Impressions: Go! Sports Ski

I still haven’t figured out what Sony is trying to do with its Go! line of games. It would seem all too obvious to believe that they were trying to attract the same market as Nintendo has with Wii Sports and other minigame-infested bollocks. The PS3 hasn’t proven itself as a machine for casuals and the existing userbase is far too hardcore (come on, they actually own the system) and skeptical to bother with them, for the most part. For me, they represent something of a curiosity. That’s good for you, because that means that I’ll buy them and tell you if they’re worth most of a fiver or not.

It’s been a bit of a mixed bag so far. Go! Sudoku is actually one of the more favorable Sudoku games I’ve played. But let’s be frank, that’s an endeavour best left to a folded up newspaper on your coffee break. Go! Puzzle featured three different games, only one of which was really worth its salt (the innovative Skyscraper was a lot of fun, while Swizzleblocks was passable). And though it doesn’t wear the Go! brand label, Super Rub-a-Dub does share Ski’s $2.99 price point. That one, well…it probably should’ve just stayed a tech demo.

So what does the game offer for its meager fee? Well, have you ever played the old Namco arcade game, Alpine Racer? It’s a lot like that, only with two courses instead of three. That may seem pretty limited, but you get sunny and snowy versions of each, and both feature several shortcuts to find and use for shaving off time. The courses are rated by difficulty — 2 and 4 out of 5 stars — which seems rather silly since there are only a couple of them and neither hits the maximum. It would’ve been easier to label them “Beginner” and “Expert” or “n00b” and “l33ts4auc3” using modern parlance. The fact that it doesn’t do this leads me to believe that the developer, Yuke’s, plans on adding more courses down the road (slope?). Considering Ski’s likely to sell less than a thousand copies worldwide, I don’t know what would compel them, though. Surely it must be the TLC they’ve put into the game and not any expectation of, you know, “revenue.”


For what it’s worth, though, there is a bit of game here. Granted, thirty minutes or so of game, but considering what you get out of most $60 titles these days, perhaps the $3 price tag isn’t a half bad value. You’ll get the aforementioned two courses and alternate weather conditions, three modes of play, and an accompanying online ranking system to go along with them. As far as I can tell, only “Battle” can actually be played over the internet with up to three other people. The others just upload your times to a communal ranking board.

Oh yeah, there are also “Emblems” that you can obtain from playing games online. One of them even requires you to win 50 games in a row, as if there was some expectation people would be playing Go! Sports Ski for that long. All I’ve got to say is that gamer who manages that one is officially more hardcore than those who’ve obtained even the most draconian of Xbox Live Achievements.

Of course, the crux of Ski’s appeal might just be in the actual gameplay. Like LAIR, you’re forced to use the motion controls here, but unlike LAIR, they actually seem to work. It’s simple and takes about half a second to get used to. Tilt forward to crouch and gain speed, tilt left and right to turn in those respective directions, and pop the controller upwards to jump. Once you make the leap, you can lean forward or pull back to perform a simple somersault that, if completed, will provide you with a boost of speed once you hit the ground again.

In the end, you’ve really got to consider how much time the average person is going to spend playing Ski. I can see someone having a bit of fun for up to an hour or two trying to break the world record time on each course or fooling around with the online mode a couple times, but without any kind of compelling theme (generic music, avatars, and mountainsides don’t help), there’s nothing to keep you coming back. I mean, I’ve got some HALO 3 to play, right? Released during the Summer, Ski could’ve been a nice diversion, especially for those itching to hit the slopes again and Winter so, so far away.

IGN’s already given the game a dismal 2.1. I wouldn’t condemn it quite so badly. It’s a far more functional game than Chris Roper chooses to portray it (chances are he’s just bitter that he was only given the orts to review this week), but the bare-bones package only features just enough content to round out the price tag. It’s fast-paced and kind of fun, but it ultimately serves as filler until Sony can get something like Everyday Shooter out on the PSN. As it so often comes down to in the world of reviewing video games, whether or not Ski is worth its weight is snowballs is really up to you, the reader.

~ by Cavin Smith on October 5, 2007.

2 Responses to “Impressions: Go! Sports Ski”

  1. pzxmglbsh xuonjb trlsfn ksnca cihl uydjwx hjlwgu

  2. I’m a big fan of skiing games and I personally think there needs to be more ski package games out there. Why not set something up like DDR with a ‘ski mat’ that would read the pressure of your feet for turns? I wish there were more ski games.

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