Amped 3 proves that a little personality can make for an awesome gaming experience. Under the wing of new publisher 2K Games, developer Indie Built has shaped Amped 3 into a ridiculously fun and funny example of snowboarding excellence that really doesn't feel anything like the earlier games in the series. Taking cues from other successful winterstick titles (coughSSXcough), Amped 3 also adds massive variety with lots of different snow-based activities.
Racing isn't the focus, and that's hardly regrettable; simply going fast gets trounced by actual fun things like sled riding, pro boarder chasing (where you follow some famous badass down the slopes trying to trick them to death), hang-gliding, and crippling competitions. Literally crippling ... you have to smash your tender guts against as much craggy material as possible in order to earn a huge medical bill.
The indecipherable, laugh-'til-you-snort plot goads you through a series of challenges as your rider gains rep, cash, and a wide assortment of loot ranging from new duds to crazy-serious bling like personal helicopters. Effortlessly guiding your boarder down the glistening slopes rewards players with epic level tricks that raise your "Awesomeness" level. And when the crowd sees just how awesome you are you'll earn special goodies. Once your campaign ends, there's plenty left to do on each of the seven mountains, although the last couple of mountains contain significantly fewer but way more difficult runs.
Without question, the absurd sense of humor that invades every cut-scene (yeah, snowboarding with cut-scenes ... go figure) is Amped 3's best feature. From hand puppets, to South Park-style cut-out animation, this game never lets up in its pursuit of some of the edgiest, head-scratching silliness we've seen in awhile.
Boosting the stylish presentation, the funk-punk soundtrack offered in the game packs a wide assortment of musical genres into one shred-friendly package designed to accentuate that perfect ride.
While some gripes remain about the slightly confusing character skill progression, Amped 3 delivers a solid, next-gen entertainment bonanza that howls with the soul of a true snow beast.