Amped 3 is the successor of Amped 2. Or what did you think? The previous game couldn’t really keep me interested and I wasn’t really hoping for a lot of gaming fun with this one. Better graphics (after all, it’s for X360), some more online options and cooler menus; that’s what I expected. That it was a big surprise I can already tell you but whether the game could cluster me to the screen you’ll need to read in the rest of this review.
The structure of the game is classic in these modern ages. You’ve got a main storyline that you can finish in your own pace while in the meantime you can do several minigames and sidegames as well as missions. The storyline is quite enjoyable and actually even excellent seeing Amped 3 is a sports game. In PES or FIFA you won’t find one like here! Together with your rather typical snowboard friends (the girl, the tough one, the strange one, etc) you’ll have an adventure that starts when your money is stolen and you get separated from your friends.
What I especially noticed is the incredibly varied, colorful and crazy way of storytelling. You got links to Final Fantasy, bizarre cut-scenes that only make you want to see more, absolutely hilarious and absurd situations with ninjas, mayonaise and a boys band and so on. You won’t get bored at all and on top of that, the graphical style is very renovating for a videogame. Picture old skool pixel animations, FMV like in Command&Conquer, comic books and movies from the archives of CNN.
A less willing person than me could also judge it as something with which a rather uncool dad tries desperately to be cool, but let’s be clear that 2K Games has looked very carefully at what’s “in” at the moment qua graphical design and animation. You can also completely create your character and dress it the way you want it with a ton of options. Pure class and if I may: completely in line with the for me completely strange “snowboarding is so cool”-hype.
The graphics you’ll see most are of course those that you get when doing one of the six areas on your snowboard. Beautiful is the fact that you can look really far, the surroundings are very large and wide as well as filled with life like other winter sporters who do their thing. The framerate is nicely kept, the animations quite alright and also the textures are sharp. Unfortunately, that was all but enough for me to give the game that “next-gen feeling”. There’s little negative to be said but showing off with your XBox360 is not something you’ll do with Amped3.
We won’t forget about the sound either, but there’s little to say. The very varied soundtrack is ok, the voice-acting and sound effects are less conspicuous but do their thing good enough to not get you out of the atmosphere.
Onto the gameplay then, this time after the graphics but with good reason. The snowboarding can be reduced to doing tricks as that’s all you’ll be doing. There’s principally nothing wrong with that of course. Timing is crucial here and after some practice and patience the controls are quite accessible. Still, things didn’t really feel too tight. Like the makers didn’t want you to accidentally fall off the ramp for instance.
The world of Amped 3 consists out of different mountains where you’ll find several challenges from the beginning. You’ve got different handy ways of getting to them and the missions themselves are varied enough to never give you a déjà-vu feeling. Unfortunately, the Xbox Live support is almost completely absent which means that my expectations on that part are all but fulfilled. The online leaderboards couldn’t change much about that.
The game looks visually very attractive but unfortunately, the engine is quite meagre. The gameplay is accessible but sometimes too easy; the missions varied on the surface but identical beneath (doing tricks) and the lack of a strong online or multiplayer component really gets sensed in this age where we have PGR3. It looks cooler than for instance FIFA 06 but in the end it remains a game like any other. Just like snowboarding itself, no?