|System: DS, X360, PS3, PC, PS2, Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ubisoft||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 16, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
Shaun White is a remarkable young athlete. Hes won seven gold medals in the Winter X Games so far and one gold in the Olympics for Mens Half Pipe. Shaun White may very well be deemed the Tony Hawk of the snowboard, but the game that bears his name wont keep Mr. Hawk up at nights worrying about the competition.
Shaun White Snowboarding is available for virtually every popular gaming system on the market. The DS version offers a unique control scheme utilizing the stylus to influence the motion of the snowboard. Its an interesting concept that does work but it never feels natural. Its just an end to a means, a novelty that offers some fun and challenges but one that you just cant take seriously after you master the controls. Its like driving a car with an Etch-a-Sketch.
Shaun White Snowboarding doesnt have enough variety or depth. Its a forgiving game in the arcade tradition, which may be good for beginners but doesnt offer any lasting challenge. Overall the speed is slow, making it even easier to navigate your way down the slopes. Unfortunately, once youve been down one slope, youve been down them all. The only thing that varies is where things are located, so in effect each new slope or branching section seems little more than something that was thrown into a random course generator. The mountain courses are linear and suffer from lack of graphical detail.
There are two main gameplay elements to Shaun White Snowboarding, racing, and performing tricks. You can concentrate on either or both depending on what mode you're in. A series of mountains are available from around the world, which can be unlocked similarly to a lot of other features in this game such as tricks and power-ups. In the race mode, you will compete against three other boarders to see who gets to the finish line first. The challenge mode offers you various challenges to complete in addition to performing tricks such as catching huge air and grinding rails. A four-player multiplayer mode is offered but it will require that all players have a copy of the game. The unique aspect to this is that you can trade stickers that act as customizing options. There is a single-copy mode but it's extremely limited and incredibly slow to load. If you're going to demonstrate this game to your friends it's advised that you just play-and-pass.
It's the control system in this game that throws me. As I mentioned, it does work but it's feels so forced. The analog stick would be much preferable to the stylus, or even a touch screen version of a larger D-pad would feel better. Your board is displayed on the bottom screen. Here you will drag the stylus around it in an effort to influence its motion. Drag it to the left or right of the board to turn it in either direction. Drag the stylus to the front of the board and you will increase your speed. Slowing down requires you to drag it to the back. Flicking the stick from the back to the front will facilitate a jump. While in the air you can draw patterns to pull of various in-air tricks. Just remember to take the stylus off the screen before you land since you can't be caught landing in mid-trick as it will not earn you anything but heartache. These tricks are worth a lot of points so you'll want to do as many as you can but just don't get greedy.