Voice Module








In Memory
Sean Pettibone

The first thing you notice about Amplitude is how much it resembles Frequency in its play mechanics, controls, and presentation. While new players shouldn't be intimidated, veterans should be able to jump into the new game immediately without looking at the manual. Amplitude's high-octane interface, play modes, and graphic approach should be quite familiar but the overall look and feel has been enhanced. As in Frequency, the object of the game is to build songs track by track until they're complete. As you begin, you see a series of orbs. These orbs represent notes sliding down the tubes. Once the orbs reach your target, you can zap them by pressing one of three buttons. The notes come down in left, right and center and pressing the corresponding button will capture them. Chaining these notes together successfully forms bars. Beating two bars in a row will complete that section of the track, and you can move on to the next section. Each track represents a different instrument such as synthesizers, guitars, drums, vocals and bass. Once you complete a section, you can move on to another area, to build up the track with additional elements. However, you may have to go back and restart a section, since these tracks won't last forever. The more chained notes you catch, the higher your score goes and you can enable the score multiplier when you chain several bars together. However, missing a note will cause your energy bar to decline. When the indicator goes down to zero, the game is over. However, during each game, there are checkpoints that restore your energy when you pass through them. Additionally, you can catch special power-ups including slow motion and auto-completes, which can help you along the way. During the course of the game, players will visit one of the five different virtual game worlds, and can unlock additional levels and tracks later on.

This is very similar to how the gameplay worked in Frequency, but the developers have included a few enhancements to make the game feel fresh. At the end of each level, players will now face a boss level, which is going to be harder and very different from the tracks that precede it. Amplitude will also include a more advanced remix mode that should give players more flexibility when it comes to imprinting their unique styles onto the track by remixing the songs. While this is a music game, that doesn't mean your reflexes will be wasted since the action at later levels resembles a frenetic shooter. Each track has several levels of difficulty and while the basic levels are easy to complete, players will find the later stages to much more challenging.

As in the first game, you select an avatar, called a Freeq, who is you alter ego in the game. However, the Freqs actually animate this time around and dance in time to the music. Additionally, players can unlock extra Freq elements such as clothing, sunglasses, and crazy hairdos to add more personality to them. The biggest change in Amplitude comes with its cool new gameplay modes. In addition to the standard game, players can now battle it out against another player in either co-operative or competitive modes. In co-operative mode, players work together to build up tracks while playing competitively, the object is to outscore an opponent. There is also a new challenge mode where two players compete against one another to create the coolest remix of the track. That's not all because the single biggest change in the new installment is the addition of online play. This allows players to compete against the entire country and will let them trade remixes with other players. This should really add a new dimension of fun and increase the game's replay value substantially.

While the general approach is similar to the first game, Amplitude's visuals seem a bit more robust this time around. The most immediate difference are the backgrounds which are more elaborate and detailed than in the first game. Amplitude will also feature more and different special effects that give the game added punch and intensity. However, the biggest change from Frequency will be the music itself. While Frequency focused intently on electronica, Amplitude will feature a much broader array of artists from different genres. The game will include 25 songs in all and the roster includes an eclectic mix of well-known artists including David Bowie, RUN-DMC, Pink, Garbage, Dieselboy, POD, Weezer, X-ecutioners, and, Blink 182. Even some obscure acts such as the rappers Quarashi will also make appearances to give the game a more inclusive soundtrack. This might give the new game a better shot at appealing to a wider audience but the essence of the fun should remain intact. Amplitude is a highly polished and undeniably cool music game and based on our early impressions, carries the series forward faithfully. We're already impressed with the excellent track selection, intuitive controls and, smooth gameplay, so watch for our complete review when Amplitude hits shelves.

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Amplitude: Final Review (PS2)
Frequency (PS2)
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