America - Front
America - Back
By Xavier Griffiths 30th Sep 2009 | 1,203 views
One of the big draws of digital distribution is that it can offer small and fun experiences on the cheap. In an age where console games cost around $60 and micro-transactions are spreading like the plague, gamers can take solace in knowing that there are viable alternatives. However, Go Sports Ski is not one of them, as it misses the “fun experience” part completely. Everything from horrible controls, bad music, aged visuals, and plain busted gameplay is on offer, with almost no redeeming value whatsoever other than its deservedly low cost of entry. This just might be one of the worst games I have ever played, and if you are compelled to know why feel free to read on, if only to stop yourself from ever trying this dreadful thing.
At least Go Sports Ski is not a liar, because it is in fact a ski game like the title suggests. I always try to start my reviews with something positive, so there you go. The presentation hits the wall almost immediately when you are introduced to the menu and loading screen. These eye sores attempt to show pleasant winter effects such as snow-caps and icy winds, but instead they look like a slapped together first-time Photoshop. Graphically the actual game is just as atrocious. Starting with the one playable character. This nameless snow lover can be equipped with different colored gear and comes in four models. Actually, it is just the one character with various degrees of sunburn and they all look equally lame. When you eventually start skiing, expect plastic-looking snow, along with effects and textures comparable to the PS1 era. If you really hate your eyes you can turn on the snowy weather that essentially vomits grey all over you screen, severely limiting your vision.
With regards to the controls, let me be clear that they do work, but only in the same sense that your dentist is working when administering a painful root canal. The Sixaxis is used to control everything from movement to jumping. You steer by turning, rolling and pitching the controller similar to a steering wheel. Upon first introduction, and in some modes, the game’s announcer will shout out exactly how you should turn the controller. Not only is this an unsuitable way to mend a broken control scheme, it only leads to aggravation after this ski coach from hell spouts out useless directions repeatedly. In order to jump, you have to pitch the controller upwards with some noticeable lag. Once airborne you can perform tricks by shaking the controller. You are rewarded with a speed boost if you land it correctly, but will wipeout otherwise. Landing or falling is fifty-fifty, where the laws of physics do not apply.
Go Sports Ski comes with several game modes: battle, slalom, and time trial. Battle plays like your standard kart racer but only going downhill. You can collect powerups to speed up or slow your opponent down. Chances are though, you will be focusing too much on simply navigating the course to care about the competition, especially in spilt screen with your vision cut in half. Slalom challenges you to ski through as many rings littered throughout the course as possible. Time trial simply tasks you with reaching the bottom as fast as possible. All three modes are dull and not worth the effort you have to put in just to finish.
There are two courses to play in total, and while both are designed decently, they quickly become dull. You can choose from a variety of skis that have varying strengths and weaknesses, but the balance between them is so uneven that only the average skis are usable. The online mode allows you to play Slalom and Time Trial to see how you stack up on the leader board. You can battle up to three other players, but no one plays this game online, and for good reason.
The music and audio is plain terrible. Just because this game is dirt cheap does not make it worth checking out even as an impulse buy. The whole experience feels like a horrible, unfinished arcade game from 1997 that crawled its way onto the PlayStation Store. Go Sports Ski belongs in a landfill, not on your hard drive, but it seems that digital distribution has provided the perfect work around. And here I thought we were friends digital distribution; I thought we were friends.