Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all enjoyed your holiday season. A few months ago, I had just found out that Amplitude was getting a reboot for PS4, and since then I’ve been counting the days until its release. Like I mentioned in my last article, Kickstarter Backers for the game got early access, but on January 5th, Amplitude was released to the masses.
The first Amplitude was actually a sequel to a game called FreQuency. Harmonix developed the original Amplitude, which was released back in 2003. It became a cult classic, but was a commercial failure. For my friends who aren’t familiar with the series, I’ve been describing it as sort of the grandfather of Guitar Hero. There are definitely similarities between the two. In both games you’re presented with a moving lane of notes. Hit the notes and you’ll progress through the song and earn points. Miss the notes and you’ll lose energy and eventually fail the song.
In Guitar Hero, you only have to worry about one lane of notes. In Amplitude, you have to worry about SIX lanes with three rows of note gems on each. Each lane represents a different layer (synth, drums, guitar, bass, or vocals) of the song you’re playing. For me, this makes the game way more challenging than Guitar Hero. If you’re not paying close attention, it’s really easy to miss notes and lose your multiplier when changing lanes. This also adds an element of customization to the game. You can play each layer of the music in any order that you want. If you think that the song you’re playing would sound cool with a vocal lead in followed by the guitar, you have the freedom to make it happen.
I’ve been stuck on this game since the day it was released. Nostalgia probably has something to do with that, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say this game is great fun. The two main modes of the game are Campaign mode and Quickplay. In the Campaign mode, you play through a list of 15 songs. Each song represents a step in the journey through the mind of an unconscious patient. As you play through the setlist, the songs get faster and more intense. As you unlock songs in Campaign mode, they become available in Quickplay mode as well. It doesn’t matter what difficulty you play on, and minus the three bonus songs, your score doesn’t matter either. This means that there’s not really much replay value in the story mode. I honestly played through it once and haven’t touched it since. The other 15 songs can be unlocked by just playing Quickplay mode. The soundtrack of the reboot is longer than the original, but I’m still hoping that we see some DLC with more music in the future.
While the previous installment of Amplitude had songs from a lot of big artists like Blink 182 and Slipknot, most of the music in the reboot was produced by Harmonix musicians. I was a little wary of this when the songlist was released a few months ago, but I was pleasantly surprised. The soundtrack in this game consists mostly of electronic music, which I am definitely a fan of. Out of the thirty songs, there’s only one that I can say I don’t like.
Visually, this game is beautiful. The backgrounds are colorful and trippy and they seem to fit perfectly with the game’s music. That being said, I didn’t really notice the backgrounds until I was watching someone else play. So even though they’re really bright and psychadellic, they’re never distracting.
Harmonix wasn’t lying when they said that this game would challenge newbies and Amplitude veterans. This game gets HARD. After getting my butt kicked over and over, I went searching for a practice mode. There isn’t one, which is definitely a con for me. It would be way easier to improve and get past tricky parts of songs if we were able to practice and play through them at a slower speed. Instead you just have to keep replaying the whole song and hope that you get lucky.
Like music games, the gameplay gets repetitive and the only way to really spice things up is to either increase the difficulty or play with a friend. Even so, I’d say that if you’re a fan of the original Amplitude, you’ll enjoy this game. If you’ve never played the previous titles but you like music games, and you’re a fan of electronic music, you’ll probably like this game as well. If you’re on the fence, definitely play the demo! If you don’t like any of the three playable songs, then this game won’t be for you.
As of January 5th, Amplitude is available for PS4, and it can be downloaded from the Playstation Store for the fair price of twenty dollars. If you only own a PS3, you’re in luck. Harmonix has confirmed that Amplitude will see a PS3 release this Spring.