WipEout HD Hands-On Impressions

wipeout_hd_lgc.jpgSony had a half-dozen or so demo stations featuring the PlayStation Network racer WipEout HD for the PLAYSTATION 3 at Games Convention, comfortably placed in front of golden toilet seats. The 1080p, sixty frames per second remake features some of the best moments from past WipeOuts, layering a lifetime of features on top of well known mechanics, aesthetics and locations.

Two teams were available, Feisar and AG Systems, but a number of other cars from different organisations, all familiar to WipEout vets. Only a pair of tracks were available in the demo, the Chenghou Project from and Anulpha Pass, both from WipEout Pure. Each track could be raced in either Venom class or the more challenging Flash class, with increased speed and extra laps.WipEout HD simply takes the futuristic racing series' greatest hits and brings them into high definition. Environments look crisp and clear, moving at a super smooth clip. There were no drops in frame rate in my eight or nine racing attempts. Yes, it's high def, but this looks more like a PlayStation Network remake than a "next-gen" WipEout—and there's certainly nothing wrong with that.

Loads of new graphical tricks, including improved lighting, a gorgeous new honeycomb-like shield, and little touches like well modelled turbines viewable through exhaust ports. Video screens and lighted billboards feature soft, respectable amounts of bloom lighting. All these touches make it far better looking that WipEout Fusion on the PlayStation 2, but we still look forward to SCEE's build from the ground up future WipEouts. Weapon effects are less impressive but now we're venturing into nitpicking.

WipEout HD's heads-up display benefits from its high resolution, allowing screen real estate to be less obscured and giving players better data about power ups. You'll be able to easily and quickly look at your current item, determine how much energy you'll receive from absorbing it or how much damage you'll do to a rival. There's also a pair of proximity indicators, showing not only who's coming up behind you, but also giving your early warning about mines ahead of you on the track and impending attacks from the rear. Very handy.

In short, it looks like a fine remedy to WipEout fans looking for something to tide them over until the next official sequel hits the PS3. Even though the code at Games Convention was pre-alpha, I know I'll be adding digital funds to my wallet and securing it on day one.


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