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October 21, 2005
Wipeout Pure - Review
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Using the shield.
Wipeout. The series dawned on the PSOne, soon following with arguably one of the best games on the system (Wipeout 2097/XL). With stunning visuals, a techno soundtrack to die for, and gameplay that never failed to keep you returning, Wipeout is probably the best racing game series ever to stand the test of time. So, while the Wipeout series is without a doubt the best thing since sliced bread, for over a decade it hasn’t had a portable incarnation to play on the go... until now. Enter Wipeout Pure on the Sony PSP, the first handheld that’s stood up and gone “Pick me! I’ve got enough grunt for all your techno-backed eye-bleeding visuals”. And in a credit to the crew at SCEE, the game that they’ve come up with is so brilliant it even surpasses the mighty Wipeout 2097.

From the moment you pop the Wipeout Pure UMD into the slot... you’re welcomed to a familiar feeling from yesteryear; the design and feel of the game is very similar to that dreamed up by Designers Republic for Wipeout 2097. Everything looks sleek and high-tech as fans remember it before the Wipeout series had its little stumble between the PSOne and PS2. This presentation isn’t just for the intro and menu screens alone however; the style is common throughout the entire game, from stats screens and race summaries, to the HUD and in-game pause menus. For further effect you have the option to customize the menu screen color schemes to whichever team takes your fancy! Awesome!

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Some of the effects look really special.
Gameplay in Wipeout Pure is the same as you’ll remember it with a few minor changes (mostly for the better mind you). There are 10 craft, and 12 tracks to race on (even more with the downloadable content), and the aim of the game is to pretend you’re in complete control while screaming by at 10 times the speed of sound listening to techno. If any enemies get in your way, let them know about it by firing some rockets or plasma bolts down their way, or just skim over a boost pad and fly right on by. If you’ve laid eyes on any Wipeout title before, you’ll instantly be familiar with what this game is about. The health system has undergone a revamp however, and rather than having pit-lanes to recharge your shield, you now have the ability to absorb a weapon’s energy rather than use it to blow you opponents off the track. As such, an additional strategy element enters the game where you’ll be forced to make life-or-death decisions over removing an opponent, or not exploding next time you brush a wall.

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Spectacular explosions ahead!
A major addition to the game, which is a sadly underused feature of the PSP, is that of game downloadable content. Wipeout Pure enables you to download extra ‘packs’ off the internet to your Memory Stick Pro Duo, and then install extra tracks, menu skins, vehicles and music tracks! And to make things even tastier, they’re free! This in effect adds extra replayability for the game as well as further value to a game which is already brimming with features. The only problem however is that all this extra data takes up a fair slog of space; if you’re still using your PSP with the primitive 32 meg Pro Duo, Wipeout Pure is the perfect excuse to bump that up to a more usable 512MB or 1GB card.

You’d be well forgiven for thinking that the screenshots of the game are from Wipeout Fusion, and the funny thing is that while they’re absolutely gorgeous, the visuals reach higher levels yet when they’re being pumped out at a constant 30fps. There are weapon effects, weather effects, reflections and high-poly models, and scenery as far as the eye can see; while the PSP is into it’s 2nd and almost 3rd generation wave of titles, the visuals in Wipeout Pure still thumb their nose at games that are being released today. If you ever need to prove to someone how pretty a PSP game can get, show them a lap or two of Vineta K when you pop out of a tunnel to be blinded by the light with lens flares to boot, and they’ll be hard pressed not to drool all over your PSP.

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Trackside detail is impressive.
As with previous titles in the series, Wipeout Pure excels in the audio department also; with Aphex Twin, Photek, Paul Hartnoll and Tiesto being only several of the artists responsible for the licensed in-game music. With the earlier-mentioned downloadable content, there is room for expansion with the audio tracks here, so with any luck there will be more dance artists gracing the Wipeout racing league before you’re done with it. Audio cues in-game are of a high standard too, and are informative and well timed (without being queued up or delayed as has happened in the past). From wall-scrapes to explosions and engaging shields, the effects too simply cannot be faulted.

Wipeout Pure is a huge game, with a graceful learning curve that will take you minutes to learn but hours to master. There’s a whole heap of features that are in the game which I’ve barely brushed over here, such as online downloads, wi-fi gameplay, extra game modes, and built in game sharing (!), in addition to the plethora that I’ve already rambled on about. Wipeout Pure has shone new light on the Wipeout series, in particularly for fans of Wipeout 2097 who were disappointed in the direction the series took in the late 90’s. Wipeout is back, and at its best that we’ve ever seen it; buy this game you simply cannot go wrong.

Review By: Chris Gobbett

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse
GRAPHICSOh so sexy… and silky smooth to boot *drools*
SOUNDOnly dance/techno heads need apply. Top grade beats.
GAMEPLAYIt’s Wipeout through and through, as you remember it.
VALUEGame sharing, downloadable content, and much, much more.
OVERALLUnless you have a complete phobia of the Wipeout series, this game is one that all PSP owners should have in their collection. Like Wipeout 2097, I have no doubt in my mind that Wipeout Pure will age gracefully and still be played in years to come. Buy it... buy it now!

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