Wipeout Pure Review

If you like futuristic racing games that are all about breakneck speed, varied weapons and flashy tracks, this portable take on Wipeout will not disappoint.

The Wipeout series has always been one of the most distinctive racing game franchises ever released. For those who have never played it before, Wipeout is a futuristic series of racing games where you pilot anti-gravity vehicles that can travel long distances in a matter of seconds. Apart from adjusting the direction of your ship, you can also use deadly weapons and perform barrel rolls to gain a small boost. If you like futuristic racing games that are all about breakneck speed, varied weapons and flashy tracks, this portable take on the series will not disappoint.

Racing against time isn't as compelling as racing other players, but it's totally possible.

Racing against time isn’t as compelling as racing other players, but it’s totally possible.

As in most racing games, the main objective is reaching the goal line first, but in Wipeout, there are more aspects to consider before you can even think about that. First, there’s an energy bar that’s reduced when you are hit by an enemy weapon and when you collide against a wall or an opponent and when the bar reaches zero, your vehicle is destroyed automatically. If you’re low on energy though, you can absorb a weapon to replenish your ship’s energy. To collect weapons or other pick-ups, you need to run over special pads that are strategically placed in each track. Overall, there are ten weapons and pick-ups to collect and they include auto-pilot, shield, turbo, mines, bomb, rockets, missile, disruption bolt, plasma and quake and as you can see, their names are quite descriptive. At the same time, there are eight different ships to choose from and each of those ships comes with its own set of statistics.

The single-player campaign features several modes, including race, tournament, time trial, zone, free play and progression. Although most of the aforementioned modes are quite standard, zone is the one that caught my attention, since in this mode your ship is constantly accelerating and you need to survive as long as you can. There are also some multiplayer modes where up to eight players can participate, including single-race, tournament and time trial. But to be able to play them, you need up to eight friends that have PSPs and a copy of the game and you can only play locally.

The AI can be quite competitive.

The AI can be quite competitive.

If you’re planning to play this game on your own, problems will start cropping up a few minutes after you start the game. The single-player portion is a little obtuse, since the only thing you can do is play different modes and unlock some content, but there’s not a set structure. The heart of the game lies in its multiplayer mode where you can play against some of your friends locally and use every tactic you’ve learned in the single-player. In other words, the single-player mode seems like a formative experience where you can learn the basics and once you’ve familiarized with the different modes, tracks, power-ups and ships, then you can show that in multiplayer.

I don’t like describing every single aspect about games, but I briefly need to mention Wipeout Pure’s graphics, since these are some of the best you’ll ever encounter on the PSP. Visually, the game looks absolutely stunning on the portable console’s large and pristine screen. As soon as you take a look at this game, you’ll immediately recognize its unique style. But not only does it look terrific, the game’s really fluid and it gives a spectacular sense of speed that not a lot of racing games on portable consoles are able to pull off.

Using weapons effectively is a must if you want to reach the first place.

Using weapons effectively is a must if you want to reach the first place.

Wipeout Pure is a terrific title that’s best enjoyed with a couple of friends with PSPs, copies of the game and a similar skill level which is kind of a big barrier entry. If you can’t manage to play under those specific conditions, Wipeout Pure isn’t necessarily a bad experience, but it won’t hold your attention for nearly as long. For everyone else, you’re in for a treat.