There was a time when futuristic spaceship racing meant one thing: F-Zero. Then, with the birth of the PlayStation, came Wipeout, a futuristic racing game with high octane and great graphics and sound. Developed by Psygnosis – a development studio bought by Sony in 1993 – Wipeout was a great success and received two sequels for PlayStation: Wipeout 2097 and Wipeout 3. for the most part, Wipeout 2097 remains the largest in the Wipeout series, surpassing its predecessor in every category and perhaps the largest soundtrack to decorate a video game. Wipeout eventually appeared on the PlayStation 2 in the form of Wipeout Fusion, but even the superior performance of the PlayStation 2 was not able to provide a game that surpassed 2097. Fortunately, Pure Wipeout takes its cues from the best game in the series.
Fans of previous games should be at home with Pure Wipeout, as the controls are as expected and the usual air brakes are activated with the shoulder buttons. The weapons and Power-Ups are pretty much the same as before, including projectile, shields, Turbos and the devastating earthquake that finishs everything in its path. Unlike previous games in the series, there is no longer a pit lane where the vehicle shield can be charged. Now you need to absorb the Power-Ups to recharge the ship’s shield. It’s great, it helps maintain your speed during the race, but offers the dilemma if you’re using this Turbo and want to take the risk of jumping or playing it safe and reloading.
As with previous Wipeout games, you must go through a series of tournaments to unlock new classes, courses and skills. With each new class comes a higher speed and therefore a higher level of difficulty. However, the initial classes available (Vector and Venom) are quite tame and you shouldn’t be discouraged by the slow start. Players who are new to the series may appreciate the slow pace of the Vector class, but those familiar with previous games will likely want to step straight into the Venom class. Once you enter the first unlockable (Flash) class, things start to heat up, with 2 additional classes available for those who are good enough to unlock them.
Progression through the game is achieved by placing in the top three races and tournaments, as well as breaking records in Zone and Time Trail modes. You first have four Alpha tournament titles, and more will be available as soon as you unlock the beta, Classic, and Ascension tournaments. In addition to individual race and tournament modes, you have the default time trial mode with Ghost Craft and a pretty awesome zone mode. In zone mode, you need to stay the same distance for as long as possible, as the speed of the vehicle increases every time you enter a new Zone. As with other modes, medals are awarded for achieving specific objectives, and you unlock other tracks to ride in zone mode.
Multiplayer is available for those who have friends with PSP and a copy of the game, with up to eight players who can participate wirelessly. Unfortunately, there is no game on the Internet, so you are limited to nearby players. You can drive individual tracks or even set up tournaments where your friends can play. Wipeout Pure also offers the ability to download new content such as tracks and vehicles. Since the game has been available in North America since March, we’ve already provided several new content packs, such as the Gamma and Classic packs, both of which contain new tracks and Menu Skins.
Visually Wipeout Pure is a showcase of what can be achieved on the PSP. It looks fantastic, with incredibly stylized and detailed tracks and stunning particle and light effects that bring racing action to life. As with all previous Wipeout games, the style is very important and Pure really expresses the boat with menus and slim loading screens that only add to the overall fashionable feel of the game. Unfortunately, the frame rate does not hold steady, with dips coming when multiple ships are on screen or a large weapon causes Chaos. In time trial mode and zone mode, the frame rate does not have such problems and it is a pity that the same smooth graph can not be achieved if more images are displayed on the screen.