Wipeout PureJoe Rybicki
The original Wipeout rocked the early days of the PS1. Its sleek, stylish look and fiendishly crafted courses made it clear that a new era of gaming had arrived. You’re going to hear a lot about how Wipeout Pure is doing the same thing for the PSP…but you’re not going to hear it from me.
Don’t get me wrong, Pure is a very good game. It’s simply gorgeous, for one thing—its style is similar enough to the original game’s to be familiar, yet it’s streamlined and updated enough to feel contemporary. The tracks are gleaming visions of a methamphetamine-fueled future, with eye-popping light and weather effects, more eye candy than is possible to take in at the ridiculous speeds the game runs at.
Ah yes, the speed; this is the watershed achievement Pure can rightly lay claim to. This game proves beyond the slightest doubt that the PSP can do racing games at home-console speeds and do them very, very well. Don’t be fooled by the first league of races—by the time you hit Rapier class, you’ll be in more danger from the walls of the track than from other racers. And so in terms of graphics and speed, it’s a fantastic showcase for the system.
But damn is it shallow. For one thing, a mere 12 tracks (four of which need to be unlocked via a pretty serious time investment) are on hand for racing, with another four for the “zone” (read: endurance) mode. Advanced levels of difficulty are pretty much solely created by speeding up your vehicle; your opponents will get a little cannier with weapon use, but not much. So you’ll play through the eight tracks in three tournaments: the first four, the next four, and then all eight. And once you do that, you do it again, only faster. And then again, faster. And, well, that’s pretty much it. You do need to play through single races and time trials to open up the four locked “classic” tracks, but this feels more like an artificial method of increasing play time than an added-value feature.
While I found myself fiercely addicted for the first day or so, once I’d opened up a couple classic tracks and witnessed the ridiculous level of difficulty offered by Rapier class, I felt as though I’d had my fill.
To be fair, the elegantly simple ad hoc multiplayer features add some replay value. And the promise of new tracks, vehicles, and skins available for download in the coming months means that there will be reasons to keep picking up Pure in the future. I just don’t expect it to be too long before I put it back down again.
Verdict Pure is like a highly paid runway model: heartbreakingly gorgeous and dangerously thin.
Pub. Sony CEA
Dev. Sony Studio Liverpool
While no Wipeout Pure downloads were available as of press time, some enterprising PSP fan did come up with an unusual use for Pure’s download interface: Web browsing. Turn to page 110 for details.
Copyright © 2005 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine.