I know of two people called Shaun White. One is the ginger snowboarder, the other is a PR Manager at Electronic Arts. I’ve never asked him if he actually snowboards but I bet he’s not as good as the ginger one. In this first next-gen Shaun White game, you play an unknown rising star, and Shaun wants you to collect a number of very large coins across four mountain tops in Alaska, Park City, Japan and Europe. Not quite sure why, but he does.
You’re then plonked on one of the mountains and you’re pretty much free to roam where you want, picking up the coins that appear on your radar and finding challenges to earn you money and points. These challenges can range from straight races with other borders where you can throw snowballs at them to knock them off their boards, grinding challenges where you must jump on every tree and rail you see and collecting challenges where you must collect rotating guitars as you whizz down the slopes. There aren’t really any set courses to go down, everything is free form so you’re able to go where you want to find the best air and even hidden locations. It’s even possible to fall down cliffs and cracks in the ice if you’re not too careful.
It all looks suitably snowy and the soundtrack’s not half bad either, but my problem with the game is it’s not quite sure what it wants to be. It aims to be realistic, but later in the game Shaun gives you Focus powers which let you do silly stunts. At the beginning, it’s also painful to do any kind of tricks with the board you’re given. You seem to slow down way too quickly on straights and it’s tricky to control your boarder when it comes to aiming where you want to go. Tricks are pretty simple though, with the left stick used to rotate your boarder mid-air and the right stick being used for grabs.
Collecting those coins to get through the game may also annoy some people as it slows down the pace. To get some of them you have to work to take the best route and it’s annoying when you see one that you can’t get to without having to go back down the mountain and get a ski lift or helicopter back to the summit.
If you’re really into snowboarding and you’re itching for a next-gen kick, then this is it. If you’re more casual and you just want some action on a board, either check out our Skate It review or wait for a slightly less chilly experience with Skate 2. Shaun White Snowboarding gets 6 out of 10.
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