Author Topic: 1080° Avalanche Review  (Read 6648 times)

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Offline LassePalle

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1080° Avalanche Review
« on: December 16, 2003, 11:09:12 AM »
1080° Avalanche and SSX 3 are in direct competition with each other this holiday season. Which one should you place your bet on? Get the first part of the answer here.

Review by Lasse Pallesen

Initial impressions are quite positive. The intro-sequence looks stunning and captures the essence of what 1080° Avalanche is all about: an intense, action-packed racing experience over cottage rooftops, into crystal-blue caves and underground tunnels, under collapsing bridges and falling rocks and even through a small restaurant. High speeds and insane tricks are the order of the day, and the action is beautifully complemented by a song from Cauterize, which constitutes just one out of 38 great tracks in the game. The sequence ends with a tantalising glimpse of the most pleasing aspect of the entire game: the avalanches.

Already at this point, you get the impression that NST has not only taken the series to new heights but also in another direction. The hardcore realism that characterised the N64 installment has been dumbed down to provide a far more arcade-like feel. Landing doesn’t require the same pin-point accuracy, and steering is generally made easier. The sheer amount of moving obstacles reflects this change as well. Oncoming cars, amateur skiers, and wild animals are just some of the obstacles that require lightning quick reactions to get past.        

The game structure feels very familiar, though.  The main mode is Match Race, which is divided into four sets of levels that increase in difficulty. You compete against a CPU-controlled boarder, and whoever gets to the finishing line first is declared the winner. It’s basic racing philosphy, really, spiced up with a rewarding trick system. Performing tricks won’t do any good in terms of speed boosts, but will fill up your so-called power meter. When it’s full, your boarder will start to flash, meaning that you can now knock over your opponent simply by ramming in to him. Furthermore, if you’re stumbling, your boarder will perform a miraculous and exaggerated move and (somehow) end up on his feet without losing any speed. The idea of rewarding players who take the risk of making multiple tricks during the race is nicely implemented and adds further depth to the gameplay.        

The way the tricks are carried out is flawed, though. Racking up lots points can be achieved by means of a few button-mashing techniques. Hold the R button and rotate the control stick to spin while hammering away at the grab buttons is the best solution. In this way, you can quickly master the Half-Pipe and Big Air modes without really being challenged. Timing your jump properly and ending your trick maneuvres in time to ensure a safe landing still require some practise, though.

The last level of every match race is a race against time – without a competitor. You are alone. Suddenly, the music fades away, and a cut-scene reveals a gigantic avalanche. More and more snow builds up around you, obscuring your view dramatically, while limiting controls. At the same time, trees break in half and fall over, houses collapse, and windows shatter, while boulders are crashing down. It’s intense, and everything looks convincing thanks, in large part, to a brilliant physics engine.

These avalanche levels provide tons of challenge, since just one mistake is often enough to quench all hope of completion. Knowing the level layout becomes an essential tool in this regard. All levels have multiple routes to the finishing line, some of which act as significant shortcuts. Furthermore, in order to avoid some of the aforementioned obstacles, you have to learn precisely when these things appear as well as their movement patterns. Sadly, these feel quite scripted. For example, deer will always run towards you at a specific, pre-determined point in a level. If the events occured in a more random fashion, they would provide more variation and, ultimately, a longer-lasting game.

And that is exactly what the game needs: a boost in lastability. All levels can be unlocked within a couple of hours. There are additional costumes and boards to be won, but these offer little incentive to keep playing (although one of the secret boards is shaped like an NES controller and even comes equipped with old NES sound effects when it touches the ground).

It’s still an enjoyable ride while it lasts, though, and fans of the original don’t have to think twice about investing in Avalanche, even though NST has taken a more arcade-like approach. Likewise, if you liked Wave Race: Blue Storm, another NST-developed game with a similar game structure and challenge level, you really can’t go wrong with this one. It’s fast and furious, action-packed and intense, and has few significant flaws.    

Pros:

  • Wonderful soundtrack, consisting of 38 songs
  • Avalanches look fantastic and intensify the gameplay experience.
  • Interesting level design with multiple routes and plenty of obstacles
  • LAN implementation


Cons:

  • Limited replay value
  • Shallow trick system
  • Level events feel scripted.


Graphics: 8.0
The texture resolution could be higher, especially on the characters, but the snow effects are lovely. The animations are fluently linked, though not always completely realistic, and the framerate remains consistently high but suffers a little in 4-player mode. Avalanches look truly extraordinary.

Sound: 9.5
38 superb tracks and powerful sound effects supported by Dolby Pro Logic II make for a splendid audio presentation.  

Controls:  8.0
Maneuvering your character is a breeze, even though the controls make use of all the buttons on the controller.  Doing multiple tricks requires too much senseless button-mashing.

Gameplay: 8.5
The sense of speed is exhilarating, and the levels - filled with multiple routes and interactive scenery - are impressively designed. And did I mention the avalanches...?  

Lastability: 6.5
Don’t expect the game to keep you occupied well into the new year. The main one-player mode, while highly challenging, can be finished fairly quickly, but unlockables help a little.

Final Score (Not an average): 8.0
1080° Avalanche is technically sound and built on a solid gameplay engine that provides a fast and frantic experience. It’s an adrenaline rush that fans of racing games should not miss out on.
 

Offline Bill Aurion

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RE: 1080° Avalanche Review
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2003, 12:09:13 PM »
I disagree with the lastability...I've played each track at least 50 times and I still love playing through them...Maybe it's just me...

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Offline Aretak

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RE: 1080° Avalanche Review
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2003, 12:44:00 PM »
Personally I thought it was a great game, but there just wasn't enough of it. Not enough modes, not enough courses, not enough boarders and not enough... er, something else. For a rental though, it'd be a brilliant choice.
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Offline mjbd

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RE:1080° Avalanche Review
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2003, 02:24:41 PM »
Nice review.  I am even more excited about getting this game.  I was almost gonna pass up on 1080 because of IGN's review, but after talking with people in the forum and reading this review; my excitement for the game is higher than ever.  Unfortuantely, I asked for it as a christmas present, so I have to wait and see if its under the tree on christmas.  
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Offline Bill Aurion

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RE:1080° Avalanche Review
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2003, 05:13:42 PM »
Quote

Originally posted by: Aretak
not enough boarders...
10 boarders isn't enough? -____-''

My only con is the fact that there are only 6 playable courses in multiplayer...A very, VERY awesome game...
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Offline Morgon

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RE: 1080° Avalanche Review
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2003, 07:27:27 PM »
Could lastability be kicked up a notch due to the Warp Pipe project, or do reviews stick to 'out of the box' experiences? I liked the N64 version and would have wanted to get Avalanche, but I don't need to spend $50 on a game with a 6.5 in Lastability.. I've got enough dusty game covers.

Offline NarmaK

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RE:1080° Avalanche Review
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2003, 07:34:52 PM »
Is it just me or are all PGC reviews useless?

Should I get SSX 3 or 1080? I'm just kidding, I know that SSX3 is better, I checked a working site. But heres the thing, your reviews never match your scores. You explain the crap about a game but then go on to rate it an 8.0.  Whats the deal?

And since when is sound as important as gameplay or even graphics? I know PGC isnt the only site to use such an unbalanced scoring system, but come on. What next? Movies rated on a combination of acting, visual effects, story, and popcorn flavor?
Why dont you start rating games based on over all value? That seems rather logical to me. A $50 game rated a "$20", thats something I would immediately know to stay away from. A $40 game rated an "$85", I'd buy that (provided I trust the reviewers opinion). See, clear as hell. No more of that freaking 8.0 crap, WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT MEAN!?? Its not figure skating!



Eh yup, zippity dee.

So when the hell will the rest of the review be posted?  

Offline Bloodworth

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RE: 1080° Avalanche Review
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2003, 08:10:23 PM »
Apparently you missed this part: "Final Score (Not an average)"  The graphics and sound have separate ratings, and don't necessarily have anything to do with the final score.
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Offline NarmaK

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RE:1080° Avalanche Review
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2003, 08:14:09 PM »
So then where did the 8.0 come from?
That realy doesnt seem like an 8.0 review. Seems more like a 7, maybe 6.5.

Edit: The average is 8.1, sooo, yeah, are you sure the reviewer didnt base the final score on an average of those 5 things?

Offline Bloodworth

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RE: 1080° Avalanche Review
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2003, 08:20:24 PM »
I don't see why not.  He seems to think that it's a great game that would be worth owning for a lot of people, but it's on the short side.  Don't place too much stock in scores.  There's not some scientific method to it.  You weigh your opinions and criticisms and give what you think is right. We write the body of the review for you to see what the game is like and try to determine whether you would like it or not.  So in a sense, what I gather is that from your impression of Lasse's review, you wouldn't rate it as high. That's fine.  
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Offline NarmaK

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RE:1080° Avalanche Review
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2003, 08:45:54 PM »
Actualy I have never played 1080 avalanche, it just seems odd to me that all pgc ratings are slightly higher than most other game sites (see: http://www.planetgamecube.com/games.cfm?action=profile&id=283 ).

Also I saw no comparison to the games competitor SSX3, the only comparisons were between this game and its predecessor. I assume there is a second page of this review missing but still, I would like to know any major differences between the two competing games. I have gathered from other reviews that 1080 avalanche is more realistic, slower in action, and less advanced in its trick system than ssx3, but I was looking forward to another reviewers opinion on the differences. Plus this review gives points to 1080:Avalanche for its sound and 38 tracks but gives no mention of SSX3s advanced music effects and its liscenced tracks that I have heard about.

And umm, has the reviewer even played SSX3 btw? I assumed he had by the main pages description of the review.

Offline Bloodworth

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RE: 1080° Avalanche Review
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2003, 08:55:06 PM »
Yeah, since you've started this conversation, I've noted the problem.  He probably shouldn't have made reference to the other review.  He's reviewing both games, but he got 1080 first.   The SSX review is forthcoming.  There's nothing missing from this one.
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Offline WesDawg

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RE:1080° Avalanche Review
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2003, 07:08:40 AM »
Quote

1080° Avalanche and SSX 3 are in direct competition with each other this holiday season. Which one should you place your bet on? Get the first part of the answer here.


See that "Get the first part of the answer here part" thats your first clue that theres more to the article coming, but seriously, the review is of 1080, not SSX. If you want to compare the two, go to message board out there. Theres bound to be at least one, if not twenty different threads of people doing exactly that. I think PGC's reviews are fine for the most part. You just have to actually read them instead of just looking at the numbers. Same with IGN or GameSpot, or anybody. The numbers have become so inflated they don't mean much anymore, but if you look over at GameRankings, PGC is within one percent of the average rating for games overall. So I guess they're that relatively inflated really. You price/rating system sounds neat though. I'm in favor of proposing a switch.

Offline osker

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RE:1080° Avalanche Review
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2003, 10:09:21 AM »
Quote

Actualy I have never played 1080 avalanche, it just seems odd to me that all pgc ratings are slightly higher than most other game sites (see: http://www.planetgamecube.com/games.cfm?action=profile&id=283 ).


Umm...no.
SMS got an 8, a 9.5, a 9.5, and a 10. Thats an average of 9.25
According to Gamerankings.com, SMS has an average review rating of 92% across all websites.  You're complaining about a .5% difference?  Sheesh.  Its their opinion.  There are plenty of sites that have given games higher scores than Planet Gamecube.  IGN gave SMS a 9.4.  Thats higher than a 9.24.   EGM gave it a 9.5.  That is also higher.  I can continue, but Ill let you find out the rest by going to gamerankings.com.

Gamesradar, and Gamepro gave 1080 a 90%.  That is also higher than a 80%.  It seems to me that you're just upset that they liked a game that you havent even played.

Offline NarmaK

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RE:1080° Avalanche Review
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2003, 11:45:23 AM »
So hostile you two are.

I dont care if other reviews suck more, that doesnt make this one any better.
I dont care about the average score of SMS seeing as how most sites suck anyways. I just know for a fact that SMS does not deserve a 10, and anybody that rates it so is probably a mario fanboy whose opinion does not matter. The only games I know of that deserve a "10" are Soul Calibur 1 because it was so new, and so much better than any fighting game seen before, and Tetris, because for some reason that game never gets old. Even though SC2 is a better game than SC1 it still doesnt deserve a 10 because it isnt much better than its competition (its compitition basicly just being the original Soul Calibur).

Number ratings matter alot, for comparisons sake. Otherwise I would have to read through two reviews repeatidly to find out what the reviewer meant exactly by "good graphics" or "fun music". Many reviews describe a games graphics as "good", but how am I supposed to find out how good? Maybe a point system of some kind?
A review should give me a good idea of what makes a game good or bad, how good or bad, and if there are any games that acomplish as much as the game being reviewed or if there is a game that acomplishes more. I am sure that the SSX3 review will tell me what I need to know (and have already learned from other sites), but this review, as it is, is pretty much worthless to me. The only thing I have learned from it is that this particular reviewer thinks this game deserves an 8.0 despite its short livedness

I dont mean to say that PGC sucks, or that this reviewer sucks, I just mean to say that you could be alot better. It doesnt matter much to me, I just go elsewhere. That shouldnt bother you since crazy popups and annoying banner ads dont work on me. But I just want to help you help the people like me out there that like to save their fifty bucks if they can. And uh, stuff.


So, in conclusion, shut up.

Offline Jonnyboy117

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RE:1080° Avalanche Review
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2003, 05:02:04 PM »
Quote

Originally posted by: NarmaK
Actualy I have never played 1080 avalanche, it just seems odd to me that all pgc ratings are slightly higher than most other game sites


GameRankings disagrees with your statement.

http://www.gamerankings.com/itemrankings/sitedetails.asp?siteid=724

On average, our reviews are 1.5% lower than the index of all reviewers.  However, we have slightly more reviews that rate higher than the average than we do ones that score lower than the average.  That just means that when we score a game lower than other reviewers do, we tend to score it significantly lower than they do.

But I have no goal for the site's reviews to be under or over averages, or to be right on the average.  I just want us to be honest and thorough, and I think all of our reviewers want that as well.  Of course we want to help people make buying decisions.  We don't spend hours writing and editing these reviews just for the fun of it.  Please read our reviews and take them as they are meant to be taken: as suggestions, friendly advice from people who are trying to be helpful.  If you think our advice isn't sound, then don't take it.  That's your right, by all means.

I would also note that, while we do try to make numerical scores match up with the review text, we consider the scores to be much less important than the actual body of the review.  The scores are all independent, and the overall score does not have to have any direct correlation with the other ones.  This is in contrast to a site like GameSpot, which uses a mathematical formula to calculate the overall score from the other parts.  We don't think games can be boiled down to some equation.  Sometimes a game is more than the sum of its parts, sometimes less.  Sometimes a game may have a significant part that isn't covered in the other scoring categories.  Some games defy all the scoring categories (Cubivore comes to mind).  Our review policy is very flexible and constantly under self-scrutiny, because I want it to be completely fair to our writers, readers, and the games.

 
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Offline NarmaK

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RE:1080° Avalanche Review
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2003, 07:54:07 PM »
Yuh huh.

So is 1080 worth my fifty bucks or not?
In Lasse Pallesens opinion of course.

Offline Jonnyboy117

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RE:1080° Avalanche Review
« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2003, 08:00:52 AM »
"fans of the original don’t have to think twice about investing in Avalanche"

"fans of racing games should not miss out on."

If you're one of those people, Lasse thinks it's worth buying.
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Offline ExtremeGcube

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RE:1080° Avalanche Review
« Reply #18 on: December 20, 2003, 03:31:16 PM »
I am having a bit of fun now, and I was wondering if any of the mods or content editors had an excel document with every game and the breakdown of scores and possibly the editor of each.  If so I would get greatful if you could contact me and I could get it from you. I am currently going through game by game and it is taking a very long time.  When its done I will post the descriptive statistics and possibly some interesting finding on the ranking system.
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Offline Bloodworth

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RE: 1080° Avalanche Review
« Reply #19 on: December 20, 2003, 07:49:11 PM »
we don't have any document like that, and if I were you I would wait until our technical problems are over before undertaking such a project.
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Offline couchmonkey

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RE:1080° Avalanche Review
« Reply #20 on: December 22, 2003, 06:32:05 AM »
I thought the review was decent.  A brief comparison to SSX 3 would have been nice, but it is a review about 1080...read a couple of reviews of each and draw your own conclusions!  Better yet, rent them.
Personally, I'll be buying SSX 3, but I will definitely look at Avalanche when/if it becomes a Player's Choice title.
That's my opinion, not yours.
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Offline Bill Aurion

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RE:1080° Avalanche Review
« Reply #21 on: December 23, 2003, 06:45:22 AM »
Quote

Originally posted by: couchmonkey
A brief comparison to SSX 3 would have been nice, but it is a review about 1080...
No it wouldn't have...The two games focus on completely different styles...
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Offline mouse_clicker

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RE:1080° Avalanche Review
« Reply #22 on: December 26, 2003, 02:29:19 PM »
They're inevitably going to be compared, though, no matter how different they are- it's like how Eternal Darkness and Resident Evil were constantly compared even though the only thing they had in common was  the prescence of zombies, albeit in entirely different fashions. I'm not saying that would justfy a comparison of the two as if they were in direct competition, but most people don't look into snowboarding subgenres, and generally lump every game with a snowboard in it together.
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Offline chlupe

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RE:1080° Avalanche Review
« Reply #23 on: January 05, 2004, 03:32:02 AM »
"I just know for a fact that SMS does not deserve a 10, and anybody that rates it so is probably a mario fanboy whose opinion does not matter."

---

Hmm... guess it's a "fact" then that you shouldn't be trusted, eh? I don't think that game deserves a 10 either but it ain't a fact buddy. You don't have "the" right answers, and you don't speak for others. Get used to it.
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Offline Jonnyboy117

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RE:1080° Avalanche Review
« Reply #24 on: January 05, 2004, 09:39:53 AM »
I think Sunshine is an incredibly fun game, one that I was hopelessly addicted to for weeks.  The platforming sections and surprising difficulty only add to its brilliance, and the graphics are beautiful, though not technically excellent in some aspects.  For the amount of enjoyment I got out of it, I had no problem giving it a 10.  That doesn't mean it's a perfect game; it means that it's the best platformer on GameCube and a classic that will be enjoyed for the rest of time by almost anyone who plays it.  It means that it makes other games like it look bad.  I have some complaints about it how it doesn't advance the series much, but that is appropriate for an editorial (like my "GameCube's Mid-Term Report Card") and not for the review.  If Sunshine were a blatant rip-off of its predecessors, to the point that it feels recycled and unfresh, I might hold that against it in the review.  However, I don't believe that is the case at all.
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