Microsoft had a few kiosks of Amped 2 set up in its booth as a part of its effort to showcase its recently announced XSN brand of sports games. The most noticeable difference between the original Amped and Amped 2 are the visuals. The riders are now much more detailed and feature some pretty cool special effects, such as bump mapping on clothing (to replicate the illusion of wrinkled clothes) and self-shadowing. The lighting effects also extend to the environments, with some really nice shadows cast by various objects. Additionally, the environments are nicely detailed, right down to the different types of powder beneath the board.
The control scheme in the demo is similar to the default control scheme in the original Amped. Grabs can be executed by pressing different directions on the right analog stick, while grinds and other such functions can be performed by pressing face buttons. The controls feel a little unresponsive, making it a little difficult to make cuts in the snow initially, but you start to get accustomed to it after a few minutes. In addition, one of the new trick features in Amped 2 is "butter," which essentially functions the same as the manual in the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series. By tapping rapidly up and down on the right analog stick, your rider will start to do a manual and will continue to do it as long as you can maintain balance.
The demo (which appeared to take place on a single mountain) was split up into several different areas, testing a variety of snowboarding skills. One portion was devoted to the half-pipe, while another was filled with all sorts of environmental obstacles such as large tree branches that had fallen onto the course. However, it looked as though you won't be restricted to a single area, so you could feasibly move from the natural area of the mountain to the half-pipe area.
Amped 2 is scheduled for release later this year.