Amped 3

01 Mar 06

Publisher: Take 2    Developer: 2K Sports      Released: 23rd March 2006      Players: 1 – 2 / online    Rating: TBC        

Immediately, upon looking at the visuals of this game – you can say that Amped 3 is whacked. The visual presentation is by far one of the most creative, if not the most crazy way of packaging menus and cinematics. Amped 3 is incognito because on the surface it seems like a typical snowboarding game, which it is, but once you get rolling you’ll realise this game is dope - or at least on dope. I won’t go deep into the details because that would spoil the surprise, but I’ll mention a few things you will see. Gnomes, dudes in chicken suits, barbequed babies, multi-headed dragons, snow sharks, ninjas, cat girls, hand puppets ... and maybe a snowboard thrown in there somewhere. It doesn’t make much sense really and even after finishing the game I’m still puzzled - but at least I enjoyed the ride.
Now before I get to the actual gameplay, I want to note that I am a huge fan of the original Amped games on the Xbox, and Amped 3 was one of my most anticipated 360 titles. I know a lot of critics and gamers were taken aback by the new direction, and honestly I can see why, but that doesn’t mean I would change anything about Amped 3. The game has given us more than just snowboarding - it has put a humorous coat of fun around the whole experience. A bold move and I salute the developer for taking a chance. Beyond the craziness, Amped 3 does offer a solid snowboarding experience. The beauty of the game is that it still keeps up with most of the high demands from the original Amped series even though the game has been retooled. The first thing you will notice is that the interface is different, from how you control your boarder to how you navigate through the game. Gone is the old style of listings of broken down challenges. It has been replaced with a free roaming style where you can go anywhere on the mountain and perform challenges. The reason this works is because the mountains are absolutely huge, breath takingly beautiful and filled with stuff to do.
Amped 3 is broken into many different challenges, and the core ones remain the same as the old games. You still have Media Call Out, Lords of the Board, Magic Circles and Sponsor / Sellout plus some new interesting challenges like Impress the Hottie, Low-Rider, Kitty Cleanup, Samurai Slalom, Mobilize Challenge (on a snowmobile), and Sled Trauma. Sled Trauma is the most interesting addition and is basically an event where you ride to your death on an extremely unorthodox item. For example there is a Toilet, Coffin, Rocking Horse, and Mattress that you can ride on plus some other bizarre entries. Sinfully addictive and fun as you launch yourself off a cliff into a pile of rocks – especially with the rag doll physics on your boarder as he crumples and twists in a heap.
The only real issue with Amped 3 is that there is no online mode besides Xbox Live leaderboard support.  However, I can safely say that this third instalment has gained new life under 2K Sports and while they embraced the weird they also give us a solid snowboarding experience.

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