Amplitude Review (PS4/PS3)

Amplitude for PS2 was a critical success, but not necessarily a financial success when compared to Harmonix’s other production known as Rock Band.  Rather than not take a risk and revive a game that could’ve been not financially soluble, Harmonix turned to kickstarter; and after raising $840,000 dollars on a kickstarter, the team has spent a year and a half creating a reboot to the cult classic.

Amplitudes art-style is a reflection of its music. Playing as an electronically bright and colorful starship, the player will blast through notes in an atmosphere that resembles the annals of what I could only imagine the inside of an arcade machine looking.  The look and feel of the artistic works increases the intensity and chromatism when taking into account the incredible animation.  Amplitude not only gave tribute to the original art-style, it polished everything that made it unique to a ridiculous level.  When I was enjoying this game, people would walk and look equally confused and intrigued, resulting in immense engagement from my spectators.  You can tell whether or not someone is doing good or bad without having even played the game prior to your viewing.  The craft towards amplitudes visuals is something that’s genuinely acute when paired with the incredible soundtrack.   

Music is situational; it can give us strong emotional responses or make us even more disinterested than we were before we listened.  And Amplitude focuses its soul with a handful of genres.  Rather than the diverse setlists of Rock Band, where even the most jaded of individuals could find a few songs to their enjoyment.  Amplitude is a tribute to the synth-pop and electronic genres of music, and if you can’t get through a piece by Freezepop, than this collection of tracks isn’t for you.  To me however, I enjoy this music greatly.  So selections like “Assault on Psycho-Fortress” and “Lights” (Shoutout to Wolfgun) really spoke to me and made my significant enjoyment of the game, presumably more than an individual who would not enjoy the nightclub compliant selection.

Amplitude is a rhythm game, but it’s not a precise rhythm game.  It’s not a single beat judging you on even the slightest inconsistency like in Superbeat: XONIC.  But rather similarly to Rock Band: Unplugged for PSP, you’re managing the multiple instruments to a selected track. Where in some other games, like the aforementioned Superbeat: XONIC; the skill predominantly lies in how accurate you can hit a note.  Comparatively in Amplitude, after blasting through a stanza flawlessly, the track will clear and you rapidly change to the next choral device in your apparatus.

The rhythm genre is my favorite genre, and amplitude can still be a challenge to me on the extreme and unlockable “super” difficulty.  I’m hopelessly addicted to the increasing learning curve of Amplitude, a campaign that introduces you with 15 songs that increasingly get more challenging, an unlockable mode called “FreQ” that overhauls the game to contextualize itself as Harmonix’s other previous rhythm game that predates Amplitude called FreQuency, and extra unlockable songs that are significantly more demanding than those found in the campaign.

Amplitude left a legacy on Playstation 2 gamers when it landed in 2002.  A niche game coming from a less-than-popular franchise resulted in a gimmical rhythm known as Guitar Hero, followed by the full-band peripherals of Rock Band.  None of those multi-million selling games would’ve been possible if it wasn’t for Harmonix’s love for developing rhythm games such as Amplitude and FreQuency. Amplitude 2015 is a beautiful salute that Harmonix executed in retrospect to creating core rhythm games.  They should be respected for taking risks; as an ode to their origin, and the fans that brought them to the “plastic-instrument” podium they stood on.

8/10

Review Code Provided By The Publisher

Marc Villa
the authorMarc Villa
What's up guys. My name is Marc and I am the Editor-in-Chief here @ PlayStation Insider. I have been writing about video games and tech since 2010. I have a strong passion for video game trends and all things buzzing in the gaming industry. Add me on Playstation Network "illmaticcrook"

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