Release Date: Out Now
Now here's a nice change of pace for those of us swamped by first person shooters, fighting and racing games. Amplitude is the second music-based game by Harmonix, their other (Frequency) being a minor hit last year. So, now I'll try and describe Amplitude then: You steer a "Beat Blaster" along a kind of rollercoaster Wipeout-style track activating (shooting) "Note Capsules" as they pass through your three sights. These sights correspond to the L1, R1 & R2 (or square, triangle and circle) buttons. These capsules link together to form a musical phrase (it could be the guitar, synth, bass, drums or vocal track of the song) , shoot them all to turn that phrase on, then skip to another track (each song has six tracks). Once they're all turned on the song will sound just like it should - but of course they don't stay turned on for ever, and if you keep messing up your energy gauge will empty and the song grinds to a halt. In order to help the faster or more complex tracks (and it's not always the fast songs that are the most difficult) you can pick up power ups to help you; Slow Mo, Autoblaster, Score Doubler and Freestyle to help you complete the song or score more.
When you start playing you can create your own profile and "Freq" character (or use a prefabricated one) and as you complete songs and arenas (groups of songs) you unlock more. There are four levels of difficulty (although the easiest "Mellow" setting was quite enough for me).
With 20 something songs by artists as varied as; P.O.D, Garbage, Run DMC, Weezer, David Bowie, Papa Roach, Slipknot, Blink 182 and Herbie Hancock's "Rock it" (a lot of you will recognise it as the "Showboat" music on Soccer AM) there's plenty of variety and if you're anything like us even songs that you wouldn't normally listen to can be fun to play along to.
You can play with 1-4 players (the multiplayer games are great fun but initially very confusing), and if you have Broadband and a Network Adapter you can even play Amplitude online!
It's really cool to hear how the addition of the various sound tracks effects the overall sound of a song (some definitely sound better without the vocals). The game may sound overcomplicated but it's not, and a training mode teaches you the tricks needed to amass the big scores that unlock the bonus songs. Amplitude is a visually dazzling mix of shooting, racing (well, steering anyway), rhythm action and music and there's nothing quite like it. An excellent chill-out game that tests your reactions and timing, and like most dance/rhythm action games can get as frantic as you like.
- Flashy, colourful and loads of different tunes.
- You might not like the music.
- You could say it's just another cleverly disguised rhythm action game.