Shaun White Snowboarding Review for Xbox 360

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At times it's stunning, but the game design is frustrating.
At times it's stunning, but the game design is frustrating.

At times it's stunning, but the game design is frustrating.

Snowboarding used to be all the rage in video games. Cool Boarders on the original PlayStation and 1080 on the N64 were both must own titles for their respective platforms, and later SSX proved that people couldn't get enough of insane jumps and ridiculous tricks. Then, along came Amped to show that a sim approach could work and the third game in the series made for a solid Xbox 360 launch title. Now a good few years into this console generation, with developers getting to grips with the power at their disposal, a snowboarding game should offer the very best kind of extreme sports entertainment. Ubisoft Montreal's Shaun White tries hard but in the end falls foul of a few rather unfortunate design decisions.

Although Shaun White's Snowboarding attempts to offer something in the way of a story, the game's really about you boarding down four massive mountains (Alaska, Park City Utah, Europe and Japan), taking part in events, collecting items for Shaun and playing with friends. Instead of giving you events in traditional video game fashion, this is more or less the GTA of the snowboarding genre, with each mountain free to explore, and events accessed by boarding up to them. With plenty of events to tackle, and coins to collect that unlock new moves, the set-up is great. Soon enough, though, things start to get rather frustrating.

Collecting items (in this case coins) isn't usually that much fun, so imagine how awkward it is in a game where you're strapped to a board while travelling at speed down a snowy mountain, with locations often at the end of an extremely tricky run. You can get off your board to wander about on foot, but your boarder can't do much, with small ledges and steep inclines putting an end to his adventuring. Collecting all the coins is essential as doing so unlocks new abilities (the first gives you the ability to barge through destructible barriers), but initially it's just not fun. Travelling around the mountain is great when you're going down, but try to head back up and it's either slow or impossible. Thankfully you can quick travel to a few chair lift and helicopter drop off points, but that still leaves you with some distance to travel to get each coin or event and there's a chance you'll fly by the location again (the in-game radar is only of limited use and the main map is one of the worst we've seen in a video game), forcing you to take another chair lift back up again.

Getting around becomes a chore very quickly and it's something that can only partially be solved if you make use of the marker system the developers have included. By placing a marker you can instantly warp back to that point at the press of a button, which is great, but that's only of real use to the coin collecting where you're going to have to replay runs over and over again, and you still have to get into the right position to place the marker in the first place. The opening few hours of Shaun White aren't great - you're literally thrown in and told to get on with it. Some people may enjoy this hands-off approach, but we'd have liked the basics to be walked through in greater depth.

The mountains are massive and full of things to do

The mountains are massive and full of things to do

The boarding itself is punishing too, with a control system that won't be for players hoping for a modern SSX. Movement is mapped to the left stick, crouch and jump on the right trigger (in the Xbox 360 version tested), modifiers on the left trigger and grabs on the right stick. The right stick also allows you to perform more severe turns by twisting the board. This is all fine, but putting these controls into practice and being able to go down the mountain without landing on your face is far trickier than it seems.

All movements in Shaun White are based on reality, so you can't start a spin and then try to reverse out of it - doing this causes your boarder to hit the ground in a rather uncomfortable position. Until you get your head around the fact that it's best to play safe rather than go all out for every trick, you'll find Shaun White to be incredibly frustrating. Competing in the various freestyle, air tricks, ground tricks, air time, speed and other events helps you get to grips with the controls, but for a long time you'll be finishing last and scraping through with bare minimum scores. Strangely, grinding rails is pretty easy, with your boarder able to land on pretty much anything as long as he's not completely off balance.

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rundo's Avatar

rundo

Great game, hard to imagine any snowboarder out there wouldn't enjoy playing this, the realistic elements knocked in this review are what makes it so enjoyable.

I'd call it frustrating if you didn't like snowboarding, might take a little while to get the hang of the controls but you will get the hang of them like ANY game and forget you ever had trouble.

"Getting around becomes a chore very quickly" - That's where the fun is, You sound like a geek just trying to clock a game. I'd be very surprised if you have boarded before.
Posted 02:40 on 11 December 2009
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travuss81

I think the people that like the game are the people who actually snowboard/ski and know what it's really like to be on a mountain like these.
Posted 15:03 on 19 February 2009
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Anonymous

good game but it is impossible to get the last medal thingy on top of the sattelite or whatever in alaska!
Posted 20:51 on 04 February 2009
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xboxlive@ me

Quote:
Originally Posted by me
Well my x box gets baC 2moro and I just bought swsb so it better be worth the 55 dollars..Ill be baC with a real review 2moro..PEACE and LOVE
i think you will be upset over it:P
Posted 10:13 on 30 January 2009
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me

Well my x box gets baC 2moro and I just bought swsb so it better be worth the 55 dollars..Ill be baC with a real review 2moro..PEACE and LOVE
Posted 10:05 on 30 January 2009
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Leonard

Hé guys, love the game! Does anyone no what to do after finishing all coins and all events? I think you than have to challenge Shaun somewhere but I can't find him on his spot. Would love to know what to do because I really wanna finish the single player! Thanks for your help already!
Posted 22:01 on 27 January 2009
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66

this game sucks... its not worth the money for it and shaun white should be ashamed to put his name on it... total disappointment!!!! Ive been snowboarding for over 15 years and know what its about ,and its not about jibbing 100 ft trees laying in the run over and over and over... THE GAME SUCKS. and i want my 60 bucks back shaun.
Posted 18:48 on 18 January 2009
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benji 86

this is spot on i would have sed the exact same thing about the game!
Posted 00:13 on 15 January 2009
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si

was v disappointed by this game. SSX3 still seems smooth and visually better presented. Controls are way too arse backwards. At least SK8TE was only diificult and then made sense. I do board and yes at first the real thing is frustrating but whe you fall over you don't wait for the rest of the scenery to pop up !! OH and the visuals of sean make him look far less like an extra from Planet of the Apes than he does in real life . I'm off to trade it in.....
Posted 17:46 on 12 January 2009
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...

This seriously had to be one of the worst games i have ever played. Super nintendo games kicked this games ass. First the controls suck case, they are unable to be altered. Your camera isnt even that good. Atleast they added a corny warp system otherwise this game would have made an excellent frisbee. There is no story and almost no incentive to play it. Shaun White may be an excellent snowboarder but he sucks for endorsing one of the worst games ever to be released for the 360 and other consoles for that matter.

Dont Buy this game! If you get it as a gift dont open it, you can return it to a EB Games for full price and get something decent
Posted 01:54 on 10 January 2009
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GG

I think this game is great but 1 thing.....no cheats annnnd i finished the game but it seems like i haven't unlocked anything. I also got the target mountain edition but it i dont know how to get there/it
Posted 06:28 on 04 January 2009
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xboxlive

yep this game is a wate of time/money.
played it again 2day and still cant get on with it,its slow moveing on the board and so frustrating when hiting a jump as you slow down at the top.:( bad game.
Posted 15:55 on 03 January 2009
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xboxlive

i payed £17.99 for this game and played the frist mission and i have not played it again,i dont know why but it just felt crap to play,
but may be i should gave it one more try.
Posted 01:57 on 03 January 2009
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Anonymous

Spot-on review! this game was sh*t. why do you loose all ur speed when you land a trick or when your approachin a hit. sooo frustrating!! Amped 2 is fun. SSX is fun. ShaunWhite is BS.
Posted 20:32 on 02 January 2009
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Matt

This game is terrible. I got it for Christmas after 6 days of snowboarding, and I gave it a shot. All I can say is it blows me away that anyone could take something as fun as snowboarding and make such an atrocity out of it. This game should make me want to snowboard more, but all it does is make me want to kill myself.

Ubisoft Montreal took a maple leaf dildo and jammed it in the ass of my xbox.
Posted 08:26 on 27 December 2008

Game Stats

Shaun White Snowboarding
6
Out of 10
Shaun White Snowboarding
  • Some incredible views
  • Gets better later on
  • Getting around the mountains is a chore
  • Controls are overly awkward
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 14/11/2008
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3 , PC , Wii , DS , PS2 , PSP
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft
Genre: Extreme Sports
No. Players: 1-16
Rating: PEGI 3+
Site Rank: 2,695 483
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