This is just my attempt at a brief opinion of Shaun White’s Snowboarding for the Nintendo Wii. It may be a little late coming, but I recently played through the whole thing and feel it necessary to warn some of you about the shallow nature of this title (at least for the Wii, I hear great things about the other consoles versions.)
First, the good:
The controls are awesome, I have not gotten to try it with the balance board (which I hear is awesome), but even without having the balance board the controls are response… easy to learn… and just plain perfect for a snowboarding title. I can’t imagine what type of snowboarding controls we’ll see in games with the Wii Motion Plus providing a true 1:1 experience. The graphics, while cartoony and stylized, are really fun and add to the experience. Little details like snow piled on your character after a big tumble are not forgotten, and the clever addition of camera affects (like briefly cutting out on the landing of big jumps) for the camera man following your character, really make this fun to watch as well as play.
Now the bad:
There are some things that are absent from this game that should, by now, be the norm for many games of this style… not just snowboarding games. 1) You can’t make your own character or even unlock a new wardrobe. 2) this is tied to the first, but still a separate complaint. You can’t unlock new boards with new characteristics. What if I want to use an alpine skill based rider with a free-style board? not an option, you have 9 riders to choose from and no customizing of them in any way. 3) There are basically 2 types of courses that you will play in the game, Trick courses where you need to reach a certain amount of points and Race courses where you need to get to the bottom within a certain time limit. I found, with friends who were just learning the game, that the racing courses were the most fun and universally fair… providing a good learning atmosphere to get cozy with the control scheme… the complaint? there are only 3 racing courses, with the rest being trick based courses. 4) Back when the Wii first came out there was a launch title called “Excite Truck” and it allowed you to put your own MP3’s on an SD card to create your own soundtrack. While Shaun White’s Snowboarding on the Wii allows you skip music tracks in the game, it gives no option to include your own music off of an SD card. This seems like such a simplistic and easy addition to a game that I can’t grasp why it isn’t the norm… especially when they obviously took the time to pick a balanced soundtrack and even provided the ability to skip whatever song is currently playing by pressing the (1) button. 5) last but not least, there is no leader board. You can’t go back and forth with friends beating high scores over multiple profiles because the game doesn’t record your previous high scores on an easy to view leader-board for each course.
This is a really fun game, but it has a short lifespan because there is no areas for you to customize and doesn’t even record times and point totals on any sort of chart per level. Ubisoft obviously spent a lot of time on this game but they missed a lot of details… it’s a fun game, but I find myself regretting having bought it as I could have gotten just as much out of it by renting it. End verdict: I give it a 6 out of 10 because of it’s incredible lack of re-playability. It does a great job at making you look forward to the next installment or snowboarding game, hoping that they add the features that are oddly absent from this one… such as character creation, unlockable jackets/pants/goggles/boots/etc, and leader-boards…. and maybe as a nice little bonus feature, the ability to listen to your own music on the SD card.
Hope that helps anyone requesting this game as a gift or considering buying it for themselves.