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Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding (Xbox)

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82
MobyRank
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3.8
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Written by  :  Olivier Masse (421)
Written on  :  Feb 26, 2004
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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Summary

Wow...

The Good

Well, simply put, the realism and graphics are great. Heck, if I can't see thousands of trees for miles ahead, then I must be turning blind or something -- the view is almost infinite. The frame rate being very high, you really feel like you're there, and nothing is left to your imagination. That's the best I've seen until now. Okay, I must say that I'm not such a gamer, even less with skiing games (the last one I played was in 2D), but nevertheless I was impressed a lot.

The GREAT soundtrack also needs to be mentioned. Chances are you'll play for a while without hearing the same track twice -- and most of them are pretty good. 5 years ago, the music with such a title would have been lyric-less techno music. Now you're greeted with hard rock, ska, punk and other titles that can please almost anybody. Some styles irritate you? No problem; just exclude them from the track list and you won't be bothered.

Another thing... the title now went platinum, so you can get it for a bargain price now! It's a really good deal.

Those three reasons make it a great game to add to your Xbox collection.

The Bad

Sound effects are limited. Especially the cameramen's voices -- it looks as if they only taped up one guy saying 50 or so lines, so it gets very repetitive over time and annoying. And unlike the music, you can't turn their voices off when you've had enough.

The learning curve is really high. My guess is that most snowboarding titles have a similar difficulty, but what really frustrated me is that everything was going well in my "career" and the challenges quickly became REALLY HARD to beat. I don't have hours to spend to learn a game anymore. So thank god there are cheats to unlock all the mountains. :)

Not helping the learning curve issue is the absence of a real tutorial. Further more, there is no slope designed especially for practice. So you're pretty much on your own, and when you don't know much about snowboarding terms (like me) you've got to do a lot of guesswork and experimentation. The manual isn't really clear on what buttons do what, and you really have to try it by yourself to see the results -- assuming you can achieve all the moves.

One last thing, the two player mode sucks. It would have been really cool to have a split-screen setup, but you have to play one after another. That pretty much limits the interest of multiplayer gaming.

The Bottom Line

This release title really showed, and still shows, what the Xbox is able to do. Hats go off to the programmers and level designers who have been able to make such detailed levels. Is this the result of clever tricks or am I just too used to older 3D games? I don't know, but this game sure blew me out of my socks. I couldn't stop watching it.

I can only suggest to those game companies who make all these bloated PC games to look at Amped really well. Yeah, I'm talking to you who make games that only work well on a double Athlon system with a 256Mb video card. Microsoft pulled something really impressive by making such a game in 2001 on a 64Mb, celeron-based system! It's clear that they optimized a lot their code and their levels. This makes for a great gaming experience at a bargain price.