The classic music/rhythm game Amplitude by Harmonix was originally released on the Playstation 2 in 2003, and now the series has made a return with a new crowdfunded title on PS4. How does Amplitude hold up after a over a decade of absence?
Amplitude’s gameplay is simple, yet very tight. You must hit three different notes while going down a path, which works very well with the PS4’s shoulder buttons. You also have to change your path by pressing left or right after completing a sequence of notes to continue, and that adds a nice bit of complexity (especially on higher difficulties). I never noticed any issues where my button presses didn’t register, or where I had any problems with the game mechanics as a whole. Power-ups can also be acquired while playing a song, and I found the majority of them to be useful. The graphical styling of Amplitude is very colorful and vibrant, and thankfully it isn’t distracting.
There are two major modes in Amplitue, Quick Play and Campaign. The Campaign mainly consists of the 15 original songs by Harmonix loosely tied together a narrative that can be easily ignored. I’m glad that they included this mode, but it is rather lacking in depth. Quick Play lets you play any song in the game on any difficulty, and it is where players will be spending the most time.
The game’s soundtrack has 30 songs from Harmonix themselves, indie artists, and other game soundtracks, and I found the majority of them to be really great (especially “LIGHTS” by Wolfgun, whom I’m a huge fan of!). However, a large part of your interest in the game will depend on if you enjoy electronic music because 90% of the soundtrack is electronica. If you are a fan of the genre, the soundtrack will be a treat to the ears. Considering this game isn’t too expensive, some DLC with more electronica and some more songs of different genres would be really nice.
If you’re a fan of well-made rhythm games at a good price, Amplitude is for you. It plays well, and the soundtrack is solid. The game’s biggest issues are the sheer lack of gameplay modes and content. Also, some songs take a lot of song playthroughs to unlock before you can play them. I found that restriction a bit ridiculous and would have preferred the ability to just play any song immediately. Thankfully, it’s all largely forgivable at the $20 price tag.
I certainly recommend Amplitude highly for any rhythm game fan who likes electronica music and really solid gameplay. Harmonix did a good job bringing back Amplitude to today’s gamers.