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WipEout Pulse - PSP - Preview


Posted by: jkdmedia

The wipEout series is well established and follows a tried-and-true formula very well. You have vehicles (or crafts) that hover slightly above a track that is not above adding interesting curves and/or elevation, though it does have bumpered walls, and the object is to go fast, pick up some power-ups and beat your opponents to the finish line either through employing superior racing skills or by knocking them into the walls or blasting their crafts apart.

wipEout PULSE only tosses in a few new elements, albeit nice additions to the format. The game, which is due out in the spring, features an array of new tracks, including a few that seem to defy the concept of gravity. And there are new tracks of a different nature, namely audio – which has been ramped up and matches the gameplay very well.

Players will also find new ships to fly and a robust online mode will be available at launch.

The title is from SCEE’s Liverpool studios, and the preview version sent along did have a few minor stutters, but that is the nature of early builds. But the most important elements, the Infrastructure and features were also not available in this build.

Still, the game provided a steady run of fun. The single-player is mapped out in a grid and is akin to a campaign. You have to pass each stage to unlock the next, and that is sometimes easier said than done. The AI you race against is smart and you can quickly fall behind. For those who have not played the game before, you have an accelerator and brake, as well as the ability to discharge power-ups you have acquired. Using the shoulder buttons help you to turn quicker. The walls of the race track have barriers to prevent you from slipping over the edge and into the abyss. But you really don’t want to bang the walls. Each time you do, you take damage; take enough damage and your craft explodes. Power-ups, though will help with replenishing your energy and ‘healing’ your craft.

When it gets right down to it, wipEout PULSE does have some new additions, but this is a game that is pretty much in the same vein as the other iterations. This is a franchise that dates back to 1995, and the core gameplay elements are well founded. The changes in PULSE are cosmetic, but for those who have yet to play the game, this would be a solid entry point for the PSP.

Graphically, the game is very nicely rendered out. There is a sense of speed and the effects are handled nicely. The sound is also solid and the game’s controls are easy to learn. This is not a game that mires players in a learning curve but rather provides the challenge through smart AI and racing challenges.

wipEout PULSE has a bit left in development time but is looking good and should be a solid racing experience on the Sony handheld console.

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