Monday, June 22, 2015

Amplitude Is Amplitude, But New?

Getting to play Amplitude at E3 was no easy task, it had one spot in the Sony booth and was hidden behind a display. It wasn't until day 3 of E3 I had the time to find it, only after asking via Twitter where it was and getting directions.

Playing it was like turning on my PS2 and looking at some magically updated graphics of the game. Now worthy of an HD television the game shines with a new look, different vehicles to choose from, none of which change anything and new songs, some from bands from the original and new songs that fit the style.

I was in heaven playing it both by myself and against opponents. Up to four when it comes out later this Summer, hopefully. The music with beat set-up continues to "wow" after so many years as I pilot a spaceship through a psychedelic space sometimes against friends and myself based on how hard I choose to make the level.

I talked with Annette Gonzalez, Product Manager for the game and Harmonix. And wasn't that happy to find out they're weren't that many updates. "So the new power-ups are actually the old power-ups with new names, " she tell me.

What? That's what I thought there and now that I think about it. There's no new power-ups? That's kind of a letdown. The new looks for the moves and new names don't make up for some innovation. Auto-Blaster is now Cleanse and Slow-mo is Sedate, so new names, but no new power-ups, pff.

Blasting my friends online with a fast enough Internet connection will have to suffice for now. That knowledge that I'll be able to pick up a controller at my place, put on the game and then beat my friends as we break down a song of all its elements keeps me going.

Annette was telling me the game is more of a 3.0 version as the graphics have been so updated. I asked if there was a secret 2.0 version that Harmonix might have create between then and now. She told me maybe, followed by a no.

Then another shocker, Freqs are dead. Your avatar, you made, that got pieces from playing Amplitude was also dropped. Annette didn't seem happy about it either. Telling me the price point of it only being a t $20 game made them make sure the core game play mattered above any bells and whistles. Good-by Freqs!

Annette alluded about two things, "Fans have asked if songs from the original game will appear, " and told me nothing has been said about that yet, "but in some form." She also said, "There's definitely something for the crazy hardcore fan who have still been playing on their CRT TVs in recent years that they might find very challenging and really exciting."

"We have a revamped campaign ... in the main campaign you playing through a variety of songs composed internally at Harmonix, all of which that feature the same vocalist and they're sort of telling a story as you go along," Annette said of the main story. She says to look deeper into the songs and story.

She also tells me from a promised 16 songs at the start there somewhere over 25 now.

So Amplitude is really the same Amplitude maybe with a bit less going for it when it comes to customization. For fast-paced musical fun that doesn't require a plastic controller I'm still down to play. Let us forget the ill-conceived and awful to play Rock Band Blitz that was a sad attempt to make Amplitude.