Sunday, February 22, 2015

Vita's third birthday, a look back at WipEout 2048

I still remain sad that I didn't get this on day one, (see original review), but having got back into it recently, I can see its brilliance at every turn. Sure, I've loved the series since the PSone original, and Pure and Pulse on the PSP, but this really is another level, with PS3 Cross Play, vibrant multiplayer (even today) and staggeringly beautiful levels.
Also, now, I can compare it WipeOut HD and while the PS3's visuals are bolder, a little flashier and the framerate is rock solid, the core of the game remains the same. The challenge in WipEout is one of the best conceived on a console racer since Metropolis Street Racing on the Dreamcast. Learning (in this case relearning) every twist and turn is a torturous pleasure.

Everything about WipEout from the intro, the touchy interface to the rolls and side-slips, and vicious trophy challenges make it a purists game. Cross Play felt like the future back then and every bit of progress has to be worked for. Sure WipEout, despite the crossover status and iconic nature, was never a huge seller, but the world is a far worse place without it.

Where are they now: Studio Liverpool was dumped by Sony not long ago, leaving the PS4 without a WipEout - showing how dumb the company really is. Off-shoot R8 Games has its own plans with Formula Fusion, while Sawfly went down the toilet on the Vita with Men's Room Mayhem in 2013. Another off-shoot FireSprite, which has yet to announce a first proper title.

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