STAFF REVIEW of Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding (Xbox)


Monday, April 29, 2002.
by Stephen Cameron



Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding Box art Snowboarding. It?s what I live for. Every time I see the snow beginning to fall in November I get a little fuzzy feeling in my stomach. And no it?s not because of what I just ate or who or the fact that I tend to get hairballs. It?s because I know that from that date on and until the end of March, every spare moment of my time (that?s not used up drinking or making an !&%$@#* out of myself) is dedicated to Snowboarding. So I?m here today to give you a review on the Xbox?s first Snowboarding game Amped. And ya I know it was a launch title and this is what April and everything, but hey give me a break I was Snowboarding not playing videogames for the past five months. So anyways onto the game.


Well Amped is quite different from a lot of Snowboarding games. It?s more realistic then arcady but it does have its outrages moments. I guess you can?t really say if this is a sim or and arcade Snowboarding game. So I?ll just call it a pretty freaking good Snowboarding game. The main objective to Amped is to cruise around the gigantic slopes (which it has many) and bust some tricks weather for yourself, your friends, your foes, or the media. It?s all about building up a good rep in Amped. By doing so your skills will increase, you?ll be able to ride on more mountains (5 in total but each have tons of lifts), you?ll get free gear from sponsors. And hey even pretty pictures and videos of your riding will be displayed on various magazines and videos. Neato! Well now that I told you the concept of the game lets get into the game itself. The game acts really weird on you sometimes. In terms of control it can either be really anal or really forgiving. It?s almost like the game is hung over at times and becomes violently moody on you. But like any other violent relationship, you?ll learn to love it. The controls while kind of like Tony?s also have a little SSX Tricky to them to. You tweak using the trigger button, use the analog stick and three buttons to do grabs and you use the other button to grind. Sound a little weird? That?s because it is. The game took me a good half-an hour to get used to and I was still face planting all the time. Which brings me to another down turn in this game. The learning curve is just plain non-existent. It?s not a curve it?s a cliff. This game toke me at least a good two hours to get decent at and I still wasn?t that great. Time and patience is the essence for this game, but if you have both of them trust me they?ll soon pay off. So now all you have to do to actually enjoy this game to it?s fullest is to take a lot of time and breaths while playing it at first and make sure you don?t throw your controller through the screen. Once you get these two factors down however, the game becomes almost second nature. You?ll beadle to carve beautifully, bust out wicked tricks and ride everything like nothing. There?s a lot to do in this game and should last well into the next Amped (if there is one).




All I gotta say about the sound is dag!! 150 tracks are cramped into this puppy. And that?s not including the fact that you can use you own MP3?s in the game. There is an excellent selection of tracks in this game. With 150 of them there?s gotta be something for everyone. I was very impressed with their emo selection. They?ve got to such greats as The Anniversary, The Get Up Kids, and Yellowcard all on one game. Heck I thought I was one of the only people to ever hear and enjoy these guys and now I find them in a videogame. Whodya thunk it? Well besides the music selection the sound effects are also done pretty well. Soft and hard landings sound as they should. Riding various objects such as branches and rails all sound distinct from one another. And hey there are even some good shouts of pain coming from the falling boarders. Oh and I almost forgot, there are some really funny voice samples in here. When I first started playing the game and was falling everywhere, I heard from a distance another boarder yell ?Hey! Why don?t you take up skiing!? and boy did I almost pie my pants. Anyways, Amped does what Microsoft has been promoting. They actually did a good job on the sound department. I guess all these separate processors in the Xbox are being put to good use after all.


Well this game sure is purrty. Boarder animations while a little on the stiff side move and swivel in a very believable fashion. It?s just cool seeing your boarder?s torso twist when you?re performing a 50-50 grind. Boarders are well detailed and every article of clothing right down to the stitching looks like its real life counterpart. It?s almost sickening the amount of customization you can do in this game. There are even tons of great Snowboard labels to equip your boarder with. Brands like Nixon, Dragon, Sessions, and Volcom are all here for your Snowboarding pleasure. There is also a big list of pro-riders in the game who all look pretty close to their real life duplicates. You can plays as great such as Jeremy Jones, Mikey Leblanc, Jason Brown, and Bobby Meeks. But on to the most beautiful part of Amped. The mountains are literally breathtaking. There is no draw distance in this game what so ever. You can be at the top of the mountain and beable see the bottom if you look hard enough. And that?s not saying that the hills are small. No they are massive. You can go almost everywhere. Through freshly groomed pipes and slopes to the powder filled backcountry Amped has got it all. Each and every mountain is detailed pretty much right down to every flake of snow. It?s almost brings a tear to your eye. Just gorgeous!


Suggestions:
Fix the learning curve!! The controls can be a bit more precise and more forgiving and better laid out. Throw in a few more tricks. Add good multiplayer modes to the next game, not that HORSE style game that?s in this one. Online would be a dream come true! Besides these things amazing job! Microsoft impresses me more and more with every release. That is as long as they don?t release another Fuzion Frenzy, but that?s beside the point.


Overall: 9.0 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 9.0 / 10

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