As new hardware launch titles go, you can’t really go wrong with Wipeout. The classic futuristic racing franchise is quintessential Playstation; an acclaimed strand of Playstation DNA that is as much brand PSX as any rapping cardboard cut out dog, any box mashing apple chugging marsupial, any wise talking treasure hunting man raider or any x, circle, square or triangle face button for that matter. Wipeout 2048 will reintroduce a new generation of Playstation gamers to the world of Wipeout on Playstation Vita and based on what I’ve played of it on Sony’s next generation handheld, 2048 is quite simply the best game on the system bar none.
Wipeout has always put an impetus on speed and this is philosophy is retained in 2048, and then some. 2048 is incredibly fast and at times, unforgivably so. If you bail out, crash, take a turn incorrectly, take a missile in round the back or hell, even blink, you will literally forgo and relinquish all of the hard work you’ve put into your race to this point. Such is the beauty of Wiepout. It’s exceptionally addictive, so much so that when things go wrong it’s hard to put the game down until you get it right and make amends for your previous folly. Wipeout on Vita offers the exact same experience as you would expect from its console form. It’s lightning quick and provides a console complimentary version of Wipeout on a small scale that really needs to be played to be appreciated. This is no simple port, no incidental racer strung together to get something out in time for launch. This is a true Wipeout game in every sense of the word. The version I played was close to final build.
Visually, it’s breathtaking; Vita’s 5 inch OLED screen really brings the kaleidoscopic futuristic landscape to life. The attention to detail is not only credit to Studio Liverpool’s ability to actually craft good games, but really showcases the technical virility and perspicuity of Playstation Vita. Just how 2048 runs as fast and as smoothly as it does on such a small screen without even the slightest inclination of frame-rate inconsistencies is beyond comprehension. It’s astounding to think that these kinds of results can be achieved and conquered by Vita even at this early stage in its lifecycle. Right now, Wipeout 2048 is the best showcase of what this platform can do.
On the track, Wipeout purists will immediately recognise some of the franchises most celebrated tracks for example SOL and Empire Climb. The sense of scale protracted by these levels on such a small screen is remarkable. Vehicles vary from the sleek aerodynamic vehicles synonymous with Wipeout, to bulkier vehicles that take up more space on the track. Tracks themselves appear to be widened ever so slightly, so there’s more room to make your way past other racers and avoid the assembled chaos that can ensue in the insular dog fights that can and invariably will break out. In saying that, you can still expect to take quite a bashing from other opponents. Weapons and when you use them can be a real ace up your sleeve.
Wipeout 2048 does utilize some of Vita’s unique hardware features, namely the tilt functionality and touch screen. Now, while both the former and latter work quite well, I found myself wanting to revert back to the traditional face buttons and analogue sticks. There’s nothing wrong with the Vita’s different control take on 2048, but the temptation to play Wipeout as I know Wipeout was all too much for me.
I also got a chance to check out cross platform play between 2048 on Vita and Wipeout HD Fury on Playstation 3. Again, the results were seamless and without issue. The potential with cross platform play here is endless. It most certainly works with 2048 and this is something that should be championed by similar titles that have companion games on the Playstation 3.
Wipeout 2048 has “day one” written all over it. Trust me; you won’t want to miss this.
Wipeout 2048 will be available for Playstation Vita at launch this February.