This one is all about feeling. I started playing this series with SSX Tricky on the GameCube. For the first month or so, I didn't care for the game. It was kind of fun going through a track but the game ramped up the difficulty and made everyone who played it look like a fool initially. But then, something ticked inside my video game brain and I got it. Before long, I was dominating every course, pulling any trick with ease, and riding rails like a walk in the park.
The cool thing was, this skill translated to SSX 3. Even now, I've gone back and loaded up the game and although it took a run to remember the controls, once I did it was like riding a bike. This game just feels right in your hands. Pre-loading before hitting a big jump and then unleashing a huge trick is a natural and incredible experience that keeps me addicted to the game. SSX 3 was exactly what a sequel to Tricky should have been. More courses, more characters, more tricks, all wrapped up with a pretty bow.
Unfortunately, this is something the makers of the new SSX coming out in 2012 (possibly) look like they may have forgotten. The game just started development so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt but the prospect doesn't look good at this point. Hopefully, in the end, they can return us to the fun and addictive quality of pulling off tricks, finding shortcuts, riding rails, and getting huge air.
Though you can play this game on a PC using an emulator, the best way is to get a hold of the GameCube or PS2 version. The two are fairly comparable. The GameCube version plays great in a Wii of course so if you have the little white miracle and can find a copy of SSX Tricky or SSX 3 for GameCube in your local Half Price Books or other used game store, definitely pick this up and give it a try. Just be sure to give yourself some time to get the skill right.