EA Games SSX Blur
- Buried under the bad controls lies a decent enough action-sports game
- The controls are <i>awful</i>
Dedicated (read: sadistic) gamers willing to invest the time necessary to figure out the controls might get a kick out of this one, but the convoluted controls will turn off most players.
When will developers learn that just because you can design a funky control scheme around the Wii Remote, it doesn't mean you should? SSX Blur could have been a decent ride, but its cumbersome control scheme dooms it to an arctic hell.
I gotta blast a dookie?
Explaining SSX Blur's control scheme is like trying to give a brief primer on quantum physics, but here goes. With the default settings, swing the Nunchuk to make wide turns, use the C-Stick for tighter turns, the C-button to pivot 90-degrees, and the Z-button to activate grabs during aerials. Flicking the Wii Remote performs spins and flips while the A-button activates jumps and "Ubertricks", and the B button packs snowballs you can throw at collectibles and opponents.
There's a fine line between complexity and impenetrability, but SSX Blur has crossed over to the wrong side of the track, effectively locking players out of the experience. The Nunchuk's sensitivity makes it difficult to execute smooth turns, while the free-floating Wii Remote often has you veering out of bounds or screw-attacking wildly through the air because of an unintentional wrist flinch. The Ubertricks are even worse; you're required to draw ridiculous precision patterns in a split-second of airtime.
That said, the game isn't totally intolerable -- we actually sort of dug the early 90's X-treme vibe and the downhill-based snowboarding/skiing action. Not much has changed from past SSX titles, and the graphics are pretty snazzy for a Wii game. Unfortunately, it's all a moot point, given the game's cumbersome controls.
Dedicated (read: sadistic) gamers willing to invest the time necessary to figure out the controls might get a kick out of this one, but the convoluted controls will turn off most players. The lesson here is clear: Wii developers need to start with a blank slate rather than graft old-school control schemes onto the Wii Remote because, as SSX Blur demonstrates, it just doesn't work.
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