When it comes to snowboarding games on the Xbox, there are basically two choices: The SSX series or the Amped series. TheSSX series of snowboarding games are known for being a little more over the top; a little more unrealistic. You can pull off really insane tricks that you’d never see in real life, and your digital borders are even a little over the top themselves. The first Amped was considered by many gamers to be a more pure recreation of the actual sport. Not quite a sum, but far more so than SSX ever would be.
Amped 2 continues the tradition established by the original but adds a few new twists to keep gamers interested. The new ‘Snowskate’ mode is a feature that lets players make moves similar to skateboarding moves. There’s also a move called a ‘Butter’ that allows you to link tricks together for longer combos. The addition of multiplayer action on Xbox Live and XSN Sports is also a welcome addition to this great
If you played the first Amped, you should be able to just pick up a controller and dive right in. There are a few changes to the control system, but not to the point that you’ll have to learn a whole new control scheme to start playing. The basic feel of the game hasn’t changed, though at first things felt a bit ‘looser’. My border felt a bit squirrely at times, as I was getting the feel for the game. The left thumb stick controls movement on the snow, as well as spins and flips while in the air. The right thumb stick is used for grabs. Those who used the X, Y and A buttons for grabs in the first Amped will have to learn to use the thumb stick now. Grabs are only on the thumb stick this time. The triggers are still used for tweaks, and the B button is still used for board slides (Though this can be changed to the Y button if desired, in control options). One difference is that balancing while doing a boardslide used to be controlled by the left and right triggers. Balance is now controlled with the left thumb stick. This is also true when doing butters, stalls and hand plants.
The new controls players will have to learn are those used in snow skate mode. Kickflips, stalls, hand plants and the like can all be done with a combination of the X and/or Y buttons. Going on snow skate runs was really fun, and a nice change of pace to the classic snowboarding moves. I found myself looking for anywhere I could do a handplant or adding a kickflip or two to any trick combo I was pulling off. The implementation of snow skate, however, was a bit odd. Rather than simply having the option to turn snow skate moves on or off for any run in the game, only certain runs (Denoted by ‘SK8’ in the run name) allowed the use of snow skate. I’m not sure why the makers decided to implement the feature in this manner. Certain modes of Live play, however, do allow snow skate
during a session.
Gameplay itself was solid. Your border responds well to the controls, but can be a bit unforgiving at times, if a rotation is started too late or a grab is held a bit too long. One change that many players will like is the addition of a style scoring system. In the first Amped, your trick score was based solely on how many spin or flip rotations you did, how long you held your grab(s), etc. But no points were given for style or how well/poorly you landed. To gain style points, for a stylish spin or flip, you have to use finesse on the thumb stick. Rather than slamming it all the way over for a spin or flip, using finesse and pushing more gently will net you extra style points. Your score will ‘sparkle’ w/ an accompanying sound effect if you are earning style for your trick.