Publisher: Sony / Studio Liverpool
Platform: PS Vita
Despite its loyal fan base, Wipeout has never really been the breakout hit that it otherwise should be. To those new to the series, it is a racing game with offensive and defensive power ups. While that may sound like Mario Kart / Modnation racing, the game is far closer to the classic nintendo F-Zero or for non-gamers: that Speed Racer film but with hovercrafts.
Wipeout is fast. Very fast. There is very little time to register any upcoming changes in the race track route and without quick reflexes and the hand break turn you will find yourself slamming into walls on a regular basis. Important for a game like this is to have very responsive controls and at least on this front I had no problems with the controls as I was quickly able to master my first craft. That being said, the controls aren't perfect. Each controlling setting has at least one button in the layout that made my large hands feel awkward on the Vita. A customisation option for control layout would have been highly beneficial. Tilt controls are also offered but for a game as fast as this that seems more like a punishment that anything else.
Wipeout on the vita is enjoyable so long as you don't mind the pretty steep difficult level. After a few courses, any hope of getting elite ranking requires not only skill but detailed knowledge of the track. The challenge, however, never rose to the point that it would frustrate me or take from the gameplay. Key to success is memorising not only the layout of the track but where offensive (missiles, cannons) and defensive (energy drain, mines) power ups are and which are most effective based on where you are in relation to your opponents.
While the core gameplay has very few problems, there are unfortunately some major kinks within the game as a whole. First, the fast paced action while enjoyable at the start does make each track blur into each other. More seriously, loading time for each track is far too long. Every race will take approximately a minute to load - which may not sound like a long time but during an average game session it really does add up. Online multiplayer lacks any really opportunity to customise the matches and I lost interested far too quickly because of it. This is really a shame as it does take from a game capable of playing with PS3 owners. Finally, the game has been criticised for playing on a low frame rate but to be frank I would have never realised it without having read about online it and it is a problem only for the most obsessive of nit-pickers.
While the faults may seem minor on paper, they were enough to sour my experience that I know I will not play anywhere near as much as previous entries. It is a good launch title - indeed almost THE launch title- but it doesn't quite live up to expectations
Rent or Buy: Buy
Reviewed by: JP Gallagher
Story by entertainment.ie | 15:54 | Friday 24th February 2012 | Games
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