Wipeout 2048 User Review
The first thing you’ll notice when you play Wipeout 2048 is the production value. The sleek, touch controlled menus are some of the best I’ve seen. Navigating race types and toggling options is a breeze and everything maintains that futuristic feel that Wipeout is known for. Attention to detail is also noticeable, especially when choosing different ship models and classes. As with other entries in the series, each ship is represented by a specific manufacturer and every time you unlock a new ship you are treated to a short explanation of the strengths and weaknesses. For some it may seem like a throwaway feature, but any feature that adds to a game’s atmosphere is a win in my book. The soundtrack also fits the futuristic setting very well, setting pulse-pounding mood for each race.
The second thing you may notice, even by simply looking through the menus, is the amount of content. There are multiple ship types (fighter, agility, speed, etc.), a variety of different race types (combat, race, zone, etc.), and three separate “campaigns” which represent three years of the Wipeout race circuit. You can also purchase the Wipeout HD and Wipeout Fury campaigns, which add a huge amount of content to the game (or if you got these free from the PSN Hack you can simply download them again for free!). On its own, 2048 may feel a little shallow, but it behooves you to pay a little extra for what amounts to be an entire game’s worth of extra content.
Moving on to the gameplay, I must mention to most noticeable flaw – the loading times. When the game was first released earlier this year the loading times were inexcusable, especially when considering the portable nature of the game. An update was later released which cut down loading times considerably, but they are still a bit irksome. Waiting thirty seconds to a minute for a race that may last 3-4 minutes seems a bit excessive. That is until you get to racing. Once the camera pans over the absolutely gorgeous environments, you will most likely forget about the loading times altogether.
The aesthetics of Wipeout 2048 are some of the cleanest, most crisp visuals you will ever lay your eyes on. The looping tracks weave in and out of futuristic cityscapes, plunge through underwater tunnels, and soar through clear blue skies. It’s a shame the races are over so quickly, as I would love to spend time gawking at the beautiful scenery. The details present in the initial presentation are present here as well, with building-sized advertisements flashing, crowds cheering, and debris floating through the air. This is a gorgeous game and it’s no surprise; Sony always seems to have a Wipeout game ready for each new console.
The presentation would not mean much if the racing wasn’t tight and the controls weren’t solid. Wipeout succeeds here as well, even offering a touch-only control scheme. You may never win a race with said scheme, however, but the fact that it is included is enough. If you’ve ever played a Wipeout game before, you will feel right at home. Boost panels, hairpin turns, intense drops, and weapon icons are all present and if you want to gain Elite Pass on every track you will need to utilize every potential advantage. Wipeout is not an easy game and on A+ class, it is nearly impossible unless you have some serious skills. The challenge is welcome, but sometimes it can be downright brutal. The controls also seem to loosen up after each difficulty spike – have your stress ball ready (do people still use those?).
If you feel a need for speed, Wipeout 2048 will oblige. The game zips by at a steady 30FPS, which may seem pretty average compared to its 60FPS console counterparts, but it is hardly noticeable when the game runs so smoothly. The one problem with the extreme sense of speed is that some of the tracks do not do a good enough job of notifying you of impending turns, dips, etc. The colors can sometimes blend together, creating plenty of situations where you fly into walls or, worse yet, straight off the track. Expect to start and restart races early and often and get used to failure, especially if you want any piece of any leaderboard.
Every console launch should include a racer of this caliber. Microsoft has Forza, Nintendo has Mariokart (and F-Zero), and Sony has Wipeout and Gran Turismo. Wipeout 2048 not only serves as a showcase of what the Vita can do, it is a great entry in a solid franchise. Even if you’re like me and don’t really dig racing games, Wipeout 2048 should certainly find its way into your catalog. It is the perfect game to satisfy those rare occasions when you just want speed and if you need one game in your collection to represent the racing genre, you could do worse than Wipeout 2048.
This user review does not reflect the views of the PSX Extreme Staff.