snowboarding. Unless you have a lot of friends playing it that you can join online and mess around with I do not think it is worth buying