Sled Storm
Game Info
Platform(s)
Playstation 2
Publisher
Electronic Arts
Developer
EA Sports
Genre
Extreme Sports
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Comic Mischief, Mild Violence
 
Grade
The Good

• Nice looking tracks
• Great audio/video presentation
• Lots of things to unlock

The Bad

• Too much like SSX
• Poor collision detection
• Wreck recovery takes too long

 
Grade
C+

It's not really surprising when a company finds a formula that's successful that they want to repackage it as many times as they can in various formats to get the most return out of their investment. This seems to be the case with the Playstation 2 version of Sled Storm. At first glance at the tracks and menus, one might mistake the game for another Big EA title by the name of SSX Tricky. And, you wouldn't be too far from the truth.

Using a few characters from SSX Tricky roster (Zoe, Psymon) and adding a few new ones to the mix, Sled Storm is a pure arcade racer where you rider "extreme" snowmobiles through winding and treacherous tracks. Win or place in the championship mode to unlock new tracks and snowmobiles. Winning races is often a balance of smart riding and performing a variety of tracks to gain boost. Also, there are items along the race track that the rider can smash for more boost points. Each track has certain goals for trick/boost points that once acheived will unlock new racers. The action is fast and furious when you get going. So much so that the player often feels a little bit out of control during the race. When you're taking corners in the middle of the pack, snow flies up everywhere and everything seems to be going on at once.

Visually, Sled Storm is put together well. The tracks are designed and constructed to look very pretty. Tons of visual effects are layered to add a nice sparkle to the game. The tracks themselves are large with lots of secret paths and multiple ways to get from the beginning to the end. Fans of the SSX series will instantly recognize the familiar design of the tracks, including the markers painted on jumps and turns. In fact, other than a few rough edges here and there, the game delivers visually. If you liked the look of SSX, you'll feel right at home here.

As in the graphics department, the audio part is well done. Both the music and voice-overs are done well and help to give the game a personality. Unfortunately, the personality is lifted directly from SSX Tricky with one exception. The racers don't actually shoot back verbal jabs and commentary at each other, so when you race, you'll feel like everyone else has been given a gag order. And, if you don't like Matthew Lillard (Scream, Thirteen Ghosts), you'll probably find his additional commentary annoying.

Where the game hits a snag is the lackluster collision detection, which will lead to numerous wrecks in a course. In fact, you'll find yourself wrecking often and for the most unconsistent reasons. You never seem to deflect off of anything and if you even hit certain snowbanks, you'll find yourself off of your sled. Even worse is the fact that the wreck recovery and restarting animation (where the racer will restart his/her sled before getting back into the race) can often leave you in last place no matter where you were when you crashed.

To be honest, the lack of originality in design and layout really takes away from the game. You'll feel like you just bought another sequel in the SSX series, but one that's not as structurally polished. Unless you're very patient, the constant wrecking will quickly remove the fun factor from this game. I would suggest renting this game before paying full price for it.

- - Kinderfeld

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