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Amplitude

Developer: Harmonix | Publisher: SCEA
Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Release Date: 03/24/03 | Genre: Music

When most people think of the music genre for videogames, a game like Parapa the Rapper or Dance Dance Revolution come to mind. While both of these games are fun in their own right, they are not even close to matching the greatness of the Harmonix's latest outing.

Amplitude is the sequel to the 2001 sleeper hit Frequency. It wasn't too popular as far as sales were concerned, but it had created a following of people who were completely addicted, myself included. Amplitude improves upon the last game, and is worth every penny whether you like this genre or not.

The gameplay in Amplitude is the basically the same as Frequency, which is a great thing. The point of the game is to rebuild a song without running out of energy. Players start down a series of tracks controlling a music catcher, which must shoot the stones of music at the correct time to output music for that particular track. To do this you use three buttons, notably L1, R1, and R2, though you can customize which buttons you wish to use. Every track represents a different part of the song. For example, one track represents Vocals, while another is guitar, and other drums, etc. It may not sound like much, but you really must experience the game to feel the beauty of it and know how addictive it can be.

When you first start the game, before you play any songs you must create a Freq, which is an avatar of sorts. It is different from the Freqs in Frequency as this time around they are completely 3D and not 2D as Frequency had. You can choose from different heads, legs, arms, etc, and really customize them they way you want them to look. Once you get into the game there are over 25 songs, with 4 different difficulties, and a few different game modes to choose from. In Solo play you can choose from Campaign or Remix modes. Campaign is the main game mode, where you must beat songs to obtain bonus songs and new parts for your Freq. In Remix mode you can mix-up your own songs by changing the rhythm, bpm, and other areas to play later on, or even face other people with it online. There is also a much improved Training mode, which will ease beginners into the whole experience, including a separate training mode for learning how to remix. And also new for this year is a soundtrack mode where you can listen to all the songs that you have unlocked, a feature that many Frequency players wanted to see.

In Multiplayer mode you and 3 other people can choose a few different modes to battle it out in. You can choose from the regular mode, where you must rack up the most points in a song to win. You can also play in remix mode where you and some friends can remix songs in the same way that it is done in single player. And new for this year is a Duel Mode where you must match a friends sequence on a track while receiving a letter from the word Amplitude for every time you fail at doing so, working much in the same way as HORSE does.

A welcome addition for this year is the online mode, and this is where the lastability of this game really shows. When playing online you can host or join a game with many different lobbies to choose from. The game includes full USB keyboard support which you can use in the lobbies, and also before and after a game. If you don't have a USB keyboard then you can still use an on-screen keyboard, though it is a lot slower and if you have the cash it is really worth investing in a keyboard. Online retains all the same modes as multiplayer contains with an all new ranking system so you can look for people with as much or as little skill as you. Playing online is where most people will definitely be once they finish the main game. And as it supports both Broadband and Phone line, you have no excuse for not playing this amazing experience online with others.

The visuals are really something special and unique. It creates a Tron-type atmosphere through 6 different environments. There is always a lot going on in the background such as videos, spinning shapes, and lightning. Some of which, like the lightning and flipping shapes actually react to your button presses, and follow the beat of the music. Though it does have the same look to Frequency, Amplitude's environments are a lot more detailed and polished.

The music in this game doesn't disappoint one bit. It is a mix of all genres of music including Electronic, and Rock. Though the music has seemed to turn some off because of it turning more mainstream then Frequency was, the songs that were chosen are still all fun to play, and in the end that's what really matters. Still, what ever your music preference might be, there is most likely something for you here.

Amplitude is, without a doubt, my favourite PS2 game yet, and I really can't see any future game taking that title until the next game from Harmonix. This game has everything, whether it be online play, killer music, flashy graphics, addictive gamplay, or innovation there is nothing that this game is missing. I haven't been this addicted to a game since Frequency, and before that Tetris. Please, to everyone one who reads this, do yourself a HUGE favour and buy this game. If this review doesn't convince you, then telling you that Amplitude has completely prevented me from playing Zelda TWW might, because it's true. Anyone can play it, as its easily accessible but incredibly hard to master. Infact, as I speak, my mother is calling me to go play the game with her as she seems completely addicted as well. Anywho, I better get back to playing, maybe I can beat her this time ;) .

By David Doel - 04/03/03
ESRB Details: Mild Lyrics
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Screenshots for Amplitude

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