Cool Boarders 2

The follow-up to last yearís snowboarding game is a mixed bag at best

Publisher: Sony
Developer: Uep Systems
Genre: Sports

Writing reviews can be really difficult sometimes. If a game is great, or if it really sucks, then itís no problem -- youíre moved emotionally to either praise or blast it. However, if itís just mediocre, and doesnít really inspire any kind of emotion at all, then writing a review of that game can be the hardest thing in the world. I had a really tough time writing this Cool Boarders 2 review.

If you ever played the original Cool Boarders, you know that itís pretty fun, but that it has its problems. Most of the drawbacks of the first have been addressed in the second game, and a few new things, like the half-pipe, have been added to great effect. However, it is still plagued with problems that afflicted the first, and in some cases are even worse.

Letís start with the good, shall we? The control in Cool Boarders 2, always an important element of a game, is spot-on. Whether youíre turning, carving, or busting a trick, control is easy to master. The tricks can get tough to do, but then thatís why theyíre called Ďtricks.í

The number one reason to buy Cool Boarders, though, is the half-pipe, something conspicuously absent from the first. Itís nothing but a half-pipe, but pulling McTwists and doing 720 degree spins is about as fun as it gets. Itís a great way to apply the tricks youíve learned without bothering with the racing, which leaves something to be desired as weíll discuss next.

Despite a number of improvements from the first, namely in the physics model, the downhill racing in Cool Boarders 2 is less fun than in the first. Sure, itís got seven boarders now, with 18 boards to choose from, but they all feel pretty much the same. And the track design, which was occasionally interesting in the first, is nothing short of boring here. Even the addition of a big air mode, which stresses single tricks, seems pointless and uninteresting next to the half-pipe.

Ultimately, Cool Boarders 2 is a real mixed bag. Itís is worth checking out if youíre a fan of snowboarding, but you may want to rent it first.