Review by Phange
Wipeout is a futuristic racing game not unlike F-Zero and Extreme-G (the latter of which is dearly departed). Unlike most games, the Wipeout series peaked very early in its life with Wipeout XL, a game that came out a mere one year after the Playstation launched in the United States. Many early subscribers to the then-uncertain Playstation were enthralled with the original Wipeout, and were absolutely blown away by the incredible Wipeout XL. Since then, there has been a steady decline in popularity and quality of Wipeout. The last installment, Wipeout Fusion, was so unpolished and wonky that Sony itself wouldn't publish it in the United States. Most, if not all, Wipeout fans assumed that Fusion was the final death throw of a series that simply lived too long. As if some divine intervention guided Sony and its young Studio Liverpool, Wipeout Pure is absolutely everything that made Wipeout XL a fantastic game... and then some.
Wipeout has always been about presentation, and Wipeout Pure is clearly no different. The game features some spectacular effects like bloom and mist. In fact, it runs so smoothly and has such high polygon counts that it looks day and night better than Wipeout Fusion. Wipeout's graphics aren't simply a technical feat; they're also a stylistic statement. From the incredibly unique Zone mode to the high-in-the-sky F-Zero-esque track, the game oozes a futuristic aura. And, unlike the current trend in "futuristic" scenarios, it's a clean future. A utopia of sorts.
Coupled with all these effects is a framerate that runs with hardly ever a hitch, and even when it slows down it doesn't effect the gameplay in the least.
Arguably, Wipeout is more about the music than it is about the graphics. The original Wipeout was totally unique with its excellent Techno songs (which were all the rage in the mid-90's). Wipeout Pure makes use of some of the best Techno artists of today and mixes what could be considered the best Wipeout soundtrack to date.
The sound effects are equally as cool, with great futuristic whirrs and buzzes.
Wipeout can best be described as F-Zero with weapons. You choose a hovercraft with a given set of points in handling, speed, thrust, and shields and you race it through a series of tracks in order to win the gold medal. To do this, you'll need more than just pure speed and good shields: you'll need weapons. Wipeout Pure's weaponry isn't nearly as powerful as Wipeout Fusion's, which is a good thing. Pure strikes a good balance between effective weaponry and not sending the game to a screeching halt every time you get hit with a missile. What you get is a very stylish racer with weapons to even the odds. They're not quite as powerful as, say, Mario Kart, but they get the job done and they look very cool.
As you progress through the tournament difficulties, faster modes will be unlocked. Once "Flash" is unlocked, the speed starts to become comparable to F-Zero. "Phantom" is so fast that it's nearly unplayable given that the tracks are so tight-knit.
Wipeout Pure is a great racer with an even better presentation. It's a shining example of what the PSP can do and a very impressive comeback for a long-forgotten series. I highly recommend this one.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 03/29/05
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