Jam on it. Review

Amplitude Info

genre

  • N/A

players

  • 1 - 4

Publisher

  • SCEA

Developer

  • Sony

Release Date

  • 04/01/2016
  • Out Now

Platform

  • PS2

rating

Jam on it.

Like just about everyone who has ever held an instrument in their hands, I had

dreams of being in a rock band. Following in my grandpappy’s

footsteps
, I spent a lot of time practicing on my guitar. It was a beautiful

instrument, made of a finely-crafted tub of whipped cream and only the highest

quality rubber bands. Unfortunately, my 5 year-old self was never able to nail

down a record contract. I must have been ahead of my time.

I still like to make music, and hey, if I can combine it with video games,

then that’s all the better. Amplitude, the follow-up to Frequency,

offers some light remixing, tuned up gameplay and more robust online features.

As far as musical rhythm games go, this is one catchy little number.

In

Frequency, eight different musical tracks were arranged in a tunnel shape,

ala Tempest. Amplitude rolls these tracks out into a flat musical

highway. Each individual track corresponds to a different component of the music,

such as drums, bass or vocals.

Sitting atop these tracks are little capsules containing locked bits of music.

You must shoot these capsules using a little flying ship known as the Beat Blaster.

Time it right and music will play. Keep the streak going and the score will

go up. Screw up and your energy drains.

To help keep that energy healthy, Amplitude offers several new power-ups.

In addition to a score multiplier and an auto-catcher that clears one track

out of the way, a new slowdown power-up momentarily makes it easier to keep

up with the rhythm.

Originally, Freestyle mode was attained when tracks were cleared. Amplitude

changes Freestyle into an obtainable power-up. The Beat Blaster temporarily

lifts above the different tracks as you scratch out a free beat to the music.

All of these power-ups are critical towards maintaining a streak and building

up your score.

Frequency offered a customizable avatar called a FreQ. Amplitude

does it one better, modeling the little guy in 3D. While the Beat Blaster zips

down the musical highway, the little FreQ jams out on a micro-instrument to

correspondent to the track. When you complete songs in the single-player mode,

additional FreQ’s are unlocked.

Besides the solo game mode, Amplitude carries over the Remix mode of

Frequency that allows you to arrange music using the same interface as

the main mode. Tracks can’t be interchanged – you are only working within the

bounds of what is already there. While it isn’t quite like real audio mixing,

if it piques your interest, it gives back as much as you are willing to put

in. Completed songs can even be uploaded online for judging and play.

The multiplayer and online modes place one to four players on the same highway

as they compete for a high score. Normally the tracks are color-coded to match

the musical component. In multiplayer, however, the tracks are color-coded to

match the players. It gets a bit confusing. I wish they stuck to the component

colors and delivered the player color information in another manner. Theirs

is also another game mode that plays out like H-O-R-S-E, where one players sets

out a pattern to be copied by the second player.

I’ve found that the online players tend to be really good; in a way, the solo

mode is just a training ground to eventually go against the zealots with lightning

fingers. Amplitude is really a game of practice, as you repeat and repeat, building

up a strategy for each song. It can therefore get repetitive grooving out over

and over again to the same songs.

Ironically

enough, when Brian reviewed Frequency, he said, “Don’t expect to find

blink 182 or any other mainstream bands in here.” Well, that’s exactly what

you will find in Amplitude. Recognizable bands such as Garbage, Slipknot

and even Pink sit next to underground groups like BT and Komputer Kontroller.

Musical styles are a matter of personal choice, but the game works best for

me with styles I already like. My tastes are pretty broad, but in terms of the

game, Quarashi, P.O.D., Bowie and the trance selections work best. The choices

of Mekon, The Baldwin Brothers, and some of the metal selections don’t really

work well.

I suspect that most people will find their tastes split across the different

songs, but at least there’s an attempt at variety to meet everyone’s needs.

Some of the selections offer up less recognized selections from some big name

talent, which is cool as it doesn’t pound a smash hit into your head.

The psychedelic mind-stream of colors is pretty heavy on the eyes and senses.

Swirls of color hammer at you as you cruise down the musical highway. In the

background, images of the band and your FreQ bounce about as a neon-cityscape

takes form. After a few hours of it, I could still feel it banging around inside

my brain. The visuals fit the game to an appreciable yet occasionally overwhelming

degree. It would have been nice if the visuals changed depending on how well

you played; as it is, it’s pretty much the same thing every time you play through

a stage.

At times, Amplitude really draws you in. You won’t be thinking so much

as grooving – your fingers just race through the key presses on their own. It’s

worth checking out if your music interests lie within the song list , but even

genres that you might not normally take an interest in suddenly offer a different

experience in the game. If you enjoyed the first game or like other musical

games along the lines of the Beatmania series, then Amplitude

deserves an audition.







REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

3.5
Rating
Fitting visuals
Solid gameplay
Online features, including upload
Variety of music
Some of which you'll inevitably dislike
Can get repetitive
Visuals can be overwhelming