Amped 3 Xbox 360 Review
Let’s face it, Amped 3 was never one of the 360’s most anticipated titles and even though they had some hardcore fans neither of the games predecessors set the world alight on the original Xbox. Amped 3 also bore the brunt of some harsh forumites’ posts on many forums as the game got slated with many “omgz Xbox 1.5 lolz” comments over the course of the last year. While there is some basis for all this hate and we all know that the game is never going to be the Xbox360’s killer app after actually playing the title I can officially label all of these people as unbelievably harsh as Amped 3 is fun. You’ll like this, not a lot but you’ll like it!
A pink bunny suit is not what you would call the perfect skiing attire but that is what you begin the game in. You may be wondering why you are in a bunny suit, well the simple answer to that is that you lost a bet, but the other reason for your costume and thankfully it is one that makes a bit more sense. With the bunny suit on you cannot see who the boarder is and after this weird opening you are thrown into the create-a-border option to find out just who exactly is under that pink bundle of fluff. It also should be mentioned that the create-a-border is surprisingly deep offering a nice selection of different option to created a unique border to call your own with gender, body type, tattoos, face and gear all containing their own options.
The story mode in Amped 3 is bonkers, crazy, totally out of this world, mental and the people who wrote it need psychiatric help. When you are snow boarding everything is relatively normal but when Indie Built decided that they need to try to link up each section of the game they added a collection of zany characters to come into play to advance the story. These crazed additions include some crazy soviet game show host, a ninja, pigs with springs for heads, a mad yeti, a French boy band and a video game manufacturer with bad thoughts on their mind. If these characters where not weird enough their story is tied together with scenes involving tabletop RPGs, something about Mexican mayonnaise and a Final Fantasy VII reference.
Then there is your crew, these guys ‘n gals are a bit more normal but still have their own personality. JDawg is the ambitious guy of the bunch, Sebastian is slightly more crazed. Then there is WeinerBoy who seems liked he’s has had one cup of coffee too many and finally there’s Hunter who is the tomboy girl of the group. At the start of the game your crew head to Chile while you go to Utah where you meet Dandelion who is keen on scrapbooking. This is where your career will be leading although strangely enough the snowboard aspect of the game leaves a lot to be desired.
I personally played a whole load of the SSX series on the PS2 and loved it I also played a lot of Amped 2 on the Xbox and also like what I played. Each game had its own distinct styles, while being polar opposites from each other but still managing to be fun. For Amped 3 it seems as if Indie Built were not confident enough to improve on Amped 3 and use their own ideas and instead took some idea from other extreme spots like Tony Hawk and SSX. As a result, in the game the control system feels a whole lot different than the last game and can take some getting used to.
Amped is still all about tricks though and the game still plays well once you get used to the new set up. For example you no longer need to tap a face button to attach to a rail to slide down it the game now does it automatically if you get close to one. Aerial grabs are still mapped to the X, Y, and B buttons so there’s no change there but you can do some aerial spins and flips by pushing the left analog stick and style can be added to your flips and spins by gently pushing on the left analog as well. Overall the snowboard aspect of the game is a lot more forgiving than the other two games meaning that it needs less practice to be good at.
Now you know how to control the game what are you actually going to do with this knowledge. Well first off, each mountain (of which there is six) in the game is covered in different challenges and there is a nice variety to pick from. These range from pulling off a trick in front of a camera, perform a better trick than a rival border, going through specific slalom gates in order and trying to collect icons within a set time limit and finally there are challenges to get a high score. There is also some sledding in the game to mess about with which can be fun!
Graphically, the title is an extremely mixed bag, at times it can look like a quality next-gen title and at others it seems like it just rolled out of the original Xbox when it launched all those years ago. A quick look at the screenshots will tell you that the game has a fantastic draw distance and it almost feels as if you can look miles off into the distance. The character models are also very well done and look great when standing still but then the bad stuff rears its ugly head. Firstly the game is home to some unsightly looking pop-ups and can be very noticeable if you are going down a hill a speed. Secondly some of the colours used in the game look very drab and the game can look very dull because of this. Some of the animations in the game are also of the very average nature and can look very silly and unrealistic at times. A great example of this is the crash animations that look downright ridiculous, show no sense of impact or pain and are very out of place. Anyways enough of the hating let me head back to the graphical plus point or more specifically, the menu screen which is expertly done and look and suit the games zany nature very well. The game also offers 720p and 1080i support which make all of the above look a little bit better but overall I would have to say the game is a disappointment in the graphics department.
Let start with the music which, like Amped 2, is full of many unknown artist which most people won’t have heard of before. Surprisingly most of these independent bands will grow on you over the course of play and you should find there are some fantastic tunes on the song list. Also in a shocking turn of events Amped 3 was one of the first launch games that did not make me connect my iPod to listen to my own custom tunes. In terms of sound effect the game as all the bumps and whooshes you would expect but nothing highly memorable or special. The voice work has some stand out moments but once again falls into the average bracket. The game also supports 5.1 but we have come to expect that from 95% of games nowadays
One major drawback the game has is that the rather interesting online mode that was included in Amped 2 has now be stripped down to a rather bare and ultimately not very fun online mode for Amped 3. Multiplayer is also relegated to a few measly co-op sled challenges, also the live aspect is just limited to just leader boards which does bode well for the game lifespan. You could have seen everything the game has to offer in well under a week which is not great value for money in my humble opinion.
Amped 3 is a fun game, it is by no means perfect, in fact it is far from it but it can be entertaining in short bursts. The story mode contains loads of madcap humour and is probably something you will remember (possibly for the wrong reasons) a few years down the line. The gameplay falters in many areas and the game could have done with a lot more polishing to get it up the scratch. I can’t really recommend the game to any set audience as Indie Built has decided to go a completely different direction with Amped 3 than what they did with previous titles in the series. Perhaps the best compliment I would give it is to say it is that right now it’s the best snowboarding game on the 360 but we all know that doesn’t mean a lot right now don’t we!
7.3 out of 10