Game On: “Amplitude” gets an awesome reboot for new generation consoles
Long before developer Harmonix was made famous by creating “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band,” they made many music-based rhythm games. The two most popular were games called “Frequency” and “Amplitude.” Hamronix hasn’t revisited these series in years. Thanks to a successful kickstarter campaign “Amplitude” is back on the new generation of consoles.
Similar to newer games like “Rock Band,” “Amplitude” at its core, is a rhythm based music game. The main thing is the “note highway” where music flies at you and you have to match the beat in order to play the music and rack up points. The graphics are sharp and has a bright psychedelic vibe. The new generation of consoles allows for 60 frames/per second making for silky smooth movement and graphics. The graphics and designs are based on the music being played. As the beats change the design changes.
The music has always been the highlight of the “Amplitude” series, and the reboot changes the game with multiple music elements. Most of the music is based on electronic beats and techno sounds so if that’s not your type of music, you can still have fun but you won’t love the music. The real thrill is making your own songs thanks to the ability to remix as you play. There is a separate note highway for vocals, drums, and synths; you must switch between these to remix the song. As you play it adds layers to the music making it more complex and it sounds great. There is no instrument to play so you have to use a controller which feels different but once you get the hang of it you will be switching between tracks and remixing the song the way you want. Having so many different elements to control feels a bit chaotic but once you get the hang of it it’s not hard to get lost in the addictive gameplay.
“Amplitude” offers a lot of replayability, there are more than 30 songs to unlock as you play, most open up from normal progression but some are unlocked by getting high scores in the campaign mode which can be frustrating because you have to excel at every song in that block to win the track you want. If you mess up one song you will have to replay the entire thing to proceed which can be very frustrating. It is possible to lower the difficulty to unlock the songs you want but that limits the challenge making it feel like a grind. Even though there are many songs, there isn’t a ton of variety in the track selections. They are all electronic songs which can sound pretty similar and repetitive. There wasn’t a bunch of songs that really stood out. Having the ability to remix the song and make it your own is the best part and the thing that makes it addictive.
There are a few different game modes. “Amplitude” can be played single player or local multiplayer. The single player is straight forward and precise, if you played a “Guitar Hero” game you know what you are getting into. You have to match the long streaks of notes perfectly to rack up huge scores. There is also an unlockable “FreQ Mode” which can make the note highway circular which changes up the gameplay to be more like the game of “Frequency.” There is multiplayer but there is not online variation you can play in your living room with some friends with up to four players. A group of players can use power-ups to gain an advantage or they work as a team, but mostly it becomes a free-for-all.
I enjoyed my time with “Amplitude.” I liked the original from 2003 and I am glad this series is back. The gameplay is fun and I enjoyed making my own remixed version of songs. The graphics are beautiful and the addition of multiple note bars makes things more intense and frantic. If you are a fan of rhythm and music games you will love “Amplitude” even if you aren’t holding a plastic instrument.
Robbie Vanderveken is the digital operations specialist at The Times Leader. E-mail him at [email protected]
System: PS 3, PS4
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
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