WipEout 2048 Review
It’s funny how something that starts out so simple can expand into something of grandeur. Take WipEout, for instance. First launched back in 1995 for the PS One by Psygnosis, the series has since become a staple in Sony’s release slate, with several sequels following across various systems, including the PlayStation 2 and the PlayStaiton Portable. The series reached a high point when the company released the downloadable WipEout HD, consisting of high-definition 60-frames-per-second visuals and remarkable track selection — along with the electrifying Fury DLC. Now the series comes racing back to the scene again with WipEout 2048, the series debut for the PlayStation Vita. Hang on tight — you’re gonna like this ride.
As with previous entries in the series, your goal is to finish first across a number of races using a selection from various hovercraft types, sponsored by teams. The more you finish in the lead, the more you unlock, including circuit races and other events. Granted, it’s not as heavy on unlockable content as other games, but you still feel a sense of progression as you storm into the lead.
While you race, speed is vitally important. Losing momentum can easily cost you a place or two if you’re not careful. After a couple of events, you’re also introduced to weapons, such as missiles, shields and turbo boosts, among others that literally rip up the track. Use them wisely — you never know when the best defense is going to come in handy. Especially when someone is riding on your tail.
WipEout’s gameplay remains riveting — for the most part, anyway. Using the analog stick or D-pad to control your vehicle just feels right, in comparison to the awkward tilting mechanic that Sony felt compelled to throw in. No biggie, just don’t use it. Managing your weapons is a snap, and getting a hang of turns and jumps is just a matter of “feeling” out each track. You’ll feel like a pro in no time.
Along with a robust single player campaign, WipEout 2048 also supports online play — provided you redeem the Online Pass that comes with the package. While we would’ve preferred a tournament or more options like WipEout HD Fury had, it’s satisfying. The only negative is that the game takes a long time for each race to load — like just under a minute. But stick with it, kids.
In addition, Sony also has a sweet cross-platform feature where one player could be playing WipEout 2048 on the Vita, while another takes ‘em on using WipEout HD on the PS3. It works wonderfully, though only a certain number of tracks are supported. Still, it’s a fine example of the cross-platform feature that Sony wants to so vehemently boast about with their new system.
Visually, WipEout holds up about as you’d expect. The high amount of detail in each track is impressive, even if the neon advertising can be a bit much at times. (Hey, Sony Liverpool loves their atmospheric touches.) The frame rate is steady, even with online races, and the multiple vehicles you can choose from are quite sleek. (The multiple camera views help, too. We like being right on the nose.)
Since this is WipEout, you can expect plenty of cool techno tunes to blare in your ears while you take each corner. Though we prefer some of the older soundtracks over this one, it’s quite fitting.
If you’re a racing nut or just can’t get enough of WipEout’s refreshing charm, then WipEout 2048 will make a dandy new member to your game collection. While the multiplayer isn’t deep, it’s satisfying — especially with the PS3 version — and the presentation runs like a futuristic dream should. We’d love to see what kind of turn this series takes next.