With EA’s SSX series being one of the hottest selling games on the consoles, it was no surprise that Microsoft would try their luck on snowboarding when they released Amped for the Xbox as a launch title. Amped was more of a simulation style snowboarding title that was pretty average in the initial release. Now Microsoft is bringing back to the title for a second try and it’s Amped 2, a very well-rounded snowboarding title for the Xbox.
When EA’s SSX hit the PS2 quite a few years ago, critics and fans alike heaped praises on it, and the game just took off like a wildfire. The one thing that SSX did so well was made a steady fast-paced arcade style snowboarding game, which was a blast to play. So Microsoft decided they needed a snowboarding title of their own, so they came out with Amped a launch title for the Xbox. The game had its moments but really didn’t match up to well with SSX. This is was mainly due to the game taking a much different approach then SSX, by concentrating more on style rather then quantity of tricks.
Amped 2 stays pretty consistent with basically the same array of game modes that were found in the first Amped. The modes include Career, Just Ride, Free Ride, and Multiplayer. The one big mode that people are really talking about is the Xbox Live support, which makes an appearance in this title. You get all the basic Xbox Live features as well as the XSN capabilities, which basically mean you’re going to get a lot out of this online mode. The online mode has a few different game types to choose from, which include a Just Ride Mode or a Session Mode. In the Session Mode you can choose from High Score, Best Trick, King of the Mountain, and Trick Race. The two ones that I found myself playing were the King of the Mountain and the Trick Race, both which have some great ideas that really are a ton of fun to play over Xbox Live. With all of that being said about the Online Mode, when it comes right down to it, this is the mode that really is Amped 2’s bread and butter.
The Career Mode is somewhat of a disappointment because it is basically a replica of what was found in the original Amped. Very little has been changed in the mode, and the basic structure is still all there. That’s not saying the career mode was bad, but it would have been nice to have some new things going on in the mode, and some more features/depth to the career mode would have been much appreciated.
With all of these modes you are going to have plenty of replay value that will be really keeping you occupied for quite some time. But in order to do that you have to want to play it, and that’s where the gameplay comes in. Like I mentioned earlier Amped 2 is nothing like SSX, but instead is more of a simulation style game that puts a lot of emphasis on style rather then anything else. So as long as you make the tricks look good you will be doing well in this game. Where Amped started to get frustrating Amped 2 does a nice job of cleaning things up and making things a little more user friendly. I really found that this was shown most in the landing of tricks which used to be a lot more difficult and now has been loosened up a bit. This is not to say that it’s an easy game but it’s a lot more user friendly then what it was in the Amped.
Controls of Amped 2 are pretty easy to get the hang of and after a few rides down the slope you will be ready to take on the challenges of Amped 2. For those who played the first Amped you will feel right at home and will have no problem picking up and playing this one.
When Amped was released as a launch title, it was not thought as being a great looking title, but it wasn’t overly bad either. The game still lacked a lot of detail, and most of the environments looked pretty similar which lead to a pretty basic looking title.
Amped 2 is one of those games that does a nice job of pulling through in all categories. The character models have been much upgraded from the original Amped, now the characters have much more detail and look a lot more "personal" then they were. But by far the most noticeable upgrade to the Amped title is the amount of work placed on the environments of Amped 2. The mountains of Amped 2 are very nicely detailed and are just extremely impressive. Everything seems to come together very nicely in Amped 2 and it really does look like they have put a lot of work into the graphics.
Overall there are still some things that need to work to really put Amped 2 over the top in the graphics department, but for the most part everything looks really good and it’s a pleasure to view this game.
Where Amped failed, Amped 2 starts to pick up the slack, and that is in the Fun Factor section. To put it simply Amped wasn’t really that fun, it was more frustrating then fun, and that was mainly because the gameplay was just trying to be to precise. Now in Amped 2 it is much more lenient and therefore really makes the game a lot more fun. The Xbox Live support also helps a great deal, and that was by far the most fun I had playing Amped 2 was on Live.
Amped 2 is quite frankly a solid snowboarding game that does a nice job of accomplishing what it went out to do. It’s no SSX, but it is Amped 2 and for what it is it is quite a good game. The Xbox Live support is superb and the Gameplay is solid, which makes for a really good snowboarding game. If you are looking for a Snowboarding title and SSX isn’t floating your boat, then I would definitely give Amped 2 a whirl.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.