Why do people snowboard? I know that I snowboard for the exhilarating rush of gliding down a mountain while breathing in the crisp air on a bright morning. Stoked strives to capture that sensation. It attempts to recreate the feel of just you and the mountain.
As the game starts you create your own player; selecting out a few boards, boots, pants, shirts and hats. At the beginning you don’t have too many options but it still makes your rider your own. You’ll go through a few lessons, on the mountain, that teach you how to control your boarder and learn the basics. After that, the combination of grabs and twists are endless. By simply moving the right stick along with the triggers, the moves can become easily learned. After that you’re off to the slopes. You can pick which mountain you want to ride (there are 5 based on real locations) and which contest you would like to enter, if any at the present moment.
During the beginning of your boarding career you must earn fame points in order to become somebody in the boarding world. However, you need 66 fame points to get your professional license and that can take a very, very…VERY long time. On each of the mountains are 10 events and in between those events is basically snow with little to jump off or grind. The initial stage literally drags on for hours.
If you are brave enough to get through the amateur stage then you will be surprised. As soon as you get your pro license, sponsors and media are all at your disposal. Sponsors plead for you to wear their gear and media just want to be around to get your picture in a magazine. Once you become famous and complete challenges, new ones will open and more gear will be thrown your way (you’ll notice that pictures and boards are the highest prize to receive in the game)
The graphics are good with the snow and boarder models looking decently realistic. The weather will change from time to time, which looks good, and it actually has an effect on your boarder’s airtime and flight pattern. As you start to play, you’ll find a few times where you did everything right to land a trick and for some reason you just get a face full of snow and people laughing at you. The physics can be unpredictable but stay the same for the most part.
In multiplayer mode, not too much creativity is found. “Trick” is to snowboarders what “HORSE” is to basketball players, where the first player lands a trick that the second player must also land. However, “The Ground is Lava’ multiplayer challenge was surprisingly fun. The objective is to keep your board off the ground for as long as possible to keep your board from lighting on fire. This means finding some huge air or a long grinding pole to stick. Nothing to rave about, but a fun twist none the less.
Stoked doesn’t have all the pizzazz of other snowboarding games but it does a pretty decent job of recreating the mountain feel. You won’t find any randomly placed cars or tables on these slopes, just you and the mountain. Unfortunately the beginning of the game drags on but brave past that and you will find enjoyment. Not what I would call a “must own” game but definitely one worth playing for those boarders out there looking to get a real feel for the mountain.