In a year full of reboots, SSX ended up getting buried beneath the weight of other more popular games. Unlike most of this year's reboots that ignored their fans and tried to sniff out fresh blood, SSX tries to walk the thin line between appealing to fans of the franchise and luring in new players with updated mechanics.
I imagine that it helped significantly that there has not been a "proper" SSX game in a while, and most people have not played one in far longer than that. In fact, before playing this latest SSX game, the last one I had played was SSX 3 on the PS2 in 2003, making this game more or less a fresh start.
The first place that EA clearly attempts to walk the line is the control scheme options. By default, the game allows you to pull off tricks by using the right analog stick, a concept that EA's other trick-based boarding game, Skate, made extensive use of. Here, the system is truly pushed to its limits, and can often make pulling off specific tricks difficult. You can certainly get results by slamming the stick in every imaginable direction, but thankfully EA has included the ability to use the face buttons (Triangle, X, Square, Circle) to perform tricks as well.
The environments in SSX look absolutely fantastic, but what makes so many of these new courses interesting is their inherent danger. In SSX's campaign, winning is not anywhere near as important as making sure you get to the end of the course alive. In fact, one of the new course types in the campaign is simply called "Survival", and requires you to use some sort of specialized equipment like a flashlight to find your way through dark tunnels.
The most important piece of new equipment that SSX introduces to the series is the wingsuit, which more or less serves as SSX's mid-air version of the manual from skateboarding. Using the wingsuit to link combos between not only feels like it belongs in SSX, but its a great and creative way to mix up the gameplay.
When SSX launched, the only multiplayer to speak of was an asynchronous system that allows you to compete with hundreds of other people in single events for score or time. As time went on, fewer and few people played this mode though, and what was once a fun way to spend a few hours is now a ghost town. EA did eventually add a head-to-head multiplayer mode in a patch, but it feels extremely tacked on and generally worthless.
Overall, SSX is an excellent reboot of a franchise that has sat around in EA's warehouse for far too long. The single player campaign feels like a slog at time, and the asynchronous multiplayer is completely dead, but if you can get some friends together to compete on leaderboards, this is a great title for some friendly competition, particularly now when you can get it for a relatively low price.