Amongst a sea of franchise extensions and conversions lies the uber-kitch Amped 3.  In development since 2003 at the developer now known as Indie Built, the game represents 2K games only launch title, with NBA and NHL 2K6 to arrive in late January. How does the game differ from Amped 2 and has the transition from 1st party to 3rd party affected the game? Being a 1st party developer for the initial development phase has allowed the developer more time along with increased knowledge of the system. The result is an almost flawless game in every department, but before we evangelise further, let’s take a look at the unique aspects of the game.

From the outset the game impresses with a unique style reminiscent of the 16-bit era, where originality didn’t cost millions of dollars. A time when three guys coding in someone’s bedroom could end up creating a game such as Populous; going on to define a genre. While Amped 3 doesn’t define the snowboarding genre, what it does is set itself apart from every other sports title, snowboarding or otherwise. The game consists of numerous riders, each having their own unique graphical style. Sock puppets, stop-frame animation and 8-bit sprite characters are a welcome change for game presentation and something other developers should learn from. Sure it’s out there, and some players won’t get it, but it’s as unique as it is daring.

Graphically, the game excels with gorgeous backdrops and draw distances that go on as far as the eye can see. Not a single pixel can be found out of place in luxurious surroundings filled with huge, and I mean huge mountains. The level in detail in the snow alone is beyond anything seen In the series before, leading to a greater sense of realism. That’s where the realism ends, with the games unique style from it’s previous iterations carrying through to it’s next-gen outing, creating an experience unlike SSX, but more immersive than EA’s flagship boarder.

Sound wise, it’s the usual Amped collection of strange, yet addictive US based indie bands, but of course, with the 360, you’re able to stream from an external device or the hard drive, tailoring to the players needs. 5.1 Dolby digital surround for any FX can only add to a players experience, but to be fair, the effects aren’t really important to the series. It’s more the gameplay.

This reviewer has owned every version of Amped, so maybe I’m a little biased, but I’m quite sure it’s not just me. Everyone once having played the game has praised the presentation. The majority of those continued to praise the game after a few hours gamplay, because without a doubt, it’s the best mix of Simulation and arcade in the series. Longevity is never a a problem with the main offline mode the bulk of the game, offering at least 30 hours of gameplay for experienced users, while the ability to customise your own slope offer even more for the new recruits. add to this the addition of numerous comedy sleds, such as a coffin and a handglider amongst others, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a game.

With sumptuous visuals, accompanied by an awesome selection of music to get you through the endless hours of fun you’ll have with Amped 3. The only downside to the game is a lack of multiplayer modes, which did feature in Amped 2, but we can’t grumble about anything else. Once of the best launch titles for Xbox 360, and something to keep everyone happy until the second wave of titles arrives

Russ Clow

Russ Clow not only nearly shares his name with one of the best Gladiators around, but he also has a bundle of experience under his belt. Since a very young age he's been playing video games, and has been working in the video game industry for most of his working career. Russ is a secret Sony Fanboy, although he tries hard to hide it so as to keep his position as Editor-in-Chief. When he's not playing games, Russ likes to play football with the "lads".

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