When the game isn't throwing familiar events at you, it's going out of its way to remind you that they have the likenesses of some of the world's most popular snowboarders. Well, maybe most popular is an exaggeration. Because of licensing problems, Destineer doesn't have the likeness of Shaun White. Instead we get Hannah Teter and a bunch of athletes I had never heard of. I hate to speak ill of Lindsey Jacobellis or Gretchen Bleiler, but if they perform anything like their virtual counterparts there may be a reason why I haven't heard of them.
Of course, I'm not opposed to being introduced to celebrity athletes through video games, the Tony Hawk series singlehandedly introduced me to every skateboarder I can name (and a few I can't). But it would be nice if the in-game visuals didn't make these characters look goofy. The character models in this game look awkward at best, something that translates to an overall underwhelming visual style. I know that the Wii is less powerful than the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, but there are last-generation snowboarding games that rival the look of Triple Crown Snowboarding.
The courses don't make out much better. Each of the game's events look like they are played on the same patch of snow, usually with similar obstacles and jumps. Couple this with the fact that there are very few obstacles in your way and I can't help but feel the levels are a little too sparse for their own good. Also, I miss the over-the-top effects that we saw in games like SSX and Amped. There's no sense of speed or awe, it's just you on a white background doing boring moves and praying you don't summersault down the side of a cliff.
As I played through the game's career mode I was struck by how much this game felt like a portable game. The game's short campaign, poorly detailed environments and overall game play strike me as a Nintendo DS game. I wouldn't be surprised if this game originally started its life on another platform before finally hitting the Wii. There's certainly nothing about the controls that take advantage of the Wii remote, there's absolutely no waggle functionality in this game. The only time you even use the motion control is when you're sifting through the menus. I found myself wondering if I would have been more forgiving of this game if I was playing it on the Nintendo DS and not the Wii. I have to assume that even on the Nintendo DS I would have been disappointed by the lack of ambition and the ho-hum controls.
Interestingly enough, Triple Crown Championship Snowboarding is helped out by the lack of snowboarding games on the Nintendo Wii. The only other notable entry was the equally disappointing SSX Blur, a game that was rendered almost unplayable because of the motion controls. Triple Crown Snowboarding is at least playable, even if it doesn't aspire to be much more than an SSX knock-off. If you absolutely must own a snowboarding game for the Wii, this Destineer release is cheap and will get your primed for something more. Everybody that owns something other than a Wii should look for Stoked, an infinitely better snowboarding game.
Triple Crown Championship Snowboarding may come from the same publisher as Stoked, but don't confuse this twisted mess with that solid snowboarding game. With its lack of depth, short story mode and ho-hum controls, you definitely get what you pay for when you buy Triple Crown Championship Snowboarding!
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