previews\ Mar 6, 2003 at 7:00 pm

Amplitude - PS2 - Preview

As the colorful light images scroll across the screen, heads bob to the sound of music.  As the music intensifies, so does the gameplay.  Suddenly you find yourself trapped within it, almost as if you have become one with the music.  You are no longer playing the game -- you're a part of it.  This surreal sensation goes on until you realize that you've just hit 30 notes without even thinking about it.  Once your brain starts thinking, fear and anxiety take over, putting an end to your perfect score.  Still, you continue, knowing that eventually you'll be one with the game again.  Until then, you'll enjoy banging your head against the wall (to the beat of the music, of course) every time you lose.


Finally, after disappearing off of Sony's release list, Frequency, Sony's "other" music game, will go online.  Considered to be one of the most challenging music games ever created, Frequency took gamers on a difficult journey of music-making.  Notes (guitars, drums, vocals, etc.) would quickly scroll across the screen, requiring the player to hit them with insane precision.  Sony originally planned to release an online version of Frequency with the Network Adaptor.  For unknown reasons, that plan changed, and Frequency Online became Amplitude, a full-fledged sequel.


Amplitude's menu offers a few rare delicacies, including Garbage's "Cherry Lips."  If you're hungry for a more traditional meal, Blink-182's "Rock Show" is the perfect dish to satisfy your taste-buds.  I recommend that you order a plate of Quarashi for desert.  Their flavor, "Baseline," is an interesting mix of rock and rap.  I usually prefer a desert with a little more substance, but Quarashi is quite delish.


Also on the menu are Pink, David Bowie, P.O.D. and Run-DMC.  Not all of the songs have been revealed yet, so it's possible that other artists may be featured in the game as well.


And remember, whatever you do, don't tick off the waiter – otherwise, he'll be serving you Weezers.


After five minutes of play, it could be said that Amplitude is merely Frequency with new songs.  But I beg to differ.  Further inspection will reveal all of the game's little enhancements.  The developers have gotten better at blending the song with the on-screen notes, and while the game appears to be as challenging as ever, the difficulty was at a more logical level.  The final game will almost definitely have at least one song that will seem impossible to finish (until you actually complete it), but from what I've played of the game so far, I'd say it's a great improvement.


Although it wasn't available in the demo, an online mode will connect gamers to a world of musical battling.  Up to four players can get together online and attempt to play a song together, or battle to see who can play a song more professionally.  A ranking system is being implemented, giving the top players a reason to stay on top.  When you're not playing, you can be chatting with fellow Amplitude players via an exclusive online chatroom.  Even more exciting is what'll happen after the game is released – remixes of some of the songs will be posted online!


Slated for release later this month, Amplitude is another must-play game.  I hate to keep saying that, because I know that not everyone can afford to play every single great game that comes around.  But I used to scrape together pennies to rent games, and believe me, Amplitude is worth scraping together pennies for.  The demo is terrific (and can be found in the latest issue of the Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine), and the final version is going to be even better.

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