Review by Ryan AK
"A PSP classic in the making that injects new life into an almost forgotten series"
After Wipeout Fusion, many people (myself included) never envisioned another installment to the Wipeout series, especially not one that would stand out amongst the others as one of the greats in the series. I am very glad to say that Wipeout is back in top form, on a handheld no less, with Wipeout Pure. Just as the original Wipeout wooed game players with the PlayStation 1, Wipeout Pure puts on an excellent display of what the new PSP can do.
It is instantly recognizable even from the front cover of the case that this game is much more in the vein of Wipeout XL and 3 than Fusion, which although was very deep and innovative with its inclusion of characters and ship upgrades, wasn't a very polished game. Fusion suffered from bad collision detection and clipping problems, unpolished AI, and a presentation style that was very drab and unstylish, which really deviated from the series' trademark stylized image. Pure is somewhere between XL and 3 in its presentation, which includes everything from the selection menus to the courses. While tunneling down the courses, you are treated to lush backgrounds sporting massive cityscapes with large statues, monitors, buildings, etc., which all look excellent on the crystal-clear PSP screen. Certain courses feature weather effects, such as snow and rain that shows up on your screen.
The courses themselves have been constructed nicely, but can sometimes feel a bit cramped and tough to maneuver around, as the wide-open spaces that were present in Fusion have been done away with. Pure has you twisting and turning around bends about 90% of the time, with few straightways letting you just cruise along. The game features controls that are comparable to any other Wipeout game, but the fact that this game is on the new PSP might have players struggling through their first couple of races trying to get a feel for the PSP's controls, especially the analog slider. Since the game is so intense in its turns and competition, the game can lead to some cramped hands after a while. The game is quite challenging, which is always welcomed, but the game's design will make players learn to know how the PSP controls fast. Now that energy recharging areas have been replaced with the option of using weapons for attack or for energy gain, pressing the O button while holding X will need to be mastered fairly quick.
Wipeout Pure has the most impressive sound that I have ever experienced on a handheld by far. The soundtrack pumps with the electronica that is required for the Wipeout experience, featuring the likes of DJ Tiesto and Paul Hartnoll, among others. The PSP's included stereo headphones will have you fully immersed in the Wipeout experience in no time, oblivious to the world around you. It's this kind of quality that likely can only be gotten on a portable through a great new media format like UMD.
Wipeout Pure will appeal to those who have experienced Wipeout games before, and to a new generation of players who see it as one of the best looking PSP launch games. I would definitely recommend Wipeout Pure to anybody who either has or will get a PSP. It's simply too slick to turn down.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 03/28/05
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