Shaun White Snowboarding Road Trip

ShaunWhiteSnowBdRoadTripRide the rail, jump the ramps, and enjoy the adventure in Shaun White Snowboarding Road Trip (2008). Take a road trip, join a nice variety of snowboarding competitions, and eventually meet Olympic gold medalist and eight-time X Games gold medalist, Shaun White. This exciting title features natural controls using the remote and the Wii balance board where you get a more authentic, full-motion experience. Master the controls to carve, tuck, brake, grind and trick your way to success.

Game modes include the standard single-player, then three modes for a maximum of four players: co-operative, versus — which includes free play — and hot seat, where you chase a hologram of the best boarder. The multiplayer modes only allow use of one balance board. The levels increase in difficulty as you progress through settings including Canada (your tutorial level), Chile, Park City, Switzerland, and Japan.

Your beginning characters, Canadian Jasmine and Texas-born Gordon, have unique strengths in the skill areas of speed, jump, grip, landing and mass. Your accompanying camera boarder provides the great shots on your adventures while even reacting to your awesome moves…or lack thereof, especially the wipeouts where the victim is realistically covered in the snow for a while — a great graphical addition. This camera element adds some nice role playing elements and some realism to the fun. Expanded elements like half pipe adventures and character pranks provide even more entertainment.

Future unlockable characters have different skill sets, but all characters, except Shaun, have a total of seven points in each set plus special abilities when they are the camera holders for the main rider. Jasmine even has a higher jump rating than Shaun (it’s also her camera bonus) and Gordon bests White in the speed category. The characters, totaling eight, have special abilities you can activate that match their personalities in a common sense way. The tough Canadian John has a mass bonus that allows riders to plow through just about anything while Frenchman Francois and Hawaiian Michael can confuse opponents.

You get plenty of bonuses along the slope in respect ratings, specific items, and special areas. Your jump, timing and landing all factor into the bonuses which can be chained together as long as gravity allows you. The general trick technique is to stop moving right before you land and discover which movements work best for fastest time, most tricks or collection challenges.

The controls have great responses and natural movements which demand sharp reaction times though you usually have plenty of maneuvering room on the slopes throughout the fast-paced gameplay. Once you’re comfortable with the basic movements, then you can easily use A and B button combinations to soar to new heights. Obstacle collisions don’t slow you down too much and it’s very easy to jump on rails for grinds. You can even plow through treetops pretty easily on big jumps. When you hit those big obstacles you slow down, but don’t have to restart, which holds the gameplay interruptions to a minimum. You still experience a high excitement level with low frustration as developers retain the danger level with realistic wipeouts and altered visuals at high speeds.

The clean graphics contains layers of great texture work and Visuals change at fast speeds. Most load times are very minimal and the content shows a positive sense of humor suitable for all genders and ages. The music soundtrack includes songs from Audioslave, MGMT, Living Colour, Incubus, Heart, Kasabian, Modest Mouse, Three Days Grace, Blue Öyster Cult and Bob Dylan – just press the 1 button to advance songs.

This very accessible title has easy controls, amazing visuals, realistic movements and awesome multiplayer modes (no online capabilities, create a player or Mii character use yet…maybe in the next version). The Target limited edition version features another setting and an earlier appearance of Mr. White, but for a shorter period of time. This game has all the high speed, tricked out entertainment you could want and is right up there with Boom Blox as one of the best, most entertaining games this year.

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