Cheat Code

Dec 16, 2009 at 12:00 am

Stoked: Big Air Edition
Bongfish Interactive
Xbox 360

Man, fuck winter. Between shoveling snow and the douchetard in the SUV zipping down the freeway (and usually into the embankment), winter is quite possibly the dumbest season ever. The only two redeeming factors to this wretched season are Christmas and snowboarding. Nothing beats carving down the slopes with the wind in your face. There isn't much that can top it. And as every snowboarder knows, the first time you ever strap in, you're going to spend a good 90 percent of your day on your ass. So you're stuck with the ethical dilemma: Do you keep at it, and become better? Or do you give up, and pack it in? You'll be asking yourself the exact same question throughout Stoked: Big Air Edition.

Not so much a sequel, more of an expansion of February's Stoked, the Big Air Edition tweaks some of the graphic effects and also includes two new mountains, which gives you a total of seven. Also included are the 2010 snowboards and gear, if you're into that sort of thing. Other than that, it's pretty much the same deal. Jump off the chopper, snowboard down the mountain, get notoriety and sponsors, and become king of the hill. Easy, right? Nope.

Eschewing the arcade aspects of previous snowboarding games, Stoked: Big Air is a more realistic simulation of mountain carving. There are two primary ways to play the game, "stylish" or "hucker." Stylish riding means you pull off your spins and tricks with no pre-wind, and hucker riding is a more chaotic style, consisting of pulling off multiple tricks and grabs once you catch air. Pick that which works for you, and stick to it, as style points eliminate hucker points and vice versa. 

The mountain shows various tests, races, and trick challenges; and the latter are where the frustration begins. A lot of the game requires you to pull off a string of specific tricks, or you fail. Problem is, there are so many different grabs, spins and flips to do that you'll find yourself forgetting just how to do that damn trick. The learning curve is really steep, and it wouldn't be surprising to find a few broken controllers once all's said and done. Luckily there's a "grab bible" that tells you how to do the trick, but you'll find yourself repeating the same challenge over and over again until you get it right. 

Just like real snowboarding, Stoked: Big Air Edition requires a lot of patience to get the hang of, but once you start to learn your way around the mountain, each success feels just that much sweeter. If you keep at it, there's a satisfying experience to be found. The only real question is whether or not you're patient enough to get there.