Wipeout Pure

Wipeout Pure Review PSP

Wipeout was one of the hallmark games on the original Playstation, but unfortunately none of the succeeding versions quite reached its initial high benchmark. I am therefore very glad to tell you that the PSP version has brought the game back to life with a Bang or should I say Zoom.

Wipeout is a futuristic racing game where you battle against 7 other high-speed hovercraft machines to be the first over the line in a 3 lap race. Referring to the vehicles as hovercrafts isn't exactly true; they're more like very low flying F16s with an armoury to match. There are several craft to choose from and each has a different strength; speed, thrust, shield and handling are the variables so as you move through the levels you'll need to use a different vehicle.

As you're controlling a ship that is more like a Star Wars Pod-racer than a car it has a different control method. For instance, air brakes instead of a handbrake and if you turn sharply that is enough to bring your speed right down rather than the need for a brake button.

The other major difference is the selection of weapons that you can pick up as you race around the course. This adds a whole new dimension as it's not always necessary to get around the track as quickly as possible because you can just as easily blast the crap out of your opponents to defeat them. You can collect randomly selected' weapons at regular intervals around the course so it's not always beneficial to just hold the racing line. There are also boosts placed around the track that are always worth aiming for as they will keep you in the action with a thrust.

This isn't an arcade style racing game where hitting a wall at 200kmh has no effect on your momentum or damage. Your shield will decrease and you will come almost come to a stand still, but due to the weapons and boosts scattered around the course with a good run you'll never be out of a race. As you move up the levels you're opponents will be more aggressive so you need to keep an eye on your shield level as well as the next bend which is approaching very quickly. These extra elements make Wipeout more than just another racing title and the multiplayer mode will keep the game entertaining for a very long time. (A bit like Nintendo's Super Mario Kart except there is nothing cute about this game, its pure futuristic-electro-style!)

The graphics are very slick but you won't get much chance to appreciate the surroundings of the courses because you'll be too busy dodging mines/looking for a boost/annihilating an opponent/etc. The racetracks feel like rollercoaster's with numerous jumps, banked turns and shiny metallic surfaces. All of which is beautifully presented and when accompanied by the electro funk soundtrack featuring artists such as LFO, Aphex Twin, DJ Tiesto, Plump DJs, etc. it creates a real next generation style.

Perhaps the only downside on the game is that sometimes you can feel cheated as the computer will have great fortune with picking up the most useful weapon at the right time, e.g. a shield just as your about to send a rocket up its ass and take the lead. Although, I found that if I was cheated out of a gold medal it just made me keener to race again and set the record straight.

There is also a Zone game, which is not a race, but more about how fast you can go and still stay in control. This is a good bit of fun and for those of you who are old enough to remember the 80's film D.A.R.Y.L. it will probably give you flashbacks to the scene where he plays the racing game at ridiculously high speed.

Another added bonus is that you once you own the game you can download new vehicles and tracks from www.wipeoutpure.com onto your PSP via a PC. This is something that has potential to re-generate interest in the game once you have raced the standard tracks a million times.

Wipeout Pure is probably THE launch game to get your hands on. Its looks great, sounds good and the gameplay is addictive enough to give you serious thumb ache. It definitely fits right in with the style of a PSP and is a small taste of the future.

Something that will make the person sitting next to you on the train who's slyly staring over your shoulder beg you for a go!

8.5 out of 10


Click Here to View Wipeout Pure Screenshots