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Sunday | December 11, 2016
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Wipeout HD (PS3)

Wipeout HD (PS3)

Everyone’s favourite arcade racer has finally hit the Playstation 3 in gorgeous full High Definition. Granted it is a belated entrance however as we will see the wait has been worth it. Wipeout HD ends up a wonderful celebration of the genre and it reminds us all why this series has proved to be so popular over the years.

The graphics have been lovingly recreated by Studio Liverpool in glorious 1080p and the frame rate runs at a non faltering 60fps. Not only are the graphics high resolution and fast moving but the detail on the tracks really brings the game to life. There are even little bots projecting your best laps in the shape of ghost vehicles.

Under the surface the game remains true to the series and is basically a reworked version of the PSP Pure, combined with touches from Pulse. This is not a bad thing as there are 8 tracks making up the initial setlist with more to come from downloadable track pack content.

In the same fashion as Pulse the campaign mode presents a grid of hexagons which depicts events which can be unlocked by acquiring points. There are a total of five game modes available; tournament, time trial, speed lap, single race and zone mode. The charm with Wipeout HD is the distinctive and addictive nature of trying the race one more time to get better lap times. I have lost many a night saying "ah shucks, just one more go…."

The controls are welcoming and familiar to anyone who has played any of the titles in the series. Thankfully the PS3 controller is superior to the PSP style pad which caused many corners to be missed in the past (either that or I have fat fingers!). Additional Sony have added motion control if this kind of control method appeals, however the traditionalists like myself will be happy with the standardised system.

To be fair, the motion system works surprisingly well, but there are times in the middle of the particularly fast and challenging track that the older method is just more intuitive.  The creators also added a "Pilot Assist" mode which aids the cornering capabilities with motion control enabled. How does this work? Well if you are taking a corner and you are slightly off with the motion movements, Pilot Assist will keep the craft away from the track edges. It works reasonably well and makes sure that novice users feel more at home rather than being intimidated initially. You can turn this off however if you fancy a further challenge.

The game modes are also pretty much similar to any Wipeout game and aren’t introducing anything radically different from before. Zone mode is one of my personal favourites and has been enhanced since the days of the PS2’s Fusion. You start this mode with a slow craft and as you pass through various zones it increases in speed. In a short period of time the craft has moved into Phantom Class and the speed is frightening, to the point where it is a challenge to keep on track! It not only is a race, but it ends up being a race for survival, trying to keep the craft intact while taking ever increasingly dangerous corners. You earn a trophy for making it to Zone 75 and trust me if you get it, you have earned it.

Graphically I mentioned the game runs in full 1080p HD, and it is breathtaking to watch… there are no slow downs, no problems with lag and the colours are very vibrant and dynamic. The minimalist design just heightens the overall dynamic urgency of the 3d engine and it looks stunning to watch someone else playing. In fact watching someone else playing is the only time you get to fully enjoy the graphics as normally you are too busy trying to focus on the craft to enjoy all the nuances.

On the audio front, the soundtrack is a thumping techno masterpiece and this is accompanied by invigorating, pulsing sound effects to really set the mood.

There is also an online mode which allows 8 people to race together. Online is generally a little lackluster to be honest, however there are no problems with the network which is an added bonus. Hopefully with future downloadable content this area will be fleshed out further. Incidentally, there is also splitscreen mode for two people playing locally with one console on one television which is a nice addition.

Wipeout HD will be available shortly from the Playstation 3 store for £11.99 and I feel it represents great value for money, especially considering the wealth of game modes and tracks available. If you take into consideration the complete graphic overhaul and the fact that a lot of downloadable content is promised it looks to be one of the best games available for the Playstation 3. Highly recommended.

Gameplay

90/100

A tried and tested formula which has been brought into 2008 with HD graphics – at last!

Graphics
94/100

A constant 60 fps and the visuals are striking. If only all store games looked so good.

Sound
90/100

Awesome pumping synthesized score

Value
86/100
the price it is great value for money and is a game you will pick up, again and again.
Overall
(not an average)
90/100

What are you waiting for? it is a bargain!

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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