SSX originally appeared as a PS2 launch title. Some viewed it as the must have PS2 launch title. After this success, the series continued with SSX Tricky, SSX 3, SSX on Tour, and SSX Blur. Fans of the series (myself included) all point to SSX 3 as the best in the series.
SSX 3 is a visual masterpiece. The night and day affects are done beautifully. The environments, from mountain hillside to metropolis, are all beautifully rendered and extremely detailed. Nice touches like speed blurring and snow flakes hitting the screen are also masterfully done.
The soundtrack of SSX 3 is varied and fresh. It contains an extensive and varied selection of songs that fit well with the extreme sport genre. Extra songs are also available through the unlockables system. The game also allows you to fine tune the song selection as well as being able to toggle the DJ on or off as well. If you'd rather have a purer snowboarding experience, the mountain ambiance option allows you to board with nothing but the pure mountain sounds to guide you.
Gameplay is surprisingly deep. The game features eight playable characters. All characters start with low stats, and with progression you can purchase stat upgrades, new outfits and boards, special effects, and songs. The game also features a three peak system, with each new peak increasing the games difficulty. Once you have completed enough key objectives on a peak, the next peak will become available for you, ensuring that you don't get to far ahead of your abilities.
Aside from competing in the events, there is also a free ride feature as well. Now you can ride through the entire mountain with no set objectives. This allows you to explore new routes, collect some extra cash, or to just enjoy the scenery. This was a new feature for the SSX series at the time, and the best innovation the series has ever seen.
Replay is a huge part of this game. While you can blast through the events on each peak, there are also EA Big challenges scattered throughout the 3 peaks to complete, as well as hundreds of collectibles to grab as well. Combine that with the ability to compete as and max out eight different characters, and you can easily log 50 to 75 hours with this game, more if you take your time and enjoy the scenery and explore a bit.
I picked this game up shortly after it was released, and to this day I still have a blast playing it. Whether you are a hardcore fan or not, this game can be enjoyed by all gamers. For those looking for a simple pickup and play title, the fast loading and directing jumping to events will be right up your alley. For players looking for a fuller experience, the great replayability, free roaming, and hundreds of tricks and shortcuts to master will keep you busy for quite a while. This is one of my top games of all time, and is definitely one you should check out, especially at the bargain price it can typically be purchased for.