Amped Freestyle Snowboarding & SSX Tricky
Extreme sports simulations have been a big part of Sony PlayStation popularity. Snowboard holds a special place in the history of the PS1, especially with the popular series Coolboarders published by SCE (four versions released). Knowing the attraction Americans have for these sports, and the definite "hardcore gamer" positioning that Microsoft wants for its console, it was inevitable to see games strongly using this sector.
Amped is one of the games developed directly by Microsoft. Right away, you will be amazed at the graphics quality and technical results. It is by far the most beautiful Snowboard game ever released on a console. SSX Tricky falls short to Amped in graphics. This title shows the console's advanced capacities in graphics and animation.
The player modeling is perfect and the environment adds to the realism. Be aware of the quality of textures used for the settings and other elements of the game, all without clippings. The snow particles are very convincing, with photo-realistic quality. Amped offers a surprising amount of depth, like never seen before on a console game. The playing environment is also different from other simulations published before. Downhill racing no longer has boundaries. Instead, it takes place on whole mountain sides, modeled after real american slopes. The result is: you feel a real sense of freedom when you're racing downhill and most of all, the possibilities are endless. Each track can be played many different ways. The sound is just as convincing with great surround effects in 5.1 like the camera flashes going on around you.
Amped takes advantage of a fabulous gameplay. You can do lots of tricks and the game lasts a long time, especially since it is always fun to go back to a trick that has been mastered before, just to raise the points...As the game evolves, you can unlock new levels, you get skill points, new gear and clothes. That lets you personalize your boarder and his game style.
However, unlike SSX Tricky or Coolboarder, accessible to any new gamer, Amped requires a minimum of practice time before you can play the game fully, with all the subtleties. The first run-throughs are really disappointing, and the novices among virtual gamers are sure to do many faceplants in the snow before doing their first tricks. In this sense, Microsoft's title is closer to the simulation spirit than to an arcade game, requiring for example a good sense of balance, during take-off and landing, and a perfect synchronization in order to do the tricks. But when you start mastering the game, it becomes difficult to stop...