Play to the beat in Amplitude

Reviewed on PS4

This Harmonix developed music rhythm game released early this year on PSN for PS3 and PS4. This game is a remake of a PS2 game of the same name, which in turn was originally a sequel to the PS2 game called Frequency. The game includes a total of 30 songs. 15 were composed by the developers and are used in the campaign mode of the game. Other song artists include the following: Freezepop, Symbion Project, Insomniac Games, and Wolfgun.

Harmonix used Kickstarter to gain a portion of the funds needed to make the game. They reached the goal amount 24 hours before the campaign’s end. Those who pledged up to $40 gained early access. Individuals who pledged up to $100 gained an exclusive green beat blaster and song track. It is understandable that it takes a lot of money to make a game. When pledges were spent to get early access, and the game releases for half the price–it seems like a bad deal to me. Even so, fans of the original games and this style of game were willing to fund the remake.

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Beat blasters are the vehicles that will run over the tracks. Without having funded the campaign there still is a choice between 4 other colors: orange, yellow, purple, and blue. They all have 3 unique shape blaster components connected through their respective color wiring. They are not named their color, each has a name of its own. My go-to beat blaster became the orange, or Raven. It may seem boring since that one is the first on the selection list but I had an easier time with it than any of the others. In reality there is no advantage to using one color over another besides preference.

The beat blasters run on the following tracks: drums, bass, synth, guitar, and vocals. Depending on the song, there might be multiple tracks for a song for one type of instrument and none for one or more of the others. Each track has a color of its own as well. Along the tracks, there are nodes to be hit as you approach with the blasters going to the beat of the music. Staying on one track is not an option. There are sequences that once finished will eliminate the track ahead for a period of time. To keep going, you’ll need to shift to another track. Without switching to another track means taking damage. Taking too much damage will end the song early. This means being aware of both the sequence you are on and the one you are about to go on to not miss any nodes is essential. Completing multiple sequences in a row starts a streak. Streaks will increase the points of each node that is hit up to the full 4X multiplier. The length of each sequence varies based on the difficulty setting.

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For those of you interested in getting high scores and on the leaderboards, there is that option; or playing with friends to either compete or work together on getting high scores on a song is available, too. I picked up the game to enjoy the music more than stress over getting the best scores on the highest difficulty. But, I did have some issues with the scoring system. I was excited when I got through a song without breaking my streak for the first time. The accomplishment died away when it showed that I still got a lower score than my previous run that did not have a perfect streak. It was a blow that made the effort unrewarding. I know the reason to why it happened at least. The scores are based on the nodes that are hit as well as the streak. Some areas of the tracks will have fewer nodes in a sequence than others. So, my streak was perfect, but the sequences I hit did not contain the highest amount of nodes.

By playing through songs, various items are unlocked. They are not automatically given, but they are spread around the tracks while playing through a song. During sequences, a section of nodes show the color and symbol of the item. By hitting all of those special nodes, will make the item usable by pressing ‘X’. Be aware of when to use it because gaining another item on the track it will replace the one already in possession. The item that I absolutely hate is sedate. The sedate item slows down the speed of the track for a set length of time. I originally thought it might be helpful to use on song that are faster paced. All it really accomplished was throwing off my timing making it harder to get make in the normal pace of the song.

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The pace of some songs is another reason why I choose not to bother much with increased difficulties. Some songs even on lower difficulties have been harder than songs I finished more easily on higher difficulties. I do test my abilities with higher difficulties, at times, only after I have gotten comfortable with doing the song. Taking it on a song by song basis is a much easier approach then tackling them all on advanced right out of the gate.

There is a story to the game. It doesn’t really show up in the game itself, at least not to the full extent as the online summaries give. But, the basics are that the Amplitude system is what you are using to restore a patient’s brain function. It can be experienced by going through the campaign mode. The campaign mode is separated into three regions. In each region there are five songs to play through. The fifth is only unlocked if the previous songs are done well enough. In the last song of each region, there will be the obstacle of needing to streak through barriers or damage will be taken. In the third region during the final two songs the tracks will become distorted, making it stupidly hard to hit the nodes properly.

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Anyone with extreme light sensitivity, or is prone to seizure issues, should not play this game. The track distortion was the hardest time I had looking at my television to play the game. During that time I used items just to rest my eyes for a second before having to jump back in. Even without that section, the game is full of bright, vibrant, and flashing color. This is the major reason why I only play it a short amount of time. After playing about four to five songs, I will stop the game and move to another or start something else. Between concentrating to hit all the nodes and the flashes of color, it gets to be too stressful for my eyes to take much more than short periods of play.

I keep coming back to it, though. It is a game that is good to relax to for a short while to maybe waste some time before moving to another task. While I take some issue with the scoring, I have accepted it. I originally got the game mostly to enjoy the music, and I still do. Each song is unique and not anything I would find on the radio where I live. This only made me like it more as it does not include major hits of the year that I will already hear anywhere else I go. I do give the developers some credit for taking creative liberties with the visuals of this game. Sadly, it doesn’t add much to the game experience besides some style areas. If you are still uncertain, there is a free demo. Test it out by playing through a few songs and see if it is a good fit for you.

Amplitude Review
Unique songs Cooperative-Competitive Multiplayer
Cannot play for long periodsScore System unrewarding
89%PS4
Presentation87%
Gameplay91%
Visuals85%
Sound97%
Value87%
Reader Rating 0 Votes
0%

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