Review by ChronosX

Reviewed: 11/24/03

Best Snowboarding Game on the Market

When Xbox made its first appearance in 2001, the original “Amped” was one of the debut titles and in my opinion one of the best reasons to own an Xbox. Unlike the majority of snowboarding games, “Amped” focused its gameplay on freestyle rather than mere racing like “Cool Boarders” or the over-the-top tricks of “SSX”. The only problem was the original “Amped” was far from a perfect game, it was littered with bugs and other annoying glitches. Now nearly two years later the sequel has finally arrived ironing out nearly all of the problems in the original and as it stands is quite simply the best snowboarding game on the market.

The core gameplay is what you’d expect from your average snowboarding game. All of the tricks you’d find anywhere else are here as well as grinding and big air. The control scheme has been altered for “Amped 2”, now the right analog stick is your trick button. Pressing it in certain directions performs different tricks while the triggers tweak the grabs to add more points. I must admit that it will take you at least an hour or so to get used to this, but once you get it down I really couldn’t imagine using it in any other way. Also new to the trick system are “Butters” and “Smooth Tricks”. The butter is essentially manuals, just like in the “Tony Hawk” series. You can pull these off while on the ground and can even link them together with tricks to gain combos. The “Smooth Tricks” is an interesting addition; it utilizes pulling off tricks with a more gentle touch. While performing 360’s or grabs by gently pushing the analog will make an additional point bar appear on the screen the longer you keep the smooth touch your points will skyrocket. This is actually a huge addition as it will come into play a lot, especially later on in the career mode when you need to beat high scores that look impossible.

The game modes consist of Career, Free Ride, Session, Split-Screen and Xbox Live. The career mode is pretty much the same as the original; you start up a game, create a boarder and jump right into it. The create-a-player is quite good to be honest, it’s not very deep but it offers a lot of very cool clothing and snowboarding options that you should have no problem making one to your liking. Just like in “Tony Hawk” you choose a mountain and are given various tasks to complete. With each task completed you move up in the worldwide rankings and unlock various hidden videos and new levels. The objectives for each mountain consist of high scores, pros, sponsors, photo-shoots as well as various others. In sponsor runs you must perform whatever trick it is the sponsor favors and maintain his attention by continuously pulling off tricks. Pro’s are the same as the original, you follow a pro rider down a mountain and must beat him in points at selected jumps and grinds. The photo-shoots are new to the series, and are a good idea, but just aren’t very fun. The basically have a set amount of points to beat and must trick through various rings, you miss a ring, or crash and you fail, as such this mode gets pretty annoying, especially later on in the harder levels.

The game now supports snow-skates which are basically snowboarding on a skateboard. The game doesn’t necessarily feel any different when riding one of these, but you get to pull off different tricks like kickflips and one-footed grinds which all look very cool. It’s a small addition but a nice one since it gives you a change of pace from typical tricks in snowboarding games.

“Amped 2” has a 2 player split-screen which was largely amiss from the first, and it works very well here. You and a friend can choose a mountain and just free ride for a set time limit, once you complete a run you simple restart at the top again even if you’re friend is still making his way down, so there’s no break in the action which is very nice. Yet easily the coolest aspect of “Amped 2” is the Xbox Live play. “Amped 2” supports up to 8 players online in one match and are completely free of lag which is just awesome. You can play a variety of game modes such a free ride, king of the kill which works like the graffiti mode in “Tony Hawk”, there’s also “Session” which is the best mode in my opinion. The main object try to out-trick your opponent in a variety of areas such as high scores, combos and media points, whoever has the overall highest points wins at the end of the time limit. It’s a simple game mode, but with 8 players, it can be very fun.

“Amped 2” looks and sounds great. The graphics have been significantly improved over the originals. The pros and created boarders look excellent and animate very well. The mountains are all very detailed and look gorgeous. The game also has an enormous soundtrack of songs from techno, punk, hip-hop and others, the amount of songs are insane and they all fit well with the game, but it also supports the custom soundtrack feature which is an obvious bonus.

In the end “Amped 2” is just overall a great game. It plays very well, the trick system is more forgiving now, and the new additions work very well especially the multiplayer aspect. If you have an Xbox and are looking for a must-have snowboarding game, you should find “Amped 2” a highly satisfying game. Not only is it easily the best snowboarding game for the Xbox, it’s also the best snowboarding game available on the market; certainly a must-have for this holiday season. See you on the slopes mates.

Pros:
+ Excellent Trick Engine
+ Well Designed Mountains
+ Freestyle
+ Xbox Live Supports
+ No More Annoying Glitches
+ Split-screen
+ Downloadable Content

Cons:
- Career Mode gets very hard
- 2 Player Split-screen over Xbox Live would’ve been nice

Graphics- 9.0
Gameplay- 9.0
Sound- 9.0
Overall- 9.0

Rating: 9

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