Wipeout Pulse Review
The Wipeout series has been a a staple in gaming since Sony’s Studio Liverpool, formally Psygnosis created it back in 1995. Studio Liverpool has been one of the foremost racing developers and their newest installment of Wipeout Pulse further cements this title.
Wipeout Pulse takes place in the year 2207(set almost 200 years after the original Wipeout where that league was the F3600 racing league) where racing has taken the form of the FX400 anti gravity racing league. Eight teams compete in this league and are known by their company name(There are a few more teams that can be downloaded, only in Europe though). This is pretty much how far the story goes, there used to be specific pilots in the early games but that was thrown out the window, but really Wipeout/any other racing game doesn’t need a story. Racing games are all about the gameplay
Wipeout is a racing series in a futuristic setting so you could guess it will be fast. Which it is but in Pulse, it takes awhile to get there. Pulse unlock most racers, has its campaign split up into 16 different grids. These grids hold a number of races with a variety of racing modes and speed classes. As i said before, it takes awhile to get to the higher speed classes. Studio Liverpool made it so the majority of the grids are using the lower speed classes. The first 2 set of grids(The first 8 grids) are almost entirely in the “Venom” speed class and they slowly implement the “Flash” and a very small number of “Rapier” classes. I guess at this point i should explain the speed classes. Speed classes go from Venom, Flash, Rapier and finally Phantom. Venom and Flash are nothing too special, a good starting point but the real fun is in the Rapier class. Phantom class, for me anyway is still a bit too fast to be a decent pilot in but Rapier adds the speed/challenge of a high speed racer that the Venom and Flash classes lack.
Wipeout is not only a pure racing game(pure reminds me of Wipeout Pure lol) but also a combat racing game. There will be Xs to drive over during most racing modes where players and NPCs can pick up weapons to use against other racers. Weapons can take the form of, well weapons or in items. Items come in the form off a super turbo boost, auto pilot and shields. These help complement the weapons that are used to slow racers down and eventually destroy their ships. There is even a game mode that is all about the combat and has nothing to do with winning the race.
This mode is called the Eliminator mode which is joined by Single Race(Standard race), Head to Head(1 on 1 race), Time Trial(Speaks for itself), Tournament(Series of races), Speed Lap(Similar to Time Trial except it deals with individual lap times rather than an entire race time), and my personal favorite mode, Zone. Zone has players in a map by themselves where the point is to survive as long as possible. This is difficult because your speed is constantly increasing. You start in the sub Venom class and go up and up and up until you crash enough times for your ship to be destroyed. I’ve gotten up to Super Phantom because being destroyed and i can tell you it can be hard keeping control going that fast.
Aside from the normal gameplay fare Pulse also adds a few interesting features. It has a in game photo mode which allows you to take pictures that automatically save to whatever SD stick is in the PsP. You can also go to a special website for Wipeout Pulse while in game that allows you to download expansions, skins, wallpapers and more. Using your computer you can go to this site and make custom skins for your ship and others. You can also make your own racing grids and share them online. These are great community aspects that adds a lot to the game. There is also an online mode however there is no one on the American server i chose and apparently you cannot choose another server so I’m stuck with no one to play with online.
The game is amazing to look at as the ship models are crisp and the maps looking great for a psp title. The audio is also extremely well done with top notch music that fits the game and voice overs for announcers being great.
Wipeout Pulse is an extremely solid racing title. The biggest problem with the game is the pacing of the speed classes considering how long it can take to go through all the grids. The lack of online multiplayer activity is disappointing considering how fun the game is but that is something outside the developers control and it is sort of understandable as the game is over a year old and not many PsP owners are online maniacs like their console brothers. Wipeout Pulse is a great racing title that deserves more attention.
Note: All Screenshots are taken in game from my game using Pulse’s Photo Mode.