Over Turkey Vacation I reviewed Shaun White Snowboarding: Road Trip for UGO.com. The review focuses on the controls, specifically the immersion provided by the Balance Board, but here’s the gist.
There’s been lots of talk about reviews and innovation and navel gazing and so on this week thanks to two titles that set out to add politics (Far Cry 2) and art (Mirror’s Edge) to videogames. They’re both solid games with grand aspirations, and both started an epic conversation. Shaun White Snowboarding: Road Trip has no such goals, but does that make it less of a game? Instead of a topical locale or a genre bending design, Road Trip offers one of the most enjoyable gaming session’s available this season thanks to refined controls, a clear and entertaining narrative and addictive pick up and play multiplayer. It’s a perfect piece of winter fluff.
I shouldn’t be surprised, as Ubisoft Montreal developed it—the same folks behind this week’s major release, the Prince of Persia reboot. Both games feature beautiful, colorful artwork and striking architecture. Neither are afraid to show their cards inspiration wise, rather they openly borrow piecemeal from previous games , graft the beast together, and polish away the edges. Rather than float away from their original goal to craft a well-made game in an effort to over innovate, these two games nail themselves down with what makes their genres enjoyable–the basic.
Many blogs have discussed the importance of praising innovation, though what about casual games that perfect an an older genre? Old hats need love too, right?
No doubt Road Trip will sell like Pumpkin Spice Lattes this holiday, but will hardcore gamers eager to rotate between the major mature blockbuster titles give this more casual E-rated release a chance or will Shaun White be left out in the snow. The good news: other reviewers seem to agree that Road Trip’s pretty swell.