Shaun White Snowboarding

Reviewed by Father | 11 February 2009
Genre: | Publisher: Ubisoft | Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
TOG Score
Members (av.)
The Good
  • Great Graphics
  • Immersive Environment
  • Large open mountain
  • Total Freedom
The Bad
  • Somewhat unsatisfying trick system
  • Limited appeal to people who are not into snowboarding

Snowboarding making it into video games is nothing new but few have managed to deliver the experience in a way that is satisfying, SWSB is probably the most entertaining snowboarding experience available on the 360 but the entertainment value it provides is one that doesn’t have much longevity.

SWSB offers 4 semi fictitious mountains in different parts of the world being Utah, Japan, Europe and Alaska, an additional mountain is also available for purchase over xbla.

Each mountain has a somewhat distinctive look and feel identified by the building architecture you come across on the way down.  Undeniable SWSB looks excellent, it’s powered by the Assasin’s Creed engine and its visuals do a fantastic job when it comes to providing you with a great sensation of being on a snow covered mountain.  The only real visual let down is the lack of variety in weather.  In a game like snowboarding you would really like to see the weather effects like snow and fog add something to the challenge.

The game puts you in the shoes of the next wannabe snowboarding champ which just happens to bump into boarding hero Shaun White, the story is pretty much as shallow as they come and presents itself through glorified pats on the back every time you reach the next stage.

Your snowboarding playground consists of four massive mountains and every one of these mountain provides some variety with things like bobsleigh tracks, big ski jumps, icy tunnels etc.  They are certainly good fun to take your board through and encourage you to explore as the scope of the mountains is massive. 
You will encounter different surfaces on the way down, there are hard ice surfaces which speed you up, powdery snow which slows you down somewhat and the hardened slopes shared with others.  The fact that you can get off your board at any time and explore things a bit further gives you a great sensation of being and this is where the game really shines
But at the same time every mountain shares simular sets of jumps, fallen trees to grind on and typica slopes to ride.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as SWSB delivers upon the immersion factor of doing your thing in total freedom while you are on the mountain.  So if you enjoy snowboarding with albeit somewhat forgiving and exaggerated physics and the ability to free ride as you see fit then SWSB has enough variety to keep you entertained.
SWSB gives you a great sensation of being and this is where the game really shines!
The trick system uses both analog sticks but it’s all very simple to get the hang of and soon enough you will be performing the most spectacular mid air spins and grabs, there really is little challenge to any this and somehow the controller buttons themselves really don’t get much use for things other then getting of your board, walking around, throwing snowballs and cheering.

The challenge lies in the tasks given to you by Mister Shaun White himself, but they are little more then a variety on the same theme.  Every mountain has a few large sized floating coins which you must try and find and then reach. You will need to collect a total of 48 of these and it gets more difficult over time and will require bigger jumps and more speed to reach.  The latter requires additional skills which you earn by completing the prior coin runs like a focus power allowing you to break through icewalls, do higher jumps and so forth.  So the basic premise of the game is boarding, jumping, collecting coins, board harder faster and collect more coins.

Getting around the mountain is easy, you can pull up the map at any time and get dropped from a helicopter at various parts of the mountain.  If you want to make it a bit more real you can also take up the ski lift and drop where you want but you will probably find yourself doing this once, well maybe twice if you are getting yourself a coffee.
Apart from that the game offers a wide variety of character customisations, there is a massive wardrobe you can purchase from to dress up your character from head to toe, in addition to this you can also purchase different types of boards as you earn money.  Different boards are better for different types of activities but they take a fair bit of cash to purchase so getting your hands on them will take some time.  Cash is earned by completing a variety of challenges around the mountain of which some are more fun then others.

The same challenges can also be played through the multiplayer part of the game, they offer a bit of fun with up to 8 friends and this is where you actually get some value out of your knowledge of the trick system.  The challenges vary from being the fastest, scoring the highest score on your tricks, grinding the most rails etc.  It’s mainly here where you can get some bragging rights out of your outfits and costly boards but the boards really have little impact on your winning chances which is a good thing, the best board doesn’t necessarily win.  There certainly is no shortage of online players but lag is a bit of an issue when you see the other boarders pop back and forth around you on the way down.  In addition to this you can also record your activities and edit things with a built in video editor, it does the job but as all editors it’s something that will come into play only if you are real passionate about these types of things.
Undeniable SWSB looks excellent, it's powered by the Assasin's Creed engine and its visuals do a fantastic job
But is it fun?  This is a difficult question to answer as it really comes down to how much you enjoy the above.  I can’t deny having a good time with it and I certainly find myself going back to the game.  But if you are looking for a deep experience here SWSB comes up short.  The game is hardly a snowboarding simulation and as an arcade game it’s quite simple and the the coin challenges end up being frustrating as they become quite sensitive and require exact precision in order to get to them at the later stages of the game.

But if the sensation of snowboarding, massive mountains, total freedom to explore and impressive visuals sounds appealing then SWSB may provide you with a good amount of entertainment.

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Member reviews

Wii version - Mecha-Wombat |
| 13 February 2009

The Wii version used the Wiifit balance board so it may appeal to the casual gamers Personally its good to see use of different ways to control but I am yet to play it on the Wii(damn little bro wont lend it to me ) Might wait to try before I buy

Xbox360 - Wolf_Web |
| 28 February 2009

I found the animation of the riders lacking. They stand very stiffly on the board, not changing angle or aspect as they flip impossibly all over the place. Fun to defy gravity for a while but a simulation would be more fun in the long run. Its more of an arcade bash.

800 x 600 res?? - wHiTeRaSTa |
| 9 March 2009

Not happy with this game at all. Will not load unless i put the resolution down to 800 x 600 which is terrible. My system can handle most games all maxed out! Have tried and tried to contact Ubisoft support regarding this but keep getting directed around in circles. I guess they've made some money on the game and they have now washed their hands of it. DO NOT BUY THIS GAME. Thanks.

- wHiTeRaSTa |
| 12 March 2009

I must also mention, seeing i didn't elaborate, that my copy of the game is the PC version. Purchased through Steam. Thanks.

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