Online Passes are, to put it simply, ugly as sin. Buying a game used to be, dare I say it, almost romantic: come home, hands shaking, open the box, take the disc out and flick through the manual hurriedly whilst the disc did its work. These days, it’s all patch, patch, patch, with no paper manual to read. But that’s not why we’re here. Online Passes ruin what little is left of the romantic game purchasing experience with monotonous code-entering and further waiting times – remember the 500MB Cerberus Network download for Mass Effect 2 on PS3?
With Mass Effect in mind, it’s funny that the conversation should turn to EA’s next big sports game SSX which, naturally, comes with an Online Pass. But, hold your horses! It’s a good Online Pass! Sort of.
SSX‘s online pass, reports Destructoid, will not stop you from playing online should you buy the game used. Instead, the in-game credits used to buy upgrades, new snowboards and the like can only be earned offline. Playing online will be a reward-free experience, meaning all actual game progress will take place in the single-player mode. If you do have an Online Pass, you can earn credits online, meaning playing both with and without friends will feed your upgrade tree.
If it merits any comparison, it’s a little bit like playing free-to-play games like Farmville, Tiny Tower and Robotek. You can play the game and everything it offers without paying extra, but speeding up your progress is a minor investment away. It’s a horrible comparison at best because you’ve already sunk good money into buying the game itself, but it’s the only one I can think of that at least gives it some kind of gravitas. Not that it really deserves it.
At its best, SSX‘s Online Pass is, um, “generous”. At it’s worst, it’s a half-assed attempt at further encouraging the use of experience-ruining paper code sheets. If it were possible, it would be nice to have them exterminated. But until that hopefully happens, at least being able to play with your friends for free is the next best thing.
EA explains what SSX’s online pass will entail – Destructoid