Attending the PlayStation Experience was a dream come true. This was an amazing event and even more so because I was able to experience the new Amplitude first-hand! Mr. Resetti and I debated on going for a few weeks. Ultimately, it was the fact that Harmonix was going to be there that decided our fate. From the second we arrived in Las Vegas, our minds wanted to be synthesized. Our trip did not include gambling of any sort, however it did consist of everything PlayStation and Amplitude!
Being in a new city with no form of transportation made me nervous but it actually didn't take us long to find the building where the event was being held after asking a few pedestrians. Once inside, we were completely lost all over again. Out of the blue, a gang of men wearing PlayStation shirts appeared and we followed them in the correct direction. We were surprised to see a sea of gamers filling the lobby. After an hour or so of waiting in line, we finally reached the futuristic PlayStation terminal where we received our wristbands. We later found out if you were one of the first 100 people, you would receive a gold wristband to pre-order the 20th edition PS4, sadly we were not a part of that group.
Absorbing the atmosphere!
After attending the conference, which took place in an underground futuristic rave-like warehouse and absorbing our new habitat for the next two days, we finally unlocked the Amplitude arena. We were greeted by a brilliant poster display of the future art to expect from the game as we approached. This was immediate cause for jaw-dropping and eye-bulging to occur. The Amplitude booth was already in full effect with new and old FreQs joining in on the games. Among the FreQs present, were DJ ROBB and the Harmonix team consisting of Alex Rigopolus, Annette, Pope and Nick. It was amazing to meet all of these Super FreQs in person, but more amazing was experiencing the new Amplitude with them! The Harmonix team later referred to us as Super Fans, but I call them the Super Heroes of the gaming industry. At this time I would like to give a shout out to MegaFreQ, DumpLord420 for being the voice of the FreQs! What a great guy.
Finally, it was time to try the game out for myself. My anticipation and expectations were high for the look and feel. I wanted it to play as smooth or preferably smoother than Amplitude, yet still have a FreQy touch. I wanted it to have a different look yet in the style of FreQ and Amp and most importantly, I wanted it to have insanely awesome new tracks. Lastly, I wanted multi-player mode to be just as good or preferably better than the original Amplitude. Please refer to the diagram below to see how Amplitude matched up to my expectations.
The only area of improvement I would hope for would be on multi-player mode. This may just be the style of the game and nothing can be done about it, but I found that the tracks farthest left or right are still difficult to read. The best way to describe it is as if you were playing Amplitude on multi-tap with 3 of your friend’s offline. You’d find that reading those two end tracks is difficult, especially the harder the track. Online, this wasn’t an issue and you could read all the tracks just fine as well as on solo mode. I wish there were a way to find a balance between the two.
Power-Ups & Scores
A few more things I would like to address are the most basic things you expect to be in the game. Fans will be pleased to know all of the power-ups are present but now appear with new names. One thing to note is that they behave and function the same as in previous games. The auto catcher/blaster is now called “Cleanse” so when you play Amplitude you can now be cleansed by someone wiping out your opponents notes more futuristically. The other power-ups are Sedate, Disrupt, Flow and Eject. The name of the power-up appears to the left of your score when you obtain it. I feel like there could be more of a visual sign to alert you to what power-up you have but I have a feeling this is something still under-development. While going through the tracks, I would occasionally lose track of whether or not I had a power-up and would have to glance to the left my score to check, however the letters were small and just not ideal. Even though the styling of the gems was not fully implemented, the power-up activated with no problems. I can’t wait to see how they will look in the final version of the game but judging by the concept art, I am very excited about the new, more organic style.
As far as the scores, those are at the top of the screen in multi-player mode with semi-translucent backgrounds so they are not a distraction to the game at all. As mentioned before, the power-up appears to the left of the score and I did find that difficult to read, especially while playing. One major difference that I noted was the exclusion of Red Player and the addition of Blue Player. All of the other colors remain the same but if I remember correctly, Purple Player now actually looks more magenta.
Unexpected Surprises at the PSX
To make our PlayStation Experience even more amazing than it already was, Harmonix later asked DJ ROBB (FreQ and Amplitude) to play on stage during Harmonix’s portion of the PSX filmed live! Without hesitation, DJ ROBB insisted that Mr. Resetti be the one to appear on stage to demo the game live. As it turns out, they ended up inviting all of us to play on stage, which was so awesome and fun! I'm going to say that my terrible playing was due to stage fright, but in actuality, playing live is difficult. I commend anyone who is able to do it because I could not hear any sound and I was in a terrible position but the experience was still magical! We felt like royalty playing in front of other gamers on the huge screen. Too bad we couldn't take pics of ourselves while playing. :)
The best and most enjoyable part about the whole experience was getting to meet the people behind our favorite game. If you’ve ever wondered why the game is so amazing and brilliant, it is because of the team and how much they care about this project and their fans. They know exactly what we want and they strive to deliver that experience to us. Secondly, and completely unexpected was meeting a fellow FreQ, DJ ROBB at the Amplitude booth. Meeting Dane was seriously the coolest thing that has ever happened to us because we were not expecting to see other FreQs from our online days or back to the original freq.net forum or even FreQremixes.
Dane really changed our entire experience and truly made it special. What an amazing guy. If you can imagine how much fun it is to interact with each other online, it’s a billion times better doing so in real life. I can only describe our interaction and experience as magical because we all shared the same passion in music and games and it showed in our personalities. We not only played together during the experience, we ate lunch, hung out, and even went over to his house to continue gaming afterward (we played Amplitude.) He walked us back to our hotel and took care of us. To our buddy Dane, thank you for inviting us into your city and life with open arms. It would not have been the same without you there. My experience in Las Vegas was unforgettable. I’ll never forget playing with the Harmonix crew, Dane and all of the new fans we met there.
To all of the fans out there, (this means you, myself included), thank you for supporting Amplitude and making this game possible. FreQs unite!