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Amplitude Review

Come enjoy a game where the music is upbeat, the songs are ones you know and the game play is addictive. Amplitude is a game that revolves around music. You control a beat blaster and are launched down a road of six different musical tracks. Each track is a different musical instrument including drums, bass, vocals, guitar, FX and synthesizers. As you move down the tracks you blast the different notes and release the sonic energy inside. As you blast the notes it keeps the song going. If you don’t hit any notes on the vocal track there will be no singing, don’t hit any notes on the drums area, and you have no percussion in the song. The object is to keep each track playing by hitting each of the notes on the tracks. As you advance through the levels, the songs get faster and the notes are thrown at you more furiously.The controls of Amplitude are pretty simple. You push three different buttons to blast the notes. You have a choice of using the L1, R1, and R2 buttons or the square, triangle, and circle buttons. I found it was easiest to use the L1 for the left blast, the triangle for the middle blast and the R2 button for the right blast. It took me a little while to get use to using the L1 and R2 buttons since I’m so use to using the object buttons (square, triangle, circle, and X buttons) for primary functions in other games. Once I became accustom to using them it actually felt pretty comfortable. It’s too hard to move your thumb fast enough if you just use the object buttons. For switching between the tracks you will use the directional pad or the analog stick. I like using the directional pad just because I seem to have more control with it.

The only other button you will use a lot is the X button. You will use it to deploy your power ups you get.The power ups are grabbed the same as blasting the notes. They range from an auto blaster which will give you the points for the track you are on if you deploy it, to a crippler that if deployed on your opponents will cause a pulse storm which causes blasting notes to become more difficult. These all come in handy and I especially liked the auto blaster since I could deploy it when I came to a particularly difficult run of notes. The X button is one you definitely want to remember!

When I first started playing the game I had a hard time figuring out when to hit the blast buttons. I wanted to hit them when the bright circle on your beat blaster lined up with the notes instead of the target circle. The target circle is white so sometimes it was a little difficult to see. Plus it is all moving at a fast pace! Once you get the hang of it it’s easier. I also found myself trying to switch tracks before I was done with the note pattern I was on, or adding notes while I played. That was just because I would get into the music and end up looking ahead and trying to anticipate what is coming up. I had to force myself to concentrate! One plus with Amplitude is that it does not have the cylinder style tracks as Frequency did. I felt that Frequency was too confusing moving around the tracks. I liked Amplitude where the tracks are just six across and they are different colors. This made it all a lot easier to see where you were going and which notes to hit.

To begin playing there are different modes you can choose from off the main menu. The mode you will probably spend most of your time in is the game mode. In this mode you can play in four difficulty levels and play in five different arenas. You will be competing to unlock all the songs and to strive for the highest points.

I spent a lot of time in the game mode. I liked the fact that there were five different arenas you had to unlock as you beat the songs. This seemed to give enough longevity to the game since I wanted to get to the next arena to see what songs were there to try. I think the five arenas, with 25 songs to unlock, are an attainable goal. If there were many more, I think I would be discouraged. A few of the songs were very, very difficult to beat, so this gave me enough of a challenge. I was playing on normal, and maybe should have started with the mellow (easy) level. As the difficulty level went up (mellow, normal, brutal, and insane) so did the amount of notes you needed to blast. My fingers were not fast enough to even attempt the insane level!

I also enjoyed the multiplayer mode. This area allows you to be competitive with up to four of your friends. Here you can compete in a normal game trying to get the most points, or you can duel by blasting a note pattern that the other player must blast the same complete note phrase. The duel is a lot like the basketball game, Horse. Each time a player blasts the complete note phrase they get one letter of the word Amplitude. Miss and the letter goes to your opponent. The first player to get the whole word wins the duel. This was a lot of fun especially since I liked playing Horse as a child. I enjoyed the fact that there were options for multiple players. It gets so boring when all you can do is just watch your friend play the game. This is definitely a game that will make you want to play, especially if you are a competitive person.

There is a remix mode which allows you to create your own musical additions to the original songs. You can play around with each instrument changing the notes, tempo, add musical effects and change the vocals. This is a pretty cool mode to try once you become tired of the regular game play. If you are into making your own music this mode is definitely for you. The remixes you make are able to be played in game mode (solo or multiplayer) or online. You are even able to upload your remixes to the Amplitude Online Remix Repository for other players to download. This is just one more feature that adds some longevity to the game.

Another option for you if you want to play against others is the online play. This is a cool feature allowing you to play against others across the nation. You will be able to play in game mode, duel or remix mode play. Online you will be able to join games already made, or host your own. You can even search for the right game based on the game type, difficulty or the song you want to try. I tried the online play and found you definitely need to make sure you look at the difficulty. I tried playing one guy that was way more advanced than I was. It was no fun playing him since I could hardly get any of the notes! If you find the right person with a similar skill level as you it is a lot of fun. I kept wanting to try one more song, and ended up playing a lot longer than I first intended. Also having a USB keyboard for the PlayStation 2 helps a great deal so you can type messages in the chat window in the lobby to your opponent a lot quicker.

The music in Amplitude is great. It has a lot of popular songs that you will actually know when you play. There are songs from popular groups such as Pink, Garbage, Blink 182, Weezer, Run D.M.C. and more. In Frequency the music all seemed to be techno which I had never heard before. At least the songs in Amplitude are familiar which helps a lot. It seems easier to hit the notes when you have an idea how the song goes. I often found myself bobbing my head or taping my foot to the beat. Some of the songs were very catchy and I found myself humming them after I stopped playing. The music in Amplitude is a definite plus.

Amplitude’s graphics are nice and bright. The colors are vibrant, but not so much that they are distracting as you play. In Frequency it seemed that the tracks were sometimes hard to distinguish, not the case with Amplitude. Each of the different instrument tracks are different colors making it a lot easier to tell which track you are on. While you play, the group that is singing can be seen on different parts of the screen. This is a cool feature, but you really only notice it if you are watching someone else play. Another part of graphics that is neat is your character. You can design your own character to look normal or “way out there.” You are able to pick the head, torso, legs, and more to make your character just how you want it. There is a wide array of colors you can choose from for each body part so everyone’s character doesn’t have to look exactly alike. I liked how you could personalize your character, and as you play you can earn other clothes and extra body parts. One of the other neat features is that your character can be seen as you play. They even have them changing instruments to match the track you are on. If you are on the drums track, your character will be playing drums. Switch to another instrument and so do they. Pretty cool!

Final Verdict

Amplitude is a game that you will go back to play often. It is very addicting causing you to want to keep trying till you beat one more song. I think they made a lot of improvements since Frequency. Amplitude’s music is great, the graphics are appealing and not distracting, and the controls are pretty simple. You’ll need fast fingers, but this is a game you will want if you are into the music and rhythm games.


8.5 out of 10

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Related Information

Posted by: rock13
Date: April 29, 2003
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Harmonix
Release Date: 03/24/2003
Genre: Other
Number of Players: 1-4
ESRB Rating: Teen
System Reviewed: PlayStation 2

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Categories: PlayStation 2 Reviews, PlayStation 2, Reviews

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