Wipeout Pure offers up a truly delightful futuristic racing experience, and aptly does the Wipeout series justice.
Gameplay in Wipeout Pure is pretty straightforward. You pick your hovercraft based on different criteria including shield, acceleration, and handling that are each rated on a scale of 1 to 5. Sure that craft may have a speed rating of 4, but all that speed won?t help much if you can?t corner well enough to keep from blowing yourself up. Scattered throughout all of the breath-taking courses are a variety of weapons that you can use to gain the upper hand over your fellow racers. Some of the power-ups attach homing missiles to your ship, while others increase performance. These performance boosters include things like auto-pilot or boosts of speed. While sometimes the action can slow down a bit when you have to use your air brakes over an extreme curve, the rest of Wipeout Pure is an in-your-face, adrenaline charged thrill ride.
You?ll scream past your opponents at insane speeds as you skid over speed boosts scattered throughout the various tracks available in each circuit. Wipeout Pure also offers ad-hoc wireless play for you and your friends to compete in a head to head match. One really nice feature is the ability to wirelessly upload your save information to a friend?s memory card so he or she can try to beat your records (or gloat about how much better their time was).
Aside from the usual circuit races that gradually increase in difficulty, there?s also a zone mode in which you pilot your ship on a specialized track. The goal is to survive as long as possible while constantly accelerating. This is quite challenging but fun.
Throughout all of these different gameplay modes, controlling your craft is a breeze. Accelerating and braking are both easily performed by a face button or combination of the shoulder buttons. Also, air brakes can be used independently to drift around corners without losing too much speed. Furthermore, you can tap the triangle button to look behind you and see if anyone is gaining on you, or if anyone ran into the batch of mines you just released. Wiepout Pure uses a simple control scheme that anyone should be able to pick up and begin playing immediately. Just be warned that new comers to the drift cornering technique will need to spend some time before it becomes comfortable.
Frankly, Wipeout Pure looks as good as it plays. The varied courses available all have a hyper-stylized glow about them and really come alive on the expansive PSP screen. You will see some occasional jaggies, but more often than not you?ll be far too occupied with the blistering sense of speed. Despite the incredible speeds you?ll encounter, Wipeout Pure doesn?t miss a beat and maintains a steady framerate throughout. Every course is memorable thanks to distinct happenings in the background like large real-time displays. Many of the courses sport some impressive weather and lighting effects as well. Raindrops will pelt off the screen as you blow by your opponents and blinding light will pour through the cracks of oncoming skyscrapers. In the end, Wipeout Pure delivers a magnificent graphical presentation, considering this is a launch game, and holds extremely well on the PSP.
Adding to the impressive visuals is a wonderfully put together soundtrack. Every race features the same high-energy techno tracks that fans of the series will love. Every pulse-pounding track well suits the mood of the game. Besides offering some great tunes to keep players indulged in the experience, all of the sounds effects have been crafted with the same level of care. You?d be doing yourself a grave disservice not playing Wipeout Pure with a nice fluffy pair of good headphones.
At $39.99(US), Wipeout Pure offers an incredible value for a few reasons. None the least of which is the fresh, exciting gameplay it throws at you time and again, even if you?re just racing your ghost data to shave milliseconds off your time. Also, you?re rewarded with new skins and tracks as you progress through the available circuits, leaving plenty of replay value to be found here. However, incredible gameplay and graphics aside, what easily lands this title a 10 in the value department, is a hidden web browser function. Granted, this feature wasn?t intended to be used by those purchasing the game(or was it?) and perhaps shouldn?t factor into Wipeout Pure?s rating, but it is so cool to be able to surf the web on a PSP. In fact, this web browser function is almost worth a purchase of the game even if you don?t play it in the intended way.
Wipeout Pure offers an incredibly polished package that veterans and newcomers alike will quickly fall in love with. If you are not playing the F-Zero games on your GBA, you should be playing Wipeout Pure.