October 6, 2007 // 2:16 pm
- Created by Yuke's Media Creations, the development house behind the wildly popular and successful SmackDown vs. RAW franchise, Go! Sports Ski is an abomination of a game. Its controls are terrible, the feature set is extremely bare-bones (even for a downloadable title) and some of the options and perks are head-scratchingly stupid.
Let's begin with the control issues. Aside from menu navigation, the game uses the Sixaxis motion controls exclusively. Movement, jumping, tricks and everything else are performed by tilting the controller, and there's no way to change this. While turning works decently, to an extent at least (it can be hard to make extreme cuts in the snow), things like tricks and even just using your poles to push yourself can be frustrating, unresponsive and aggravating.
To push with your poles, you need to twist the controller left and right. This sounds simple enough, but the game will oftentimes think that you're trying to jump. And even when it does work, your dude will usually continue to push after you wish to stop, and you can't turn while pushing, so you're left out of control.
Speaking of control, there are issues with the gear that you're allowed to pick. You have three options for skis - one that turns well but is slow, one that's fast but turns like a boat, and one that's in the middle. This is a classic setup going back to the days of Ice Hockey on the NES, but it doesn't work here simply because the slow skis are too slow to be competitive and the fast skis turn so poorly that you're basically in control of a runaway train.
Tricks are done by twisting, turning and rotating the controller. Sometimes. You're allowed to do tricks off some jumps, but sometimes a giant X will appear on-screen and you won't be able to perform tricks, like if you simply ride off a giant jump rather than actually jumping. Why would this prevent you from performing a trick? To make matters worse, it can be hard to stop performing a trick, which means your dude will continue to flip around and around even though you're holding the controller perfectly straight and still, causing you to crash. Good times. And by good we mean extremely annoying.
Features-wise, you'll find a whopping two courses to race on. You can change the weather to be snowy, but all that does is put a giant wall of fog in front of you to make it harder to see. Yeah, that's really fun. The two courses aren't terrible, but navigating them can be an issue at times due to the game's poor physics model.
When going down the side of a cliff you should travel at extremely high speeds, even if said cliff is composed of rock. In Go! Sports Ski, rocks make you slow down quite a bit, even if you're traveling straight down, forcing you to sit there and wait for your dude to crawl down the side of a mountain. The same thing happens if you're going too fast and wind up skiing up the side of a hill, forcing your dude to ski sideways and very slowly down the side of the slope.
There are some very questionable elements to the online play. You can play Slalom or Time Trial "online", but all that means is that your score is uploaded at the end. Why this needs to be separate from the Practice mode is beyond(!) us. Battle Mode lets you race against up to three other skiers, and works as you'd expect. One of the questionable elements has to do with the Emblems system in the game. These work like Achievements on the Xbox 360, where competing certain conditions will net you one of 27 awards.
That's fine, except that the requirements are incredibly dumb. To earn one of them, you have to win 50 online matches in a row. Not 50 total, but in a row. Worse, there's a badge that you can earn if all four players (and no less) in the room have the 50 wins in a row Emblem, and then you win a randomly started competition. Good times.