Amped 2: screens, movies, hands on!
1st Oct 2003 | 14:02
Last year, Amped on Xbox cut quite a contrast to the over the top arcade stylings of the SSX games, with its slightly more demanding, realism based approach to snowboarding. It was a solid game that won many admirers, even if it didn't have enough to convince the more flamboyant SSXer.
This sequel adds a new Live online element that for obvious reasons we couldn't sample, but that aside there are the by now standard career tutorial and free ride modes; you can also create your own personalised boarder from a variety of character models.
You can even choose your boarder's gear and clothes if such frippery interests you - and then, mercifully, it's into the game.
As ever, the point is points - in essence, pull tricks to earn high scores, with risky or particularly aesthetically accomplished moves earning fittingly higher scores.
There are also pipes and logs on which to grind, as well as special areas where photographers will gather to watch you throwing shapes. There are other goals, like pulling off a specific amount or type of moves - and the completion of each goal is rewarded with another new area to master.
It's difficult to over-emphasize the sense of enraged injustice you will feel upon masterfully clocking up the points in appropriately insouciant fashion, balancing your grinding boarder with all the poise of a young Jack Klugman, only to fall flat on your monkey-face and watch your every last point evaporate cruelly into the ether just 'cos you got a bit cocky toward the end there. Like all the best snowboarding games, Amped 2 is maddening - yet majestic.
A momentary lapse of judgement is enough to send your boarder into a downward spiral of humiliating and shambolic attempts to traverse, yet it's also comparatively easy to pick up the necessary skills in order to continue.
Even though you'll foul things up on occasion, the need to play remains - Amped 2 has that one-more-go factor in spades.
And indeed, once you begin to master the game's simple but infinitely enjoyable control system, there's really no-one to blame for your tumbles but your own foolish urge to squeeze one more spin out of a jump, or continue to grind for just fractionally too long.
Of course, taking risks is all part of the fun, and often it pays off, too. Being repeatedly complimented with the word "sick" makes us feel like we're down with the kids, too. It's more usual for people to say that about us in a derogatory fashion.
With each mountain featuring different routes including special bounus levels where you compete to impress prospective sponsors or cameramen, the title packs as much variety as you could imagine. More importantly, progression never feels like a chore, because there's usually more than one route open to you.
The in-game visuals are fine without being truly astonishing, but it's difficult not to be impressed by the sheer scope of the levels once you see a tracking shot of the mountain.
But Amped 2 is all about the gameplay, and as such, this latest version is a fine alternative to the slightly more rambunctious charms of SSX3.
Amped 2 movie (Xbox)