I've spent a fair amount of time with my PS Vita now (mostly with Rayman: Origins) and WipEout 2048 is being cited as one of the must have launch titles. Is this a fair evaluation? Reader Review regular Ben Latimore investigates...
Wipeout has been the go-to game for high speed, high skill racing for years. Since debuting on the PlayStation it’s provided an electric soundtrack to go with its hovercars speeding through stupidly tight futuristic tracks. Now with the Vita version showing off the system, let’s see if the game crashes into a wall or hits the finish line with a speed pad.
Speed Of Fun: There's a real sense of speed in Wipeout. You’re constantly zooming around the tracks, dodging walls, firing off projectiles and hitting speed pads. Combat events eventually degenerate into players and AI alike slamming the fire button to no end, races are tense to the very finish and Zone mode is just something else entirely!
Techno to Race By: With a soundtrack led by Deadmau5 and The Chemical Brothers, the electronica soundtrack in Wipeout 2048 fits the environments and speed perfectly. It's good for keeping your head in the action while providing a backdrop to create the atmosphere. According to my research some of the tracks have been taken from previous versions of Wipeout; and since I never would’ve known this it’s win-win – new players get a great soundtrack and returning players get a blast from the past.
Multiplayer Campaign: While the single player campaign is pretty typical in terms of selecting challenges and such, the multiplayer side of the game works in exactly the same way...and it happens to be more fun. You're given an objective to beat in any particular mode and then dropped right into a lobby. Finish the objective, get experience. Find one particular mission too hard? 3 failures and you're passed on. I didn't think something so simple could be so addictive — you're always moving forward, and your progress is kept in the single player.
Dat Intro: The intro video played when starting the game is amazing. Yes, it’s that good that it gets its own point here. Don’t spoil it for yourself on YouTube, be sure to watch it on the Vita first.
On the Fence
A Grinding Man’s Game: Wipeout, while extremely fun, can also be incredibly punishing. Tracks are laid out very specifically, and it’s possible to miss every single weapon or boost pad in a chain, or to slam into a wall because you didn’t take a corner very specifically. The game requires a lot, and I mean a LOT of practice, because by the end of the campaign the AI is very, very difficult to face off against. If you’re someone who is prone to raging or throwing stuff at the wall, you will probably want to avoid 2048.
Read Speed of a Turtle: The loading times are massive, something I can't believe flash media is capable of. It's possible to be waiting a full 20 seconds to load a single track, and the initial load when turning on the game is just about that long. And this is from the memory card. Thankfully, a day one patch improved this dramatically.
It’s a little bit tough to recommend to the casual racing fan, considering that it requires a lot of skill and a lot of patience to get right. But if you like a good challenge, and a real feeling of accomplishment as you blast your enemies off the track, then I really don’t think I can recommend Wipeout 2048 more.