Amplitude Review - Easy To Learn, Hard To Master

I did not own a PlayStation 2. There it is. I said it. My sixth generation console was the GameCube, Nintendo's last console before getting all Wii and stuff. Anyways, a small music game (exclusive to the PS2) gathered a loyal, hardcore fanbase. That game is called Amplitude. 12 years after the original game's launch, developer Harmonix decided it was time to bring the franchise back. And just like that, Amplitude is now available on the PS4. After playing the game for about 10 hours, I can say that while the game crashes and burns in some aspects, I finally see where people's fascination comes from.

So what is Amplitude about? Well, it's a fast-paced music game, alongside the lines of Guitar Hero or Rock Band. Expect that in Amplitude, you don't play one instrument. You play six of them. This makes things more difficult, but the whole experience can be more satisfying. Also, you don't need an expensive piece of plastic to play the game. And just like most music games, the objective is to play songs without messing up to build your streak, and ultimately get the highest score possible. Sounds easy huh? Well, it's not.

Let's start by talking about the element Amplitude absolutely lands: moment to moment gameplay. This game is just so much fun to play! Having six lanes/instruments was different, and instantly enjoyable. Trying to get high scores and 100% completion rates was exciting. And whenever my streak was broken, it was heartbreaking. Playing on a hard difficulty brings that challenge a lot of gamer desperately seek, meaning that it can be extremely frustrating at times. In a good way. The game is not unfair at all, and it controls great. Smooth, clean and crisp. Whenever I messed up, I knew it was because of my lazy fingers. Not because of the game.

Another thing I really dug about the game is the style. Unlike its contemporaries, Amplitude is not a simulation music game. It's an arcadey experience that has a ship (you) destroying music riffs to avoid exploding. While not as beautiful as some of the other arcade game on the PS4, the way they used colors and explosions was pretty neat. A lot of people I know complained about the game having a lack of modes, but I don't really feel that way. I mean, there's not a lot of modes, but considering the game's price (20$) I'm okay with what I got. The game's campaign mode is pretty original (it's treated like a sci-fi concept album), but it lasts less than two hours. Once you finish the campaign, you can replay the 30+ songs on four difficulties and you also have online and couch multiplayer. Again, not too much, but I wasn't expecting more. What I did have an issue with is the game's tracks.

This is the biggest issue I had with the game: the game's tracks are pretty weak. To me, Amplitude is at its best when you're trying to be as quick as you can so your streak doesn't die, while a banging beat is destroying your ears. Sadly, the beats in here are not really good. First off, there's no known music. The first Amplitude had songs by Blink-182, Run-D.M.C. and more. But that's not really the issue. The 30+ tracks Harmonix either created or got from other indie games are mostly forgettable. There's not enough genre variety, and while eight or nine songs were actually impressible, the rest were slow, mediocre or boring. This takes away from the game's replayability and overall quality. Which is a shame, considering how much better the game would be with a better setlist.

Verdict: Amplitude is a good experience. The game is fun, challenging and pretty unique. When the game is at its best, it's one of the most enjoyable music game I've ever played. Sadly, a mediocre setlist keeps the game from reaching its full potential.

The Good
- Gameplay 
- Score Chasing
- Arcadey Style

The Bad
- Mediocre Setlist

I Give Amplitude a 7.3 out of 10

Developer: Harmonix
Publisher: Harmonix
Format: PS3, PS4 (reviewed)
Released: January 5, 2016

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