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Xbox 360 Review: Amped 3

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Even if in some fantasy realm you managed to beat Amped 2, Amped 3 is not a game for you. The same goes for fans of the initial game in this series. As such, the radical departure from the realistic snowboarding action portrayed in the entries on the original Xbox has been wiped clean, and what we’re left with is a goofy, strange, oddball, wacky, and easy-playing title that wants a bigger portion of the market to experience it.

Assuming you’ve slaughtered hundreds of hookers in GTA, understood the storyline in both Katamari Damacy’s, and track down the latest Cho Aniki title from Japan when they’re released, you’ve never seen anything like Amped 3. Characters in this game’s disturbingly funny cinematics include a Russian talking hand (complete with beard) and a pig’s head on a platter. There may be some story to it all, but you’re either laughing too hard to remember what happened or so turned off by zaniness you find yourself continually reaching for the start button to skip them all.

To reject the game based solely on the storyline is missing out on a game that will struggle desperately to gain its due. While the tricks are easier to pull off, this is still Amped underneath. Frustrating challenges from the first two games have been removed, and in their place are different frustrating challenges. You’ve never truly experienced a controller-tossing game until you’ve attempted to earn gold in the Magic Rings challenges, complete with trippy, almost taunting music reminding you of how evil this product truly is.

Aside from the story, you’ll compete in a variety of challenges, some of which even encourage smashing your body to earn points. Yes, this is that big of a departure for the series. What’s easily missed is the technological feat of Amped 3. Make all the arguments about how the games don’t look like a major leap, but this is what next-gen gaming can do, and it has nothing to with graphics.

There’s a distinct lack of menus in Amped. Aside from character item swapping and mountain moving, you’ll never see one once in a game. Entire mountains are loaded in a matter of seconds, and the map isn’t just a 2-D picture. It’s the same thing you’ll be shredding on in a matter of seconds, complete with every tree, ramp, and challenge. Zoom in and take a look if you’re not sure. It’s incredibly cohesive as an experience, and it’s something the Xbox never could have done.

That’s not saying this is a flawless system. It’s downright aggravating in certain spots. Since you can’t select a challenge and enter it, you’ll need to get your rider to his/her/other destination using the main game engine. Even with the option to use a snowmobile, it can take some time to land at your chosen locale, especially when being clipped by trees, avoiding other riders, or hitting a ramp awkwardly. There’s no excuse for not offering the ability to drop into a challenge, at least when you’re a certain distance away.

Thankfully, the core snowboarding mechanics are still locked in place. They’ve been simplified drastically, so if you struggled to beat anything in the first two Amped’s, you’ll only stop a few times here. Spinning and flipping is far easier, along with everything else. Grabs feel natural, and the amount of rail grinding has quadrupled (to be conservative). It almost feels like you have to try to actually wipeout sometimes due to the generosity of the developers.

Nearly everything you’ll be doing will be done solo. Multi-player modes are barren, and even though it seems made for it, don’t expect to hop on Xbox Live with friends. There’s no option to do so. It’s likely all the time spent tweaking this and creating the insane cinematics took all the time developing this one, but that’s still no excuse in this day of delays. If Nintendo can delay Zelda, 2K Sports can hold back Amped 3 to add some multi-player.

Amped 3 crashed into an awkward place, somewhere where game designers try and figure out what direction they want their franchise to go. It’s ended up in two extremes, one experience left solely for the hardcore, and the other for, well, we’ll never be sure exactly who Amped 3 was targeting, but it’s different enough to become overlooked and under-appreciated. It’s worth a shot if you know what you’re getting, have an acquired taste, and you don’t mind the rather startling absence of acceptable multi-player.

Amped 3 is a rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Crude Humor, Mild Violence, Suggestive Themes.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.
  • BlackBeard269

    Hey! I have the old xbox and its kicked up. I have the X-BIT chip insla;;ed and a 120GB drive installed and evry emulater and rom ever made installed and i have about 35 Xbox games on root f/HDD And a totel of well over 5,000 games. And its a lot other things you can also do with it. My question is i know the graphix are better but is it really worth it to get the xbox360 man another box to hack:} I just can’t see buying it but i know how i am i have every console ever made but one and i cant remember the name. I play the xbox like evry day right now playing call of duty 2 and the graphix look like they match the 360. Now if they could do that to all there games and give us more first person real life games that would be great. But i also play Nintendo on the xbox i love the side scroll games.

  • BlackBeard – I don’t know where you are going with that. But why are you asking us if it is worth it? It is. Not only are the retail games system sellers, the Arcade titles are too.

    Matt – There is very little tree clipping in this game. Less then SSX (name the version) and far less then Amped 1 or 2. But I do agree that the snowmobile-for-10-miles-to-get-to-the-next-challenge thing gets to a be a bit much. Especially when you need to snowmobile up hill because you careened off the mountain trying to get to the challenge in the first place. Those frustrating moments are far and few between. And if you actually take the correct rout to the challenge, it is rather painless. Finding the correct rout sometimes becomes a challenge, however.

    But the challenges on the second mountain are not hard, once you get to the seventh mountain they get a bit rough – but by no means Tony Hawk frustrating.

    The story alone sells this game. The controls are very forgiving, even more so than SSX, and the amount and variety of challenges is staggering.

    The fact that they themselves make fun of Amped 2 so much in the game is just brilliant.

    Online play would most likely only consist of trick challenges. Those get boring really fast. The game is not setup like SSX 3 where racing online was such fun.

    Not having an online mode in SSX On Tour was a crime, not Amped 3. Although in this day and age, it does seam a bit odd, doesn’t it.

    I cannot fault a game for features it does not have. Amped 3 has brought with it many hours of game play, many times in sessions of more then four hours. When I completed the main story, taking me about 15 hrs. to do, I still had 50% of the game to complete.

    The 180 degree turn and the very accessible game play deserve more then 3/5. It has flaws that drop it from a 5/5, however. My score is 4/5.