Stoked: Big Air Edition - 360 - Review
As a snowboarding enthusiast and a fan of snowboarding games, Stoked came as a pleasant surprise when it was first released. It wasn’t a serious snowboarding title nor was it too arcade-like so there was plenty of everything for fellow snowboarding fans to like despite its few problems. Stoked: Big Air Edition is the same game with a few improvements and new additions to make this the ultimate version of the game you will definitely want to play.
Into the great white open
Once again, you start the game editing your nameless snowboarder and adding little touches such as slapping on different clothing options, picking different nationalities and even customizing your board. You then hop on a helicopter and try your hand at your first mountain such as Almirante Nieto in Chile. With 2008 Transworld Magazine Rider of the Year Wolle Nyvelt as your guide, you begin your run on the mountain as well as start your career attempting to make a name for yourself on the slopes.
Starting on the top of the mountain, you can take on a few tutorial challenges to learn the basics tricks such as the tail grab, grinds, ollie and aerial spins. From there you can freely take on various challenges you’ll find scattered throughout the mountain. These challenges usually have you attempting to beat another rider’s run or pull off the tricks called out by another rider. Some challenges even have you attempt to string combos together to make X amount of points.
You can also participate in a number of sponsor challenges to earn sponsorship in known companies to the point that even your gear options can change. Before you get a sponsorship, however you must prove yourself in photographer challenges. Your best tricks can be captured in still photographs by sports photographers and later even yourself. Once you’re sponsored, you will find yourself competing against the likes of famous snowboarders from around the world including Tadashi Fuse, Bjorn Leines, Nicholas Muller and Travis Rice among a list of others.
Rocky mountain high
As far as the new features are concerned, you can race many of the snowboarders I just mentioned as you attempt to beat a “ghost” of their run. The races are fast paced and the run is actually quite challenging. There are even new sponsored events such as Big Air and Grind Fest events. There are two new summits as well to join the new mountains to accompany the original summits such as Mt. Fuji or K2. Each mountain as different sides you can ride and, thankfully, at one point you’ll even be able to earn the right to pilot a helicopter to find your own spot.
The gameplay sees some improvements as far as the tricks are concerned so the big air tricks feel a lot smoother to pull off in the game and so is the grinding. Sure, some of the more complex tricks like the Annie Boulanger Crail Boned are still a bit tough to pull off but the rest of the tricks are handled beautifully enough in this version of the game. It certainly makes the trick challenges more fun this way.
Unfortunately, many of the original release’s problems are back and they still hold this game back. Never mind the long load times, the problem with the game is that your career feels directionless and you don’t feel like you’re accomplishing a whole lot. Then there’s the fact that the challenges and competitions start feeling alike as well so the fun factor dies down quickly in this game. Even the multiplayer is fun in short bursts.
Visually, nothing has changed in the Big Air Edition of Stoked. The good news is that the summits look decent enough and the weather effects are actually quite spectacular. On the other hand, everything from trees to lodges look awful and so do the riders even though they kick up snow realistically.
The sound of snow falling
The sound hasn’t changed at all either, which is fine seeing as the game did have some detailed sound effects as you swoosh down a hill. You’ll hear from the pros in the game but it’s mostly to criticize your failed attempts, which becomes annoying because there are also invisible hecklers that will get on your nerves. At least the game has a rocking soundtrack with music from artists such as Quietdrive, Thrush and A Kiss Could Be Deadly just to name a few of the indie artists.
Stoked: Big Air Edition for the Xbox 360 is the definitive version of a rewarding and fun snowboarding game. While there are a few improvements to the game, those pesky weak spots that kept this from being a truly great snowboarding title and not just a really good one. Sure, there are even new mountains to play on but it’s the gameplay that counts. Still, if you missed out on this game the first time around I highly recommend you buy this version instead.
Review Scoring Details for Stoked: Big Air Edition
With two new mountains to conquer, hitting the virtual powder is still just as fun as it was the first time around. Sure, you’ll feel like the main career mode doesn’t really push you in the right direction in terms of making a name for yourself but it’s all about the arcade-styled tricks.
I must say that this is not the prettiest Xbox 360 game but it does do the mountains and the snow perfectly. We just wish the snowboarders didn’t look clunky or the trees to look so lifeless in a game that doesn’t give us a lot to look at in the first place.
The sound effects feel like you’re on the snow, alright, and that’s a very good thing. You’ll hear from other real snowboarders in the game and that’s even better but what you’ll be glad to hear a lot of is the game’s excellent eclectic soundtrack.
It’s not easy pulling off a Stalefish Tuckknee Tweaked or a Chicken Salad Boned without eating snow a couple of times. Some of the challenges will really make you wish your fingers were double jointed to pull off but they’re not impossible stunts either.
From Mount Fuji to the gorgeous Chilean mountain of Almirante Nieto, the different locals are sure to add some variety to each of your runs. The emphasis is on fun and the game plays up the tricks and challenges to make the game enjoyable. It’s too bad the Sponsor challenges don’t have too much variety to them. There’s also online multiplayer snowboarding fun to be had in the game.
The multiplayer mode is strictly online so up to eight players can hit any of the mountains and compete in a number of fun challenges. The best part is that your score can be posted on the leader board so you can challenge players in your skill level.
The Big Air Edition of Stoked makes for a bigger and somewhat better game that makes for a far more complete and completely gratifying snowboarding game for the Xbox 360. There are still a few issues that really haven’t been improved in this version but we are still looking at one addictive snowboarding game well worth buying.