Serious snowboarding fans will love the new title, Stoked. Don’t expect any of the niceties that other games in the genre offer such as coin collecting or flimsy character backstories. Stoked is all about the sport itself, with its focus locked securely on performing as many flips and spins as you can fit into your speedy decent down one of five mountains.
The game begins as you’d expect; you’re a complete amateur, snowboarding for the sheer fun of it. You’ll be an unknown entity, lacking any sponsors and will have access to three introductory mountains. Those three alone will provide hours of entertainment however, as each has a load of different runs to enjoy and explore, with a set of different challenges to master on each individual run.
Following an initial tutorial to introduce you to the controls of Stoked, you’ll be let loose upon your mountain of choice. Alongside the set courses that you’ll discover on one side of each mountain, you’ll also have the option of exploring the uncharted territory from helicopter drops at various locations. In theory this is an excellent idea, providing gamers with vast acres of land to discover as they speed down the slopes. However, in actuality there seems little to actually explore. What jumps and obstacles there are you’ll find spread over the vast space, meaning there isn’t a whole lot to do for the majority of the time.
The objective itself is somewhat fuzzy at this stage of the game. You’ll be informed that to earn the elusive ‘pro’ status you’ll need to earn a certain amount of points. Playing the game for just a few minutes will give you an indication of the large volume of hours that you’re going to have to put in to actually earn that skill level though. While we all appreciate a game that will captivate us for hours this, unfortunately, isn’t the case with the opening amateur phase of Stoked. This is a shame as, if you can be bothered to put in the hours to earn the title of professional, the game suddenly gets interesting.
As your fame spreads you’ll find sponsors desperately seeking your time. Special events will be set up for you to take part in, allowing members of the media to take some excellent footage of your best moves. What’s more, completing just a few of said events will cause still more to be unlocked. With a huge array of moves in your arsenal and new and different events to discover around every corner, it’s easy to lose yourself within the Stoked universe for hours at a time.
If you do find yourself tiring of the single player mode you’ll be glad to hear that you can jump onto Xbox Live to join up to seven additional friends online. Six individual and different multiplayer modes guarantee hours of entertainment, with many of the challenges and options available only in the online multiplayer mode.
Overall then, Stoked offers great gameplay to individuals that can be bothered to work their way up the snowboarding ladder to professional status, and an incredible choice of multiplayer options. Fans of the genre will find themselves absorbed for hours in the vastness of the five real mountains available, while even those with little interest are guaranteed to find some enjoyment in mastering the tricky challenges on offer to all.