Some may think that it’s all about Uncharted: Golden Abyss when it comes to Vita launch titles, however Sony’s Studio Liverpool has other ideas. Wipeout 2048 will come crashing onto the Vita come launch day, bringing with it visual splendor and fast paced racing in a game which is as featured packed as they come.
Wipeout 2048 is stunning, there is no other word to describe it really! As soon as you load the game up you will understand why. There are plenty of reasons to own Wipeout 2048 and we will do our best to cover them here.
First up is the single player campaign. Consisting of three tournaments, split into numerous events, this campaign will keep you busy for a long time; it’s pretty huge. What’s more, thanks to the games always connected nature, you will constantly be kept in the loop as to how your friends are doing, therefore if they beat your time/score in a certain race then you will know all about it, allowing you to jump straight in and try to regain some pride.
The events themselves are pretty varied, consisting of straight out races, single lap sprints, combat, time trials and also zone races. Each of the events are represented by a node on a large grid on the Vita screen. Using your finger you can scroll through this large map, although until you complete events you won’t see much there. As you complete events, more and more appear, branching off from the main path and allowing you to choose what type of race you would like to take part in next. The main aim really is to get to the final, at which point the next one will unlock, allowing you to progress to the next stage.
As well as unlocking new events, you will also soon unlock Speed Trails for all of the maps. This allows you to speed around the maps, setting challenges for your friends to beat. Finally, you will also unlock special hidden events; one such event sees you earning the chance to win a special prototype ship, half the challenge is finding the event on the map once you unlock it.
The backbone of Wipeout, such as the events and the social connectivity only serve to make the on track action even better. No matter what event you decide to tackle, you are in for a treat as soon as the action loads up. Not only does this game provide plenty of on-screen eye candy, but its fast paced, retina burning action will have you glued to the screen for days both in amazement and frustration as you try to one up friends and progress at the same time. You can’t pin down what’s so good about the action in Wipeout 2048 into just one thing, because there are so many elements which make taking part in an event great. The tracks are beautifully designed, being wide enough for combat but also providing enough of a challenge to ensure you will be pulling your hair out when it comes to speed trials; the graphics are incredible, closely representing the PS3 version; the action is super fast, with combat offering what can only be described as a huge thrill.
Breaking down the events, I have to say that the Combat events are probably my favorite part of the game. The aim here is to gain a certain score before the timer runs out. This sees you racing around the track in pursuit of your opponents, picking up the green or yellow icons along the way. Each of the icons represent different types of weapons, green gives you items such as mines and bombs which you can leave in your trail, while yellow icons offer up more offensive weapons, such as rockets, missiles, a plasma weapon and also the devastating earthquake; which rocks any opponent in your path. Another twist to combat is that you can flip your ship, this after all isn’t a race, so you can turn around if you get too far ahead and take some opponents out with a head on missile, which is ideal, because if you destroy an opponent you get even more points.
Just because Combat sticks out doesn’t mean that the other events suffer, thanks to the wonderfully designed tracks, racing is a joy. Some races even incorporate combat, meaning you get the best of both worlds, although it does make getting into first place that much harder. Interestingly, winning is broken into two elements, Pass and Elite. Passing will move you onto the next event and doesn’t always require you to finish first, however if you really want to gain perfection in your time with the game then you will no doubt want to gain Elite status in each event by winning every time.
As with other Wipeout games, 2048 also has the concept of teams. Teams are split into Feisar, AG Systems, Qirex, Auricom and PLR Hana, each of which has four ships to its name. Progressing through the game will see you unlock each of these teams and their ships, which adds yet another element to the events themselves. Each of the ships you unlock provides you with the specialist equipment you need to complete each event. Therefore, even though you will start our with a Feisar speed ship, you will soon unlock ships which provide you with better agility or fighting capabilities. As mentioned earlier, you can even unlock prototype ships, each of which has its own, unique ability.
It may come as a surprise given what we have mention already, but the single player campaign probably only makes up around half of the game. Load up multiplayer and you are in for a fantastic surprise. Not only does Wipeout 2048 allow you to race against players on the PS3′s Wipeout HD (which sadly we have been unable to test for ourselves at the moment), but it also includes an Adhoc mode, constant news as to friends progress and a full blown online campaign.
Taking what we have talked about so far and adding in just some of the elements above would make us happy, but to have the online campaign is the icing on the cake. The multiplayer campaign consists of 20 levels, each of which are represented by a node on the screen. Unlike the single player, here each of nodes actually represents a challenge rather than an event, therefore instead of having to win a race or gain a certain score, you may be asked to just play to pass or to just play and hit any opponent with a weapon in order to gain Elite status. As you pass through each of the stages, challenges get tougher, meaning that you may find yourself feeling that same level of frustration you do when playing the single player.
A theme which sticks throughout the game is the ability to rank up, each race you pass will see you gain experience. Whether you are playing offline or online, you will constantly be improving allowing you to unlock new ships and in some cases Trophies. You also have the ability to check out your stats at any time, allowing you to see how many speed pads and weapon pads you have touched, how many photos you have taken, how many races you have won, etc… .
The whole game is laced with most impressive the thumping sound track, whether you are in the menus or in the middle of the action. Providing a futuristic, upbeat sound, the music of Wipeout 2048 is as essential as the action itself. If for some reason you don’t like the music, then thanks to the Vita you can use your own, what’s not to love about that?
The beauty of Wipeout 2048 is that you will still be playing it a few years from now, even though there is probably enough content to last you for the foreseeable future, it seems that with DLC this game could evolve even further. It goes without saying though that what is included on the game card is nothing short of outstanding. If every game released for the PlayStation Vita is anywhere near the quality of Wipeout 2048, then the handheld’s success is guaranteed.
Rating: OutstandingReview Policy(version tested: PS Vita)