#871 Wipeout HD

Posted: 26th January 2012 by Mulholland in Games
Tags: , , ,

118th played so far

Genre: Racing
Platform: Playstation 3
Year of Release: 2008
Developer: SCE Studio Liverpool
Publisher: SCEE

Remember when PSN broke down and people had their credit card numbers stolen? Good times, good times… anyway. As a holder of a PSN account so that I could register trophies on a former housemates PS3 I was eligable for the Welcome Back pack when I actually bought my Playstation 3 all those months ago.

Usually I am not one for downloading games from online stores (unless we are talking about Humble Indie Bundles) but seeing that they were up for grabs for free I figured why not. Since I already had bought Infamous and LittleBigPlanet I settled on getting this and the Ratchet and Clank game episode that was on offer.

Our Thoughts

Now I have always been a fan of the futuristic racing genre and growing up was far more of a Wipeout kid rather than an F-Zero one (despite my soft spot for F-Zero GX) so I did wonder how an HD release of this would build upon the games I remember renting from Blockbusters all those years ago. For me, any release since Wipeout 2097 would be an improvement on what I’ve seen of this series.

I know that this is liable to be proven wrong by comments but there are few successful racing franchises that make use of weapons. There is a reason for this seeing that most racing series, such as Burnout and Gran Turismo, strive to reach some element of realism unlike weapons-based racers like Mario Kart and the often overlooked Crash Team Racing. The Wipeout series, being set between 30-150 years in the future has none of these limitations. Granted there appears to be little chance, based on current scientific progress, of there being hover racing by the 2040s but SCEE have dreams and I respect that. In that sense the setting for this game plays a huge part. Sure, racing is racing, no matter where you go, but the futuristic hover-cars, gravity-defying tracks and weird environments makes the use of weapons somehow more credible than a straightforward Formula One based game. Even if in the future, weapons are actually less likely to be allowed, not more… although I suppose we have better safety options at that time than we do now, with remote racing and… yeah, it’s like a video game. But I digress…

Anyway, there is a lot to recommend this as a racer. I would have to say that the multi-player lacks a little polish compared to the Campaign mode but I think we really have been spoilt by Mario Kart games in that respect. The multi-player consists of simple, straight-forward races, which iis actually only one of a few racing options of the Campaign mode, but (thanks to split screen) with less information available to you as a player, meaning it feels a lot harder to respond during the fast racing the game gives you – you need every second you need to get there on time. The split screen makes that harder.

One thing that needs to lauded is the graphics. The makers of the game were not playing around when they inserted HD into the title since the results are outstanding. Lookswise this really now seems to be the game that F-Zero always aimed to be but were always constricted by the technical specifications by Nintendo. Being a Sony game there is little compromise made here in terms of how well this plays on the console. The loading times are nearly non-existent, the music is crisp and suitably futuristic and it just looks beautiful. One thing to note here in particular are the tracks. They create true vistas, with cities stretching into the distances and many flashing futuristic seeming billboards. It’s stuff that, yes, we have seen before, but it plays so amazingly well, it’s just brilliant.

There is one main issue with this game, and that falls into the same problem-hole as Twin Snakes, is that this is effectively the culmination of two games worth of mateiral. The soundtrack, tracks and vehicles have basically been lifted from the PSP games Wipeout Pure and Wipeout Pulse. This is not too much of a problem for us seeing how this is just so well polished and accomplished but I can see how this would provide a headache for Wipeout fans.

Final Thoughts

Okay, so we once again played a game out of order but really who cares.

It is so often the case where a game is style over substance but this is really not the case. To be honest the earlier Wipeout games may now suffer in comparison but that’s a problem for future blog.

  1. […] what’s special about it before playing it. Similar things have been previously said about Wipeout HD, F-Zero GX and probably about the ghost scene in the second Matrix […]