I played a lot of Amplitude in high school, and I mean a lot. It got so bad that one of the kids I rolled with would have a PS2 in his bag with one of those aftermarket add-ons that had a 3-inch LCD screen, just so we could play in free periods. The game occupies a special place in my heart that very, very few games can ever come close to. Such a history with the game led me to be pretty skeptical about its reboot, and whether or not it would be able to capture the same magic that the original did over a decade ago. So, when I heard Harmonix Music Systems would be showing the game at PAX East, I was cautiously optimistic.
In case you’re not familiar with the game, Amplitude follows the classic formula of the early rhythm genre, wherein you knock out beats and notes on specific audio tracks as they come down the highway to complete that segment of the song. This includes bouncing between tracks to increase your score multiplier and acquire power ups. If you’ve played the downloadable Rock Band Blitz that hit PS3 and Xbox 360 back in 2012, it’s almost exactly the same thing.
However within my first minute with the game, any trepidation I had previously held was gone and I was right back in the thick of it.
Harmonix was showing off both the single and four-player modes at their booth. The single player functions exactly as an Amplitude successor should, right down to the original button mapping and note progression. It’s been the better part of a decade since I was playing the game regularly, and I was able to instantly pick it up and play proficiently.
The real change came in the form of the new four-player mode, which effectively doubles the player count from the original. I can absolutely see this game mode becoming a fierce back-and-forth struggle with the added competition and disruptive power ups, and will probably end up being my preferred mode of play when it hits full release.
It really does feel like it is the exact same game just with a new layer of paint and a few extra tweaks, and I’m absolutely okay with that.
Amplitude is currently slated for release on PlayStation consoles this summer.