Amped 3 Xbox 360
Published by 2K Sports
Developed by Indie Built
Release Date: Out Now
Amped 3, an introduction.
Amped and Amped 2 were great snowboarding games for the Xbox. To this day I still play Amped 2 (which I think was the better of the two) and I was thrilled to see a further Amped title for the launch of the Xbox 360. On its launch day one of the first games I put into the console was Amped 3 expecting something special. However, I was surprised to find the experience somewhat different from what I had expected. It's still a good game but so much has changed that in a lot of ways, it feels like a completely different franchise.
What's the game about?
You'll begin the game with your gang hanging out at resort before you head off to Chile. You'll begin having to ride down a slope in a pink bunny suit (wacky I know and it's a sign of things to come). The planned vacation to Chile goes a little pear shaped and things don't turn out as originally planned. Suffice to say that from this point the game gets crazier and crazier. You can even throw snowballs at the other snowboarders and compete in events where you have to chase Easter eggs down the slope.
What's good about the game?
Whilst Amped 3 isn't your usual trick-based snowboarding game and it's certainly far from being in the same vein as Amped 2, there's a definite uniqueness about the game that does deserve praise. The developers obviously wanted to give gamers an experience that they hadn't had before and in this respect the game certainly succeeds. It's obvious right from the start that the game doesn't take itself seriously and the aim here is just to have fun. If you've yet to play a snowboarding game and want an experience that's not going to frustrate you then Amped 3 is definitely the place to start. There are even challenges where you are on a sled and have to perform spectacular crashes to cause as much damage to yourself as possible. It's all completely insane but more accessible than previous games in the series.
What's not so good about the game?
Amped 3 has such an offbeat feel to it that you'll be lost for words the first few times you play the game. Those expecting a game along the lines of Amped 2 will be disappointed. The control system has been seemingly dumbed down. The right analogue stick, which was essential to the trick system in Amped 2, has been relegated to a look camera control. It's a mystery as to why this has been done as Amped 2 pretty much had perfect controls and didn't need any altering. There's no Xbox Live mode in Amped 3 which is disappointing. Whilst the game stands up pretty well as a single-player title (there's a certain amount of co-op play here too), the inclusion of online play would have added replay value to the game.
How does it look?
Unsurprisingly one area where Amped 3 trumps its prequels is in the visuals. Amped 3 looks great and head and shoulders above what Amped 2 had to offer and it should be, given the graphical power of the Xbox 360. If you happen to play the game through a PC monitor that's not running at 1280x720 (the default resolution of all Xbox 360 games), you'll find the graphics look stretched. When played on a TV or widescreen display there are no such problems. The character models all look good, if not a great deal better than we've seen on the original Xbox. What does stand out though is the presentation of the game. There are so many differing and wacky styles here, ranging from the psychedelic to the arcade graphics of yesteryear, that you'd think it would all be one heck of a mess; somehow though it actually works. Some of the cutscenes are even crudely performed with action figures, which looks really crazy. On the technical side of it the frame rate is rock solid and the load times are respectable. There are clipping issues though and you'll notice your character go straight though other people and through certain (but not all) solid objects such as trees, which is a little disappointing.
How deaf gamer friendly is the game?
Unfortunately the game's story mode is disappointing for deaf gamers in that it's not subtitled. This doesn't cause any problems as such, as all the objectives and tutorial messages are shown in text (meaning you'll have no problem progressing in the game) but it does mean when you do enough to move the story forward, you'll not be able to enjoy the cutscenes that tie the action together which is unfortunate. When you're on the slopes there are various comments (of praise and sometimes of derision) and these are also not subtitled.
Amped 3 is probably about as offbeat as you can get. The presentation of the game is just so bizarre that you want to keep playing the game just to see what style the presentation is going to adopt as it seems to continuously change. Concentrating on how the game plays, Amped 3 definitely makes it much easier to perform tricks than previous games in the Amped series. Fans of Amped 2 will be disappointed that the well balanced control system from that game has been thrown out for a simplified one. Personally I prefer Amped 2 for its much more structured game play but Amped 3 certainly has a charm about it and even though it's just so wacky in places, it's definitely a game that keeps you playing.
Overall Game Rating: 7.4/10
Deaf Gamers Classification:
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An absolutely wacky snowboarding experience that really feels miles away from being a member of the Amped series. It's enjoyable nevertheless and without a doubt you won't have played anything like it before.