WipEout 2048

WipEout is back. Last time we saw a WipEout game was all the way back in 2008, when Studio Liverpool released WipEout HD on the PS3. I had the honour of reviewing it at the time, and I was impressed. It was classic WipEout anti-gravity racing, with fantastic tracks, graphics and the whole thing ran as smooth as butter, and all for the price of less than £15.

Well, it looks like they’ve done it again. WipEout 2048, effectively a prequel to the previous WipEout games, is another corker. It’s testament to both the developers of the game and the hardware in the Vita that 2048 looks as good on that OLED screen as WipEout HD does on the PS3.

The tracks are set in a near future version of New York, blending an interesting mix of well known landmarks (Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge) with high-tech, neon infused lighting. Like all WipEout games, it is fast, but even with eight racers battling at once with futuristic (and very colourful) weapons, the game keeps everything fast and super smooth, never missing a beat. On the topic of beats, the pumping electronic soundtrack and sci-fi sound effects come together to create an extremely intense aural experience through your headphones.

In terms of game modes, there is a decent single player campaign. It consists of time trial events, race events against seven other racers, combat events where the aim is to do as much damage to other racers as possible, and Zone mode. Zone mode challenges you to simply survive as long as possible, and pass a number of zones to pass the event. In Zone, you don’t accelerate, your ship does that for you. The longer you survive, the faster you go. Zone also features a fantastic colour effect, where the entire track is coloured bright neon colours, which really pop out on the Vita’s colourful screen. It’s a wonderfully trippy experience, racing through the bright colours as you get faster and faster and faster.

There is a decent amount of replayability added in by the fact that you can both Pass an event and Elite Pass an event, so there’s is usually something to aim for if you return to an older event. Each event also has timed leaderboards, so if you have a nemesis like me (SteMacD) then you can battle against their times.

Online Campaign pits you against other players on the Playstation Network, but adds different challenges to the mix, such as hitting two players with a weapon in one race to earn extra ranking points as well as the obvious – trying to win the race. It all works well with no obvious lagging or jittering in any of the games I played. There’s also an ad-hoc mode for playing against local friends with other Vita consoles but I didn’t have anyone handy to test that out.

There’s also a mode called Cross-Play, where you can apparently play against PS3 players of WipEout HD, but I have to say I never had any luck finding a game to join. The built-in manual also completely failed to mention how this mode was actually supposed to work, which was unfortunate, but hardly a deal-breaker with a game of this quality. The only tiny negative that springs to mind is that the tracks are a little slow to load, but at least if you fail an event and retry it is much quicker the second time around, so if you’re struggling with an individual event you’re not looking at loading screens all the time.







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