As a somewhat minimal add-on to the core SSX experience the Mount Eddie DLC succeeds in giving some exciting content to gamers as well as providing a much desired return to the classic SSX formula. Mount Eddie may not be bursting at the seams with content as it only has a couple of events, but at the end of the day it’s still an amazing addition to SSX since it captures the same fun energy that the series had back in the PS2 era.
+ The price point is perfect for what’s offered.
+ Combining the tone of the new SSX with the classic era doesn’t feel too odd as both are evenly represented.
+ Mount Eddie itself has a balanced design which results in some amazing trick opportunities.
- Not having a Deadly Descent does feel a bit odd and like a missed opportunity.
- Half pipes are slightly under-utilized which is a shame.
Taking an already fun game and making it more fun is sometimes a tough thing to do, especially when it comes in the form of DLC. We’ve seen dozens of games go the DLC route this generation with add-on content that in some cases has been terrible in what it provided to the player. There’s honestly nothing worse than paying an additional $5 or $10 for some add-on content after you spend $60 on a game only to think about how you would’ve been better off buying a sub from Subway with that money. Some games have done DLC the right way such as Red Dead Redemption’s Undead Nightmare pack, but with the new Mount Eddie DLC for SSX I think gamers will experience a big bundle of win that could ultimately tack on even more hours to the core SSX experience.
I won’t go into my faux salesman mode as most of you who follow SSX should know the basics of what the Mount Eddie pack offers. In an attempt to pull at that the nostalgia strings gamers have for the old SSX games, the dev team at EA Canada has put together a new mountain that forgoes complete reality in favor of mimicking the old-school SSX vibe with fireworks going off and massive jumps at nearly every turn. In addition to Mount Eddie, EA also decided to go completely old-school by releasing classic character skins which again are trying to capture the feeling we had upon first popping SSX into our PS2 and being immediately mesmerized.
Despite how cool Mount Eddie sounds on paper, there were two distinct ways the DLC could’ve gone: it may have been fun to play for five minutes in a similar way to listening to a classic pop song (it’s fun at first but then grows repetitive) or it could’ve been flat out fun that perfectly captures the essence of the old SSX games. Thankfully it’s the latter as the SSX Mount Eddie DLC is about as fun as a DLC pack could be without feeling too much like a cheesy ode to something that is nearly ancient.
Compared to the rest of the game, Mount Eddie itself may sound a bit limiting. Far from being the biggest environment in the game, there isn’t a Deadly Descent on the mountain as it instead has a slew of various race and trick events. Basically it keeps everything simple yet in the process delivers a rather thrilling experience which I think the core SSX community will eat up and ask for more.
The element that Mount Eddie succeeds the most in is that it manages to capture the old SSX feel without going overboard. At this point the old SSX games may seem like they were released an eternity ago for those who played them or even worse the roots of the franchise are entirely unknown to those in the tween demographic who were just wee babies when the first SSX came out. But for those who may have hazy memories it would be an understatement to say that the design approach of the original SSX games was far from being subtle.
Probably the most iconic thing about the old SSX franchise was that the general design of the series was filled with an epic feeling that seemed as if a bunch of designers were on a sugar rush and designed a series of courses that were previously unimaginable. In the new SSX game the design of Mount Eddie definitely skews towards the old school vibe with corkscrew ramps and rather elaborate grind rail sections, but it never once felt too obnoxious or forced like it was a 2nd tier brand trying to match the essence of something that’s widely loved like good old fashioned Coca-Cola.
Tonally the old SSX games were certainly bombastic but the design of Mount Eddie finds the happy medium between being stylistically fantastical yet realistic enough that it doesn’t feel like an odd addition to the new SSX formula. The SSX dev team may not have totally committed to going old-school with Mount Eddie, but the addition of things like fireworks do add a lot to the mood. In addition to having a near constant lightshow, seeing a massive half pipe or corkscrew ramp down ahead did get me excited as I began to think of what tricks to pull out my repertoire – just like I did upon playing SSX 3 back in the day. In a few instances the style of Mount Eddie may be construed as sterile since it doesn’t feature a complete list of oddities like a snowy city or enough colors to make someone have a seizure, but it does an exceptional job at melding both styles in a cohesive experience.
Without deviating too far from what was established in the rest of the game, the design of Mount Eddie basically gives old SSX fans the best of both worlds as they have the new SSX tricks combined with a classic sense of track design. Going into Mount Eddie I was slightly worried as to whether the design of the mountain and trick sections would feel cohesive compared to the rest of the game, but it’s honestly a complete gem in what it offers and the general pace of the mountain as far as ramps and some of the slower sections are concerned. Some sections of Mount Eddie definitely favor a more focused style of riding in a few sections, such as the heavily tree lined area towards the bottom, but other than that it’s basically a non-stop ride with a plethora of massive jumps and opportunities to score huge tricks.
Oddly enough the fluidity of Mount Eddie makes it one of the best additions in the game. There may not be a lot of sections that require complete precision or that take advantage of new SSX goodies such as the ice axes or the wingsuit, but what Mount Eddie does is that it made me be even smarter as to what sort of line I picked and what tricks I busted out. With either two or three snow ramps being at nearly every turn or drop in the course, Mount Eddie gave me tons of big air but what I used that for and how I built my combos together, in the hopes of smashing a 30 million+ high score for 3rd place, is where the fun truly originates from.
Design wise Mount Eddie is an absolute dream for those who like to pull off insane combos but in some areas the mountain does fall flat. Deep inside my SSX gamer heart I still wish for tracks that provide a sea of orgasmic colors and ramps that looked like they were ripped out the mind of a Winter X-Games fanatic’s dream, but I won’t get all negative on Mount Eddie for not having that. If anything, the true disappointment in the course came from the half pipe sections which almost broke my heart in how under-utilized they are. Now I wasn’t bummed out that the half pipes didn’t have three layers to them ala SSX 3, but instead it was a bummer that I couldn’t completely tear things up on the half pipe as it felt like my rider was being forced down the mountain.
Upon entering a half pipe I could definitely pull off a few tricks, but unlike the half pipes in SSX 3 I couldn’t do a brief two minute routine if I wanted to. In some ways not being able to dominate on the half pipe is understandable as it could’ve made the game unbalanced or at least been used as a massive score booster, but at the same time what would be the purpose of including such an element if it can’t be used properly? There are definitely plenty of cool trick opportunities in Mount Eddie, even a few in some unconventional areas, but my snowboarder soul was slightly crushed at the half pipe situation.
Outside of the character skins, which are included in the Mount Eddie DLC bundle, the overall amount of content in the pack is a bit light at least compared to the god tier level of DLC expansions in the form of Undead Nightmare and Burnout Paradise’s legendary Big Surf Island. It did take me a while to complete some of Mount Eddie’s events in a respectable manner with a Silver or Gold, but I did begin to wish that a new Deadly Descent was offered, perhaps one with a more arcade like spin, or that another substantial feature was offered. Even with the lack of major time consuming content the arrival of Mount Eddie is one that in the end is worthy of picking up as it returns to the original SSX spirit and once again provides complete snowboarding fun to gamers.