Wipeout 2048 Review
While I suppose it’s customary to review Uncharted: Golden Abyss first, Wipeout 2048 was the first game I busted open for the PlayStation Vita. As much as I adore Naughty Dog’s award-winning franchise, I’ve always been a sucker for Wipeout ’s almost unparalleled fluidity, visuals, and atmosphere. I’ve loved it ever since it first debuted on the original PlayStation, and I’ve been pleasantly satisfied with this portable iteration.
As expected, the graphics are a big highlight. The clarity and detail is absolutely astounding for a handheld title; Studio Liverpool’s slick title was my introduction to the Vita’s impressive visual capabilities, and it really blew me away. The frame rate never stutters (that’s a staple of this franchise), the meticulous design is fantastic, and the effects and sense of speed are unbelievable. However, if you check the backdrops closely, you’ll know this isn’t quite PS3-quality.
The patented futuristic sound is here as well. The soundtrack is loaded with techno and electronic tracks that suit the on-track action beautifully, and the robotic yet crystal clear narration – while sparse – is also appropriate. The audio effects blend extremely well with the music; one never seems to supersede the other, so the balance is nearly perfect. Technically speaking, Wipeout 2048 is an enviable achievement and a great showcase for the Vita’s high-tech skills.
If you’ve played any of the recent series iterations, you’ll take to this like a fish to water. I’ve heard that some critics have been hard on the game’s lack of innovation; i.e., it “doesn’t do anything new.” While I would normally be on the side pushing for fresh creativity, such a complaint falls on deaf ears. I want the familiar; I want the recognizable awesomeness of the franchise that has always excelled; I want a handheld version of the memorable console experiences.
The setup is relatively straightforward: you negotiate the menu with the touchscreen, which is easily done; you can select your ship, enter events, and check out the various community features. Events include simple races (no weapons), races with only offensive weapons enabled, races with all weapons enabled, something called Zones ( Wipeout HD fans will know what these are), and a new event that focuses exclusively on combat. It’s not about racing; it’s about scoring points by damaging enemies.
The challenge is there and I happen to like this particular learning curve. It’s not too demanding but it does ask you to practice, as only the “Elite Pass” ratings can be achieved after a few tries. Well, usually. In the first hour or two, seasoned players will likely score several Elite Passes without retrying, but if you’re a novice, you can alter the steering. If you ask the computer to help you with the handling, things become infinitely easier…even if I still call it cheating. Control is precise and reliable, and there are plenty of available ships and events.
If you want to try something new, you can try the tilt function. By tilting the Vita itself, you can steer your ship, which is a cool idea but unfortunately, it’s not perfect. It’s fun to try for a while but this game demands the precision of standard command inputs; in my eyes, the tilt feature isn’t even necessary. The other downside involves visibility: I think the draw distance could’ve been better, and opposing racers can seriously hamper your view of the track. I think it’s because your eyes are drawn to them so often.
The game is fun, fast, and addictive, as most all franchise entries have been in the past. The combination of the ultra-slick technical elements and familiar gameplay make this one a must for fans. Just be prepared for some inordinately long load times…not sure why, but races take a while to load. Lastly, up to eight players can get involved in the action via multiplayer, but I have to remind our readers that I haven’t been able to test this as of yet. Also, don’t forget about the four-player Ad-hoc option that should be a blast.
Wipeout 2048 is easily one of the best titles available for the launch of the PlayStation Vita. Even if you’re not a long-time fan of the series, you should check it out. There’s plenty of content, it’s flashy and pleasing in so many ways, the presentation is singularly appealing, and the gameplay is rock solid. The load times are oddly slow and visibility can be a problem but for the most part, this is a highly enjoyable experience. If you want something to show off the power of your fancy new portable, it’s right here.
The Good: Fantastic visual presentation and atmosphere. Great soundtrack and effects. Solid, blindingly fast gameplay. Difficulty is just about right and options exist for newcomers. Different events keep everything fresh. Addictive and fun.
The Bad: Long load times. Visibility and draw distance aren’t always the best. Tilt function feels tacked on.
The Ugly: “If you can find something ugly about this production, you’re being waaaay too anal.”
Nice. I'm waiting with great anticipation for my vita to arrive after the official launch next week, and this game is already on the way to me.
One thing Ben, you say "Iâve heard that some critics have been hard on the gameâs lack of innovation; i.e., it âdoesnât do anything new.â"
Can you explain why it is that when we get a game in a long running franchise that has remained consistent through it's life, people demand that the franchise change the very thing that is it's hallmark? I mean I see this complaint leveled at games all the time, and yet the reality is that the game sells because people really do want more of the same. So why is it that critics are so enamored with demanding change where none is necessary, and then penalizing a production for not changing, again where no change is needed? I just don't get it.
Sorry, I can't answer that question. I've been asking it for years and no matter how many ways I consider it, I can't come up with a logical answer.
Read GameSpot's review, for instance. They say several times that this doesn't do anything new. It's exasperating.
Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 2/16/2012 11:43:32 AM
Well, I can try and come up with an explanation, if you guys wanna hear it? 🙂
Cause I think I understand what they mean.
When things are too much "on repetition", then after a while people may want to ask, "why should I pay for this *again*?". It's not that they didn't like it the first time they played it, or the second, or the third, but if something - anything - is repeated too often, well then it gets old.
I think the Lego games are the best example I can come up with: After you've played a few of them, you really have played them all. Not that I didn't like them at first - I did - but there is a limit as to how many times I want to buy what's essentially the same game over and over.
When nothing is new, why not just play the old then? That's what they mean, I think.
Last edited by Beamboom on 2/16/2012 12:02:46 PM
But, beamboom, you're talking about reputation and the reviews are talking about changing game mechanics. Wipeout is Wipeout.
It's muderously fast, has great music, slick graphics. it's a racing game with sources, you pickup weapons and power-ups, ad the controls are fluid racer controls. The point I'm getting at it nothing to do with the game's reputation. What about Wipeout should change for a new iteration of the game to be called innovative? What can you change about it without altering it's fundamental nature? That's the point. Reviewers and critics that demand innovation, evolution or change in an established franchise or genre are missing the point IMHO. The very thing that makes a franchise or genre so established is that the fans no what to expect, they know what they are getting and want more of it. Changing things to innovate or evolve merely takes future products away from what the audience has clearly demonstrated they want.
It would be like the NFL deciding that the game was not evolving or innovating enough and deciding that a greater kicking element was required, so the oblong football get's changed to something rounder than a rugby ball, but not quite as round as a soccer ball. No more Peyton Manning or Tom Brady throwing the ball for 400 yards in a game. The game would change fundamentally. It would innovate, but it would lose at least 80% of the audience.
I don't see this need to change for the sake of it.
As for the lego games, yes, they use more orr less the same mechanics, but they have different puzzles and different themes and the stories from the movie franchise they are using. Those games are not about evolving the mechanics, but rather about the cutesy retelling of the movie story and the lego inspired puzzles.
Last edited by TheHighlander on 2/16/2012 12:15:51 PM
Highlander, I wish they ask THAT question on EVERY review of Call of Duty games and deduct from the score for that...
That may be why the console JRPG's are so scarce...
Highlander: I like the football analogy. 🙂
Beamboom: Innovation and freshness is necessary to keep any entertainment industry running. That much I know. But there's a difference between improving on a formula and CHANGING that formula.
Improvements can always be made, especially within an industry that sees new hardware on a relatively frequent basis. CHANGING a winning formula makes little sense when the fanbase you built with that formula will be annoyed. By simply improving, you can get more fans...by changing it, you sacrifice entrenched fans for the sake of getting a new group.
And that I've never understood. Why start over? You HAVE your following.
Ok I guess I should have read these reviews first but they can't mean that Wipeout should fundamentally *change*, just improve? By adding stuff, tweaking things, you know... Build upon the foundation set by earlier games?
WipEout should even change now? What, take on board some COD elements? Seriously, when I hear statements like this I don't even know what to think.
Got my copy in the mail yesterday! I have to resist the urge to pickup an unsold early launch bundle at gamestop. Maybe I'll just hit up Fury in the mean time.
I just read an article on Playstation Blog that had some great info for Vita owners.
If you purchase Hustle Kings for PS Vita, you will get Hustle Kings on PS3 for free. If you already own Hustle Kings on PS3, youâll be able to download the PS Vita version for free.
If you purchase WipEout 2048, you will be able to download WipEout 2048âs DLC packs, WipEout HD and HD Fury for free when they launch later this spring (if you already own the PS3 versions).
DLC purchased for the PS3 version of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 can be used on the PS Vita version for free (and vice versa).
This is great cause I already own Hustle Kings and the Wipeout HD stuff. Maybe I'll buy 2048 now for my Vita. Specially since you gave it some good praise Ben.
Last edited by DazeOfWar on 2/16/2012 11:08:02 AM
Awesome, thanks. I have both Hustle Kings and the full Wipeout on PS3.
When I eventually get the Vita this will probably be my first game, or one of the first.
Know what I mainly associate with Wipeout? The music. They've licensed some of the coolest music around for these games, and I'm sure this is no thifferent.
Fire up Wipeout, pump up the volume and enjoy the smooth, colourful visuals.
Last edited by Beamboom on 2/16/2012 12:01:46 PM