WipeOut is one of the few PlayStation games that has amassed such a following that it'd be criminal of Sony to not continue following it up as often as possible. While we only got one WipeOut game for the PlayStation 2, we were treated to a fantastic PSP entry years ago. Well, this time around, WipeOut fans are going to be in heaven soon. With WipeOut Pulse arriving on the PSP shortly, and best of all, WipeOut HD crashing onto the PlayStation Store for the PlayStation 3.
So what makes WipeOut HD so special? Well, clearly, a lot of WipeOut's flair has always been about its visuals. So with a mega console like the PS3, Sony Liverpool will be delivering a racing experience that'll render at a native 1080p, all the while running at 60 frames per second. And with a framerate like that, you can bet your bottom dollar that this will be the fastest feeling WipeOut of all time.
Furthermore, it seems like WipeOut HD wouldn't feel complete without offering the ability to fly each aircraft by using solely the SixAxis' motion controls. Various games have already proved that the SixAxis is capable of precise movements, and so we can't wait to see how it'll feel with WipeOut. Of course, if you're not a motion control kind of guy, feel free to use the standard control schemes.
There'll be seven race types, such as: Single Race, Tournament, Time Trial, Speed Lap, Zone Mode, Elimination, and Head-2-Head. All of the modes are pretty self explanatory, so I don't think I need to go into details here. The game's primary mode will be the Race Campaign, so game progression will be found there, as events will naturally unravel as you progress in the game.
Whether you choose to play a campaign or quick race, proceed to selecting one of the many tracks the game will offer. Veteran WipeOut fans will be thrilled to hear that the track selection consists of the best courses from past WipeOut games, all remodeled from the ground up for the PlayStation 3. Some of the tracks will see a few minor layout updates, as well, with new sections and thrills added in to the roads.
There'll be eight teams to choose from, and they are the same teams from the upcoming WipeOut Pulse, which are: Feisar, Assegai, AG-Systems, Qirex, Piranha, Triakis, Goteki45, and EG-X.
Before you hit the track, you'll be able to customize the rules of the race – a great tool to use when you want to prevent disorderly conduct. On that note, WipeOut HD will also feature artificial intelligence that'll race in certain packs. In other words, it doesn't mean that the entire grid is racing against you. It means that a few select ships will form a temporary alliance (or alliances) in order to prevent you from advancing in the race. Very cool feature, I must admit.
Clearly, A.I. will also vary based on what difficulty you chose. There'll be three difficulty levels to choose from, which can also be adjusted to some extent, according to Sony. Now, WipeOut wouldn't be WipeOut without the weapons. And so, WipeOut HD boasts a refined weapons system, in addition to three new toys: The Repulser, Shuriken, and the Leach Beam.
WipeOut HD will also mark the very first time a console WipeOut game goes online. And as much as we enjoyed playing WipeOut Pure online via PSP, a proper online console experience has been long overdue. Thankfully, it's finally here and it'll support up to eight players across single races, tournaments, eliminations, and team vs. team mode.
There'll be an entire community website dedicated to the game, and you'll be allowed to create a player profile, which you can track through the website by checking your stats, records, progress, etc. You'll be able to launch the WipeOut HD website via the game, or you can just manually check it from your own PC.
As is customary with many PSN games, Sony will be issuing downloadable content for WipeOut HD such as new teams and ships, new tracks, and all new events for the race campaign mode. Furthermore, a photo mode will be featured, so when you pause your game mid-race, you'll be able to take a snapshot of yourself, and save it to your HDD. You can use it as wallpaper, for instance.
Lastly, music and visuals will be the big thing here. I've already established that WipeOut HD will be soaring at 60 frames per second, but it'll also be thumping and bumping a nine song licensed soundtrack, remixed in 5.1 surround. We're hoping to see a custom soundtrack feature available, because it seems like nine songs is awfully small.
Still, we're highly excited for WipeOut HD. Despite being a downloadable game, it's a visual stunner with gorgeous textures, track details, and superbly rendered aircrafts. Of course, you can also expect brilliant eye-candy that'll light up the screen every time the action gets hot. Look for WipeOut HD to hit Europe this November. A North American release date has yet to be revealed, but it shouldn't be a long wait after Europe. In any case, you can always create a European PSN account as a second account and just buy it there.