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Amped 2, XBox, Sports

Product: Amped 2
Company: Microsoft
Website: http://www.xbox.com
Estimated Street Price: $49.99/39.99
Review By: Byron Hinson

The Features

Amped was one of the early Xbox games that I remember the most, it had some excellent graphics, some great gameplay and an all round exceptional soundtrack. Finally, 2 years down the line we have Amped 2, more of the same, but this time Xbox Live! support has been added for some multiplayer goodness. Here is a feature list:

Amped 2 is the ultimate freestyle snowboarding experience, offering the largest, most varied trick library of any snowboarding game.

Explore vast areas of wide-open, spectacularly rendered real mountains packed with terrain parks designed by world-famous snow park architect, Chris Gunnarson. Play head-to-head with friends in the various multiplayer modes. When you're ready to take it to the next level, connect to Xbox Live to check rankings and challenge the world's best virtual riders.

Feel what it's like to live the life of a real professional snowboarder. Travel the globe, and pull sick tricks in front of sponsors, photographers, and fans. Build your fame, and get photos and demo reels in the latest snowboard magazine or video. Climb to the top ranks of the sport, and become a media superstar all to the sounds of more than 300 killer indie tracks.

  • Multiple multiplayer modes: Via split-screen, LAN, or Xbox Live, Amped 2 offers a ton of multiplayer challenges, both individual and team-based. Go head-to-head with a buddy. Challenge as many as seven other people in a game of Horse, or play a game of 4-vs.-4 King of the Mountain, where each team tries to pull the sickest tricks on different rails and ramps on a run.
  • Whole new bag of tricks: Amped 2 takes all the moves from Amped and adds new aerial tricks; advanced grabs; a full set of styled-out rail slides, tweaks, stalls, and hand and foot plants; and introduces "Butter," the center of a new combo system that allows nose and tail manuals to link tricks together. And, a new tutorial now teaches first timers the basics of freestyle riding.
  • World-wide nation of snowboarders via Xbox Live: Who's got bragging rights? Now, gamers will be able to find out by challenging riders around the globe to see who's the best. Track stats and check regional and world-wide ladders to see rankings. Trade replays with friends, or download new content, including mountains, gear, challenges, and music.
  • Deeper career and portfolio: Gamers now have more opportunities to impress the locals and the press with three levels of media challenges: photos, photo sequences, and video demo reels. As fame builds, sponsors award new gear and boards, and banners appear on the mountains, displaying new endorsements won.
  • Ultimate snowboarding environments: Amped 2 goes global with the addition of new mountains, including Laax, Switzerland, Mt. Buller in Australia, and heli-riding Harris Mountain in New Zealand. Fully rendered, 3-D environments bring the mountains alive. Clouds cast shadows that move over the hills, and the runs teem with ambient life and sounds, including other riders, snow-cats, people riding the chairlifts, and working snow machines.
  • Professional snowpark design: World-renowned terrain park designer Chris "Gunny" Gunnarson again lends his expertise exclusively to the Amped 2 park design, improving trick placement, adding more trickable objects, and doubling the size of many jumps, making it easier to land in transition.
  • More than 300 core indie tracks: Gamers can ride to their own tracks, burnt to the hard disk drive, but may never feel the need, with a library of more than 300 original cuts to listen to from the latest up-and-coming indie artists.
  • Greater character customization: Gamers can create and customize their own rider, including hair style, gear, and customized board graphics. Selecting a personality which will come to life as he or she rides.
  • Fourteen of the top professionals: Amped 2 features 14 top snowboarding pros, including Jeremy Jones, Mikey LeBlanc, Travis Parker, and Janna Meyen.

Gameplay

Review Quotes
"The sound is very similar to the last game too, obviously the soundtrack has all new artists on it, but the general feel is identical, and once again the groups who have been chosen to appear on the DVD are pretty good."

Not a great deal has changed since Amped. Once you start the game you get to design the look of your snowboarder from picking a face down to the clothes he wears and board he uses.

The first thing you should know is that Amped 2 is still not the easiest game to get to grips with, some of the controls are hard, to say the least. Your boarder is controlled with the left thumbstick, tricks (while in the air) are performed by using the right thumbstick and (if you want to perform the harder ones) by pressing a combination of the left and right trigger button along with the right thumbstick again. This time round though, there is an excellent tutorial mode which lets you get used to the different moves and controls, it works well.

There are a lot of different trick types from Tail pokes to Rocket Stalefish. There are a lot of tricks you can perform, but early on it is best just to start learning the controls, otherwise there is little chance of you moving up the rankings in the future. You begin the game at 125th in the world, the more level challenges you complete, the higher up the rankings board you go, with the main goal of reaching number one being miles away. There has been a slight increase in the amount of tricks that can be performed here in Amped 2, subtle increases only though, but a new linking style of trick is a good addition.

During the game you get the chance to do special tricks in front of the media, doing this not only gets you more attention, but it can also lead to you gaining various media rewards for your scrapbook in the game. To perform in front of a camera man, you first must note where a red camera appears on the slops, then when close enough to it, you can perform as good a trick as possible in front of them. Rack up enough points and you will complete the media challenge.

So as you may have gathered, the main parts early on are to complete the high score challenges, gain media attention and then to try to impress the sponsors so you can get hold of new gear to wear and better boards to ride. When you get the chance to perform in front of a sponsor you must make sure that you carry out the kind of tricks that the particular sponsor likes to see, otherwise he/she will mark you down.

The main change to Amped 2 is all of the multiplayer options though. Via split-screen, LAN, or Xbox Live, Amped 2 offers a ton of multiplayer challenges, both individual and team-based. Go head-to-head with a buddy. Challenge as many as seven other people in a game of Horse, or play a game of 4-vs.-4 King of the Mountain, where each team tries to pull the sickest tricks on different rails and ramps on a run.

On Xbox Live! Amped 2 runs like a dream, with no slow down that I have noticed, the leader boards are well done and it is a lot of fun to take to the slopes against other Amped 2 players.

Graphics & Sound

Review Quotes
"There are a lot of different trick types from Tail pokes to Rocket Stalefish. There are a lot of tricks you can perform, but early on it is best just to start learning the controls, otherwise there is little chance of you moving up the rankings in the future. You begin the game at 125th in the world, the more level challenges you complete, the higher up the rankings board you go."

Amped was already quite a good looking Xbox title, Amped 2 does improve on it slightly though. There are better characters, improved snow effect and more bump mapping across the slopes. Lighting has improved slightly, but the cosmetic touches are not as improved as they could be.

The sound is very similar to the last game too, obviously the soundtrack has all new artists on it, but the general feel is identical, and once again the groups who have been chosen to appear on the DVD are pretty good.

Final Comments

How It Grades
Controls: 83%
Gameplay: 90%
Presentation: 87%
Graphics: 82%
Multiplayer: 85%
Sound: 93%
Manual: 88%
Interface: 85%
Lastability: 91%
Price/Value: 90%
Overall: 90%

Once again I have to say that I really enjoyed playing Amped 2, its just as good as the last one and the extra tricks really add something extra. The multiplayer side of the game is probably as good as snow boarding can be

Specs & Package
Overall Score 90%
Version Reviewed Amped 2 (PAL)
Release Date Out Now
In The Box? 1 Amped 2 DVD-ROM
1 Set Of Instructions
The Good Points Excellent Music
Great Gameplay
Good multiplayer features
The Bad Points Not as advanced graphically as hoped
Xbox Live! Enabled? Yes
Widescreen Support No
PAL 60 Support (Europe) Yes


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