If I look back on my years of PlayStation gaming, there are several franchises that stand out in my mind. Beyond the more obvious (Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid, Twisted Metal, Gran Turismo, etc.), there was the infinitely entertaining Wipeout. Wipeout XL boasted seemingly impossible smoothness and incomparable technical achievement. Therefore, I imagine Wipeout 2048 will showcase the PlayStation Vita’s power on launch day; this prequel should drop your jaw.
Set four years before the very first title, we’re in a futuristic version of New York City, and we’ll be careening around corners at ridiculous angles at even more ridiculous speeds. That’s the nature of Wipeout: hovering just above the track, indulging in the 60 frames-per-second goodness, and trying to maintain stable control. Unfortunately, the new portable iteration will only run at 30 FPS, but perhaps that can’t be helped. We still expect silky smooth gameplay, though.
As for design, from what we’ve seen of the tracks in the Vita installment, you can expect more of those mind-numbing twists, turns, and jumps. With beautifully crisp environments and fantastic effects, the game is sure to impress from a visual standpoint. Plus, Sony has touted the cross-platform play with the PlayStation 3, which ought to offer a new experience for handheld and console fans alike. Another new feature involves those power-ups; in the past, what you picked up was dictated by the type of pad you raced over.
But this time, the pads will be split into two groups: red and green; the red is for offensive items while the green is fore defensive. We assume old standbys like the Homing Missiles and Earthquake will return, but we’ve heard Sony Liverpool is working on revamping the concept of the shield. Apparently, instead of the shield being a power pick-up like everything else, you’ll always have it at your disposal. It’ll be enabled with the press of a button and it’ll be rechargeable, too.
This should allow for even more hectic gameplay, as you might be able to stay alive longer and in turn, fire off more volleys against your opponents. Lastly, there will be objective-based multiplayer with a really cool twist: only you will know what your objective is; those who you are playing against will not. Therefore, you’ll never know what each person is trying to do unless you carefully observe their actions and even then, you might not know.
In my eyes, Wipeout 2048 is the #2 reason to pick up a PlayStation Vita on February 22 (the #1 reason is Uncharted: Golden Abyss, of course). There’s little chance that Sony Liverpool will disappoint, and their product should show off the Vita’s immense capabilities. Isn’t that something you need for your new portable collection?
11/8/2011 Ben Dutka