Stick to what you are good at. The team working on SSX should have heeded this advice during the development of the game. While SSX does a lot of things right, and it can be seriously fun, it also stumbles on itself by putting too much focus on parts of the game that are not.

SSX marks Electronic Art’s return to franchise of the same name as well as the action-sports genre that began to lose popularity roughly a decade ago.

The game is at its best when it is continuing the legacy of previous entries in the series, namely, allowing players to control gravity-defying, ridiculous maneuvers in Trick It mode.

There are few games that offer the thrill of performing six complete rotations all while spinning the board in your hand and adding a backflip for good measure before sticking the landing only to hear RUN DMC let you know you have reached Uber Tricky mode. SSX combines moments like this from its predecessors with the physics and a polish only available in modern games.

You’ll have no problem pulling off these huge maneuvers either as SSX controls like a dream, giving you the choice between a classic, face button arrangement or the new analog controlled system. I personally opted for the analog controls, which made me feel more in control. Responsive controls are a necessity for this reboot because it is light years faster than previous entries. The speed of the game is both a blessing and a curse.

While a drop in frame rate would be a negative, sometimes I almost found myself wishing for a slow down so I could both appreciate the wonderful visual style of the game as well get my bearings and better control of my character. The majority of the courses are beautifully designed, feel organic and are a lot of fun to play.

The curse of speed is especially evident in the new Survive It mode in which you are tasked to make it through a course with a special set of necessities. For example a wing-suit to make it over wide crevices or a solar-powered suit to keep you from freezing to death in the middle of your run. Survive mode seemed out of place in the game, like the developers felt like they had to keep it in as a holdover from the early days in development when the game had a more serious tone. In this mode, especially, you’ll want to control your speed as much as possible to just get through the challenge and on to the next Trick it section. In other words, they just weren’t very fun.

Speaking of not being fun, unnecessary punishment of the player in SSX makes the game more frustrating than it needs to be. Case in point is the rewind function. In Trick It, the rewind function can be used as many times as necessary with the only consequence being points taken away from the player, which is fine because landing that failed trick will most likely net the player those points right back. While Survive rewinds are limited, courses can usually be accomplished relatively easy. Race It, however, seems to go far in punishing the player. Rewinding in Race It can make it very difficult to get back in the race as opponents speed ahead while you move backwards. The frustration only amplifies  in later courses when racing is combined surviving and the courses become much more challenging. If you’re going to have a rewind function in your game, it should help the player, not unnecessarily punish and frustrate.

While there is no head-to-head multiplayer functionality in SSX, the title boasts one of the deepest asynchronous online multiplayer ever, dubbed RiderNet. Taking cues from Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit‘s Autolog, the system keeps the high score rivalry between you and your friends in your face at all times, goading you to play just one more run to try and beat them.

SSX is a lot fun when it is doing what it does best. It does a good job of balancing the old series with new game development. While the game has its low points, the highs are worth it all.

Grade: B-

In interesting but potentially brilliant casting news, comedian Amy Schumer will be taking on the role of Barbie for a live-action film.

Take a moment to soak in the news. Now revel in the idea. This could be awesome.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Amy Schumer is not only leading the project on screen, but she’ll also have an influence on the script.

Read full article

In interesting but potentially brilliant casting news, comedian Amy Schumer will be taking on the role of Barbie for a live-action film.

Take a moment to soak in the news. Now revel in the idea. This could be awesome.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Amy Schumer is not only leading the project on screen, but she’ll also have an influence on the script.

Last year, Sony had their pick of three complete scripts for a live-action Barbie movie. Of those three, they chose Hilary Winston’s. Now that Schumer is on board, THR says to expect her and her sister, Kim Caramele, to rewrite Winston’s original idea.

The plot, given that Schumer doesn’t change the major details, “begins in a perfect land of Barbies where one woman slowly awakens to the fact that she doesn’t fit it. She is expelled from the idealistic land and journeys to the real world, where she discovers that being unique is an asset.”

The outlet also addresses the fact that Mattel has had to deal with plenty of criticism regarding body image and race when it comes to the Barbie toys. Schumer’s casting is a great way to speak to some of those issues, and will hopefully provide a positive and uplifting message by the movie’s end.

There will be, of course, some hesitation given Schumer’s previous work. One only has to look as far as Trainwreck and Inside Amy Schumer to see her comedy is often brutally honest and raunchy. Barbie would be shocked.

But Schumer is an actress, after all, and a brilliant comedian. For this “contemporary spin on beauty, feminism and identity,” she seems like just the right fit.

What do you think of Amy Schumer as Barbie?

It’s arguably the biggest day for Hamilton fans since the release of the original Broadway recording: The Hamilton Mixtape has arrived!

Following years of development, the Hamilton Mixtape was released around the world on Friday, December 2. Mixtape features, well, remixes of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton hits, sung by artists both big and small from various genres.

To celebrate the album’s release, a special #Ham4Ham was hosted at the Richard Rodgers Theater on Thursday night, where names like Ashanti, Ja Rule, Regina Spektor, and Andra Day performed their songs from Mixtape:

Read full article

It’s arguably the biggest day for Hamilton fans since the release of the original Broadway recording: The Hamilton Mixtape has arrived!

Following years of development, the Hamilton Mixtape was released around the world on Friday, December 2. Mixtape features, well, remixes of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton hits, sung by artists both big and small from various genres.

To celebrate the album’s release, a special #Ham4Ham was hosted at the Richard Rodgers Theater on Thursday night, where names like Ashanti, Ja Rule, Regina Spektor, and Andra Day performed their songs from Mixtape:

Stream ‘The Hamilton Mixtape’:

Spotify users can easily stream The Hamilton Mixtape below. You can also listen here via Apple Music.:

And you can purchase a physical copy from Amazon here (you know all the Hamilton fans in your life will want a physical copy):

Hamilton Mixtape tracklist

1. No John Trumbull (Intro) – The Roots
2. My Shot (feat. Busta Rhymes, Joell Ortiz & Nate Ruess) [Rise Up Remix] – The Roots
3. Wrote My Way Out – Nas, Dave East, Lin-Manuel Miranda & Aloe Blacc
4. Wait For It – Usher
5. An Open Letter (feat. Shockwave) [Interlude] – Watsky
6. Satisfied (feat. Miguel & Queen Latifah) – Sia
7. Dear Theodosia (feat. Ben Folds) – Regina Spektor
8. Valley Forge (Demo) – Lin-Manuel Miranda
9. It’s Quiet Uptown – Kelly Clarkson
10. That Would Be Enough – Alicia Keys
11. Immigrants (We Get The Job Done) – K’naan, Snow Tha Product, Riz MC, Residente
12. You’ll Be Back – Jimmy Fallon & The Roots
13. Helpless (feat. Ja Rule) – Ashanti
14. Take A Break (Interlude) – !llmind
15. Say Yes To This – Jill Scott
16. Congratulations – Dessa
17. Burn – Andra Day
18. Stay Alive (Interlude) – J.PERIOD & Stro Elliot
19. Slavery Battle (Demo) – Lin-Manuel Miranda
20. Washington’s By Your Side – Wiz Khalifa
21. History Has Its Eyes On You – John Legend
22. Who Tells Your Story (feat. Common & Ingrid Michaelson) – The Roots
23. Dear Theodosia (Reprise) – Chance The Rapper & Francis and The Lights

What are our favorite performances on ‘The Hamilton Mixtape’?

Chris Pratt is currently on a press tour for Passengers. Jennifer Lawrence may or may not be there too.

Passengers, the new sci-fi epic starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, comes out later this month. The promo tour has kicked off in Europe, with the two stars on hand to answer all our questions.

To entertain himself (and his fans!), Chris Pratt has been updating his Instagram with funny photos and captions from the tour.

Read full article

Chris Pratt is currently on a press tour for Passengers. Jennifer Lawrence may or may not be there too.

Passengers, the new sci-fi epic starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, comes out later this month. The promo tour has kicked off in Europe, with the two stars on hand to answer all our questions.

To entertain himself (and his fans!), Chris Pratt has been updating his Instagram with funny photos and captions from the tour.

There’s some real gold in there, but the best part is when he realizes that fans really want to see some pictures of Jennifer Lawrence — who doesn’t have her own social media accounts — and proceeds to very decidedly not include her!

Update: He did it again.


See some of the hilarious posts from Chris Pratt below:

Finally got that selfie with Jen y'all wanted. #passengersmovie

A photo posted by chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) on

Just hanging with my bestie Jen. #passengersmovie

A photo posted by chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) on

Here Jen and I pose with @elrubiuswtf

A photo posted by chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) on

Here's an extremely artistic and meaningful video I made in which Jen is heavily featured. #passengersmovie

A video posted by chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) on

Another day down with me and my best buddy Jen. #London #passengersmovie

A photo posted by chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) on

Not going to lie — we’re almost as excited for the press interview videos as we are for the movie itself!

‘Passengers’ hits cinemas on December 21