Product Type: Sony PS3 games
Newest Review: ... then Wipeout HD is a must-have download that offers hours and hours of racing fun. It's a fitting way to remember Psygnosis/Sony Liverp... more
Flashy, ridiculous spaceship speeds, this is Wipeout HD.
Wipeout HD (PS3)
Member Name: Zack131
Wipeout HD (PS3)
Date: 04/06/11, updated on 08/06/11 (127 review reads)
Advantages: Super sonic speeds, crisp HD visuals, lively electronic soundtrack
Disadvantages: Players without the Fury DLC are at a disadvantage online
Note: With Wipeout HD being one of the 5 free titles available to PSN users after the PSN outage of April 2011, I decided to review the game that I already had, but wish I didn't yet. I hope this helps users make Wipeout one of their choices!
Wipeout is far from a new title, its been around since the beginning of the PlayStation and hopefully will live past even the end of PlayStation itself. Definitely not to be confused with the obstacle course TV series, Wipeout is a futuristic pick-up racer with blazingly high speeds that have never been rivalled in any other racing game I've played. Wipeout HD brings the series to a new high with silky smooth 60 FPS online action on the PlayStation 3, making for a real treat of an experience.
Racing games never really had a place in my games collection unless some form of violence was involved, be it pelting other motorcycle racers with fists in Road Rash, slamming a racer from the road into the sea on Burnout or even tripping other racers up with bananas in Mario Kart. As long as there was some way to punish other players and essentially take them out of the race. What I like from a racing game is speed, weapons and a good laugh. Wipeout HD simply nails every one of them.
Wipeout HD is akin to Mario Kart, where the karts are spaceships, the bananas are highly explosive bombs and the general speed is faster than what any mushroom could ever possibly dream of giving to a go kart. Its rough and not for sore losers. A race typically involves choosing one of the several ships with different strengths and weaknesses (speed, thrust, defence and acceleration) and aiming for blue pads on the track to give a little boost to the already accumulated high speed. Red pads grant the player a randomised weapon to either deploy on the enemy, or absorb to repair some of your ship's health. The tracks are all pretty self-contained and as you may expect, bashing against the sides of the track will lower the ship's health as will being hit by enemy weapons. The player can perform barrel rolls in the air to give that extra boost of speed on landing at the expense of some health which plays a tactical advantage by finding new jumps to barrel roll from. The player can also tilt the nose of the ship up and down slightly to give more air or a faster descent which aids the barrel roll business. That's all there is to the standard Wipeout races, its a fairly simple formula but the execution is simply a joy that it brings me back for more.
Wipeout is mostly renowned for its unforgiving speed and Wipeout HD definitely does not hold back. For players new to the series even the lowest (baby) speed might be too much to handle causing them to play ping-pong with the solid ridges of the track until they blow to smithereens. The game has 4 speeds to play on; Venom, Flash, Rapier and the sickly reaper of a speed appropriately named Phantom. Players new to Wipeout should have a shot at Phantom first, seriously. It just might blow you away (literally, you are sure to blow up) at how fast the corners appear before you can react. This is where you aim to be, this is the speed you will eventually conquer as impossible as it may feel to begin with. If you are having trouble, there is a pilot assist option which veers the ship away from the sides of the track at the cost of a very slightly reduced speed. Of course, it is still possible to crash and can help a lot of players get into Wipeout.
There is several weapons, some more common than others which are gained after passing over a weapons pad. Although the player must mostly remember the symbol of the weapon, the name is sometimes read out by a slightly robotic female announcer who also cruelly lets you know that someone behind you has just deployed Quake: a flaming earthquake which hits hard on every unfortunate player who is in front of you as it waves down the track. Luckily the most powerful weapons such as Quake are much less common than the likes of mines or machine guns. Although not technically a weapon, the player can also pick up a boost, auto-pilot or a shield making for an invulnerable ship for a limited time. Sometimes the weapons feel cheap, but that is what is fun about these kind of games.
Wipeout could be taken more seriously than other pick-up racers, but where is the fun in that? Taking Wipeout too seriously is only going to lead to frustration. Whilst the majority of the gameplay very much has skill as a requirement, the randomised weapon pick-ups makes for an element of luck. Wipeout HD can be played multi-player both locally (split-screen on the same system) and over the internet with a wide array of players. Letting a friend pass you on purpose in a race and proceeding to fire a missile at them doesn't really get old. Wipeout is certainly a better experience with friends despite having a solid single-player campaign.
In the single-player game there are 4 different game modes. The standard race which could be played as a tournament, speed lap- where you continuously lap around a track until you beat a certain time, time trial and finally Zone mode. Zone mode is the most interesting and difficult mode of the game where you loop infinitely around a track until you destroy your ship. The player must use a ship unplayable in the standard races whilst they start their journey around one of the tracks which has now been saturated in bright colours. Every lap gradually increases the speed and adds a new set of colours to the funky looking track which acts as a music equaliser to the excellent electronic soundtrack of Wipeout HD which can also be replaced by your own music! Zone takes practice, practice, practice. Originally unable to beat 25 zones, I eventually made it up to 76 to get the 'Zone Zeus' trophy, one of my greatest gaming achievements.
The optional extra to Wipeout HD known as Wipeout HD: Fury adds new tracks, upgraded ships and brand new game modes; eliminator, detonator and zone battles. Eliminator makes for a kind of battle mode where the objective is to damage enemies until a certain number of points have been gained. With the ability to quickly switch direction and go the opposite way, it makes for some intense fire fights. Detonator is similar to Zone mode, except the ship is kitted out with a gun to destroy the objects and mines blocking the path. It is a fantastic mode which does not have a multi-player equivalent unfortunately. Lastly, Zone battles is again based on the awesome Zone mode, except this time it is a race against other players to reach a top speed. By driving across pads, the player builds up a boost gauge which allows them to get a quick burst of speed and place a barrier which if hit by other players slows them down. This boost gauge can also be absorbed for more health. The decision between repairing the ship or taking a risk and using that boost is what makes Zone Battles great fun.
Wipeout HD coupled with Fury is bound to provide endless amounts of entertainment to both yourself and those you play with. There isn't very much replay value as far as the single-player goes, but when it comes to multi-player you will be sure to have the urge for a quick game of Wipeout now and then. Its pretty difficult to pin-point many flaws with Wipeout HD, its an excellent racer which at times is maybe a little hard? But how can that be a weakness when it is also a strength of Wipeout HD... The music is incredible, the graphics are pleasing and the gameplay is pure genius.
Summary: Heart-racing and beautiful, Wipeout HD is my kind of racer
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