Top-of-the-line boards, sweet-looking gear, hundreds of ski bunnies clamoring for a glimpse as you shred down the powder-covered mountain--these dreams become reality in Amped 2. As in the original, the goal is to use your boarding skills to make a name for yourself in the extreme-sports community. Tear it up on the world's top mountains during photo and video shoots and you're sure to impress a bevy of snowboard sponsors.
Amped 2s new "butter" combo system uses both nose and tail manuals to link tricks, and each park layout is designed to take advantage of this new feature. Once your skills are up to snuff, strap on an Xbox Live headset to dish out insults to other boarders online (up to eight players can be on the mountain at once) as you climb the worldwide rankings-- and don't forget to download additional courses, gear, music tracks, and single-player challenges.
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Snowboarding games usually aren't too concerned with realism...'cause, you know, where's the "extreme
Amped 2 follows the same structure as the original: create a boarder and win competitions to earn stat points, open new mountains, etc. There's no racing involved (aside from the multiplayer Trick Race mode); you're a wannabe pro freestyler, hoping to impress potential sponsors and get noticed by the media. Those who missed the first game may find the learning curve steep, though--some of the Photo and Pro Challenges, which require you to follow a pre-set course, are quite difficult. Aside from some minor (but welcome) control tweaks, Amped 2's biggest new feature is Xbox Live and XSN Sports support, so gamers can join online clans and organize competitions. But if you see me on the slopes, do not call me "rip-dog," bra."]
quite right. Casual freeriders should stay off these slopes: If you're not serious about nailing those sick-scoring combos, you won't get very far in this game. Xbox Live play is cool, but not the game's main draw (I've played most of these online modes in Tony Hawk). Amped 2 actually changes the action-sports game-play we're accustomed to by taking advantage of the analog controls. Now, you'll purposely want to slow down your tricks to make 'em more stylish. You may think, "Big whup" but it's about time we got a Hawk clone that doesn't play exactly like Hawk."]
This series has evolved into a competitive, visually stunning sim with plenty of flair. Amped 2's single-player mode throws you into the mix of a healthy snowboarding career full of photo ops and Tony Hawk-siyle goals. Skilled players will love questing for style points, earned by perfecting tricks in pseudo-slow motion, accentuating aerial form and grace over SSX3's spastic extremities. Factor in robust Live features and it's the best Xbox boarder.
I'll say right off that I'm a huge SSX fan. Totally unrealistic, massive trick combos, and insane levels are my bread and butter. However, I do like dipping into different games, and as a result, my attention fell on Amped 2. As far as snowboarding games go, from what I've always heard, you either like the SSX series, or Amped. The first game lacked a bit of the polish that generally pushes a game over the top in my eyes. It was more difficult to control than what I'm used to, and featured realism that I wasn't ready for. Looking at the sequel, I'd say that they managed to clean up all the problems the game may have had previously, but ultimately, slipped just a little on the polishing details.
First, you may struggle with the way this game controls, especially if you're used to arcadey sports titles. Of all the aspects of this game, I found the control scheme to be very difficult to get the hang of. In this iteration of Amped, there's a tutorial mode, but it's suffers from severe tack-on-itis, and is absurdly boring at times. Once you're unconfident enough to manage your first ride, you'll probably crash enough times to put your character in the hospital, so once again we'll be thankful for the virtual boarder who is always able to take a lickin' and keep on tickin'. Basically, what I'm getting at is how frustratingly difficult the control scheme is. It's hard to learn, using both analog sticks for a spinning and grabbing, a button that's both jump and accelerate, and another button just to do rail tricks. It's hard, but once you get used to it, it goes well with the feel of the game. Also, the developers of Amped 2 made a good nod to game design by using 'style', where you spin slowly to gather massive points, making your trick look cool in the process.
All in all, the best tips I could give someone just starting is to be careful of the trick system. You're not playing the same way you'd play SSX, so anyone making a transition from more arcade play games is going to have an adjustment period. Focus on pulling off one spin starting out, and don't plan on making a quad spin in this game. Get used to the controls, practice a lot with them, and you'll have a satisfying experience on your hands. Oh, and one last thing, ignore the tutorial if you can help it, it's a great way to get your hopes down instead of building them up.