Rear Review: Shaun White Snowboarding
by Mitchell Dyer
The back of videogame boxes tell us a lot about how mesmerizing its story is, or that the explosive action is the greatest thing since Jesus lit that tree on fire with his kick-ass guitar solo. How do these back-of-the-box promises hold up? The Rear Review lets you know how the high promises hold up.
Shaun White Snowboarding is a game that I was extremely excited for. The potential for open world mountains, seamless multiplayer, and chucking snowballs in to my friends’ faces sounded like the ultimate version of Amped. It promised to be fast and fun while retaining simulation, so it would feel fresh and realistic. The back of the box drives these points home. Rather than living up to these promises, however, Shaun White Snowboarding smashes its face against a tree and fills its pants with painful, icy-cold powder.
Enter a vast snowboarding world with no limits. Conquer the extreme peak conditions, create your own paths in the backcountry, or compete with fellow riders in terrain parks. Whether alone or with friends, Shaun White Snowboarding is your season pass to total snowboarding freedom. See you on the mountain!
What this giant descriptor fails to mention is that the entirety of Shaun White Snowboarding consists of collecting coins. COINS. Conquering extreme peak conditions, like icicle walls and crumbling ice bridges, is done by earning goofy power-ups like super-duper-mega-jump and turbo-rocket-snowboard. Going out of your way to walk up a mountain, rather than ride down, to pick up a coin at the end of a rail at the top of a cliff, isn’t fun.
Playing “alone or with friends” isn’t an option — if you want to have fun just riding, tricking, and competing, you will have to play multiplayer. Online is the only place you can create your own paths, because you do have a good amount of freedom to ride where you want. Too bad invisible walls and glitches-galore make it a chore to do anything but move straight ahead.
Ride mountains online with friends and others.
Yeah. You can do this. A mention of how many mountains would have been nice, but hey, it ain’t lying. For the record, it’s four.
Have fun with friends on and off the board.
Having fun “off the board” is a reference to the riveting excitement you can have as you wander around up a mountain wondering where the hell you are, standing in place so you don’t fall down the mountain while assessing where the hell you are, and walking around the resort trying to find something interesting to do. Don’t waste your time. If you’re not riding, you’re bored.
Express your styles through tricks, styles and avatars.
With clothing options like “Brown Jacket” and “Blue Jacket” at your disposal, the definition of style isn’t really realized with the character customization. As if that wasn’t enough, the trick system is uninspired. Flailing the right-stick around isn’t my idea of “style” so I’m not sure what they’re really referring to here.
Verdict: Shaun White Snowboarding‘s box doesn’t just lie to you, it straight-up makes things up. Having fun off the board? What’s fun about walking? Expressing styles? What does that even mean? At least it tells you that, yes, you can play online with friends. Yeah, you can go wherever you want. The problem is that the game is so riddled with annoying problems and bugs and glitches and fundamental control issues that the already ridiculous concept of coin collecting in a snowboarding game becomes painful.
This is a platformer, which it totally fails to tell you. You’re being deceived, here.