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reviews >> playstation 2
Sled Storm

written by Shaun McCracken

Game Information
Publisher: EA Sports BIG
Developer: EA Games
Year Released: 2002
Players: 1-2
ESRB Rating: Teen

Visuals 8.75
It's not a bad looking game, with plenty of color and creative course designs. Why they opted to make this game look a lot like SSX is a little beyond me.
Audio 8
Music was not very memorable, and the character voices can become irritating after some time.
Gameplay 7.75
It's a little stiffer than the PS1 "version" of Sled Storm, and lacks the amount of courses and tricks that game had to offer.
Replay Value 6.75
There's only 7 courses, and no stunt mode. It wasn't really made to last a long time.
Reviewer's Impression 7.25
I was hoping that Sled Storm's debut on the PS2 would be much more than the obvious graphical upgrade. It has half the courses and about a third of the tricks as the original, and once again, I have to endure this trick-for-boost B.S. system that seems to be popping up in every other racing game. It's not terrible, but they changed way too much of what made the original a sleeper hit.
Overall 8
Even though Sled Storm on the PS2 does not really live up to it's PS1 predecessor, it still manages to be the best game in it's genre. If EA ever decided to do another Sled Storm, I really hope they look back at the original title and take what made it fun.

Back in 1999, Sled Storm bursted onto PS1 consoles as the first snowmobile game on the market. Despite the lack of competition at the time, Sled Storm was a remarkably fun and challenging racer, even though it had a horrible pop-up problem. But the design of the game was rather brilliant, and a refreshing change of pace from street racing or motocross. A year later, a couple other snowmobile racers hit the market, as well as Midway's Artic Thunder in arcades. None of those games caputured the same gameplay mechanics as EA's hit, and Sled Storm was the snowmobile racer to beat for a couple of years.

Then flash forward to 2002, when EA releases: Sled Storm. Huh? I thought sequels were usually denoted by a number or catchy sub-title. Already, EA has caused a bit of confusion. The other part goes to the fact that the game looks almost like SSX Tricky. As a part of the EA Big series, Sled Storm ditches the semi-realism the first game had and trades it off for frantic arcade action. This didn't strike me as a smart decision. But still, Sled Storm was still worth looking at. And then when Target had it on sale for $9.99, well what the hell, why rent when you can own for almost the same cost.

But you may wonder, is Sled Storm (2) worth owning? For many, no. It's not a good enough sequel for everyone to go run out and by. While not a bad game, Sled Storm's new direction may upset fans of the series, but may gain newcomers. Being under the EA Big label means that courses are bigger, badder, trickier and more irritating than the normal fare. Much like the later Freekstyle, Sled Storm's courses are long. Very long. 3-5 minute laps long. I don't like this. To me, I would rather have 10-12 shorter courses than these gigantic beheamouths. When courses are so big that it takes 20 minutes to finish, I feel that playing a game like this is a tedious effort, especially when you lose. The previous Sled Storm had shorter courses, and mor of them. And they didn't feel monotonous as the new ones do. While the courses show some sparkle, they also seem way over the top, and almost trashy at times. It doesn't really fit with the theme for some reason. There's also a lot of split paths, too. But some are actually longer than the beaten path, which makes you question the logic of a "short cut".

Sadly, the main course of Sled Storm is the championship, which contains the six courses. You can also gain other riders and race in time trials, plus gain new snowmobiles, but really, that's all. I would have liked to have seen a freestyle mode like Freekstyle had, but it's too late for could-have's. With such limited gameplay, I feel that the $9.99 pricetag was well suited for this game. It just seemed so empty.

The graphics are actually pretty good, but not phenominal. Lots of color and weird landscapes is the order of the day, as well as some strange lighting in some areas. As odd as it seems, a game with a look like this would be more at home on the Gamecube, considering that consoles saturation of color. The framerate is nice, and I believe is flowing at 60 fps. Character animations and models are good, but nothing notable. As for sound, it seems like the game uses techno from places unknown. Nothing memorable and nothing noteworthy. Seeing how SSX Tricky had a great music roster, why does Sled Storm recieve scraps? And here's something that will make a good piece of trivia, actor Matthew Lillard is an announcer in this game. Perhaps that's why we didn't get licensed music.

While Sled Storm is nice to pick up and play every once in ahwile, it's game- play package leaves a lot to be desired. But it still out does other racers in the genre such as Artic Thunder and the recent Whiteout. If you need every EA Big game or really love long courses, then Sled Storm may be for you. But for many, try before you buy. It's not for everyone.