Do you know the difference between a hucker and a styler? Can you identify exactly what a switch FS boardslide looks like?
If you answered yes to either of these questions, you'll probably love the authenticity of Stoked. If not, you'll find it a frustrating, confusing mess.
This game presumes that you know an awful lot about snowboarding. Previous game experience won't save you - we completed Amped 3 yet still had to hit Google to find out what Stoked expected us to do in the tutorial, thanks to the heavy and unnecessary amount of jargon.
It follows that the learning curve is remarkably steep. Most snowboarding titles adopt a one-button control for turning switch (riding backwards) or changing stance during a rail slide. There's no such shorthand in Stoked. You have to ollie or butter into them, and then try to do the complicated trick the game is telling you to do.
Of all the techniques, rail-slide variants seem particularly inconsistent. Even when you know exactly where to land, it's hard not to get sucked into a boardslide or 50:50. Which is bad, if you're new to this.
Trick or treat
The payoff is that it's very satisfying when you finally pull off a major trick. Every landing is awarded a multiplier bonus, although a sketchy landing really decimates your score.
The events don't encourage much freedom or creativity. There are only three types: pull off a set move, beat a high score or match a pro-boarder trick-for-trick. Beating the pros is very difficult, throwing trick requirements at you so quickly that it's tough to string them together.
It's not all bad though. The five mountains are huge and packed with about 40 challenges apiece. That's a lot to get through, and the sense of self-expression comes across more clearly in free-ride mode, where your only goal is to rack up a decent score.
A full day-to-night cycle and dynamic weather makes the game feel slightly different each time, and we also love the way you can earn a pilot's license and fly a helicopter around the epic vistas. It's like something out of the movie Cliffhanger.
Fun at times, then, but there's also a lot of frustration. The intense learning curve is compounded by the awkward presentation, particularly in the moves list and tutorials. While it's hard to deny the game's depth and longevity, only the most patient and cool-headed players will ever see it through.
Not bad if you can bring the skills
- Realistic tricks and a great challenge
- Picturesque mountains
- You get to pilot a helicopter
- Poor presentation and difficulty curve
- Only three offline competition types