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Ubisoft Shaun White Snowboarding: Road Trip
Shaun White's Wii debut bests its high-powered console counterparts.
- Better than the 360 and PS3 versions due to cool balance board support, fast-paced fun
- More modes and online support would've kept us on our boards a lot longer
In a surprising twist on par with hell freezing over the Wii receives the best version of a multi-platform title. Road Trip isn't a perfect ride down the virtual mountain, but it often nails the fun factor that the PS3 and 360 versions sometimes missed. Even better, it offers the best reason yet to blow that thick layer of dust off your balance board.
Price$ 79.95 (AUD)
Shaun White's Wii debut bests its high-powered console counterparts, while giving gamers the best reason yet to break out their balance boards.
As rare events go, a multi-platform title having its best version hit the Wii -- trumping the 360 and PS3 entries -- is right up there with the planets aligning, pigs flying, and Paris Hilton receiving an Academy Award. Despite the impossible odds, though, Shaun White's balance board-supported Wii entry is definitely the one to beat. To be fair, Shaun White Snowboarding: Road Trip isn't a direct port of its other console counterparts; it's a bit less ambitious in terms of modes, gameplay options (the free-roaming aspect is entirely absent), and obviously the visuals are a step down from the horsepower-hording next-gen versions. However, its strict focus on fast-paced, snow-carving fun, complemented by the best balance board support ever, earns it the gold.
Solo and local multi-player competitive and co-op events include the expected timed, trick-focused, and collection challenges, but the intuitive controls help the traditional take rise above the usual extreme sports fare. Similar to the recently released Skate It, the controls are a bit more precise with the Wii-mote, but far more fun with the balance board; catching air, nailing grinds, and simply building momentum as you barrel down the slopes is a balance board-fueled blast. Hop on the board, and within seconds you'll instinctively be crouching and leaning into the action as if you were atop an actual well waxed, trail-blazing deck -- it's pretty infectious.
The wind-in-your-face fun is further complemented by an endearing visual presentation, smartly adopting a more cartoonish look rather than trying to duplicate the other versions' more realistic vibe, and an appropriately edgy licensed soundtrack.
A few more modes and online support would have gone a long way in beefing up the replay value; as is, Road Trip is a fun ride that's over far too soon, even with the local multi-player modes. It's also a bit less impressive without a balance board; those who have invested in Nintendo's latest mad scientist creation, though, will find Road Trip is its killer app. In fact, if you've been thinking about making space in your living room for the previously under-supported peripheral, now's the time to take the plunge. With Road Trip and Skate It in your library, you could easily host your own mini X-Games in the comfort of your own home. Even without the board, though, I'd recommend Shaun White's Wii adventure over his less impressive 360 and PS3 treks. It's a tighter, more polished experience that puts the focus on fun over the other entries' ambitious, but not always rewarding free-roaming gameplay. And the Wii-mote support, though not quite as gnarly as the balance board play, still offers a great way to rail-grind, flip, jump, and race your way down the digital slopes.
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