I’ve been waiting for the PS Vita for some time – I think a lot has passed since it was first announced; a bout of Bird Flu, four seasons of bad weather and various strikes from Royal Mail and the London Underground. What makes the wait worthwhile though, is Wipeout 2048. Oh yes, this game is the very definition of amazing. I’ve had Wipeout in every variant I can remember, on every Playstation platform since I was a young boy. I recall playing it on the PS1 and thinking to myself that it was a grown up version of Mario Kart – because at the time, I wanted to grow up. I was only about 5. Some years on though, Wipeout is one of those games that takes me back and makes me feel young again. It’s high-speed nostalgia in its purest form.
One of the first things you notice from the word GO are the luscious, PS3-rivalling graphics, looking silky smooth and devilishly divine. To have visuals of this quality in your hand, on the go, is a luxury that I’ve been longing for. Fast paced racing with a sublime frame rate that keeps up to speed with the rest of the visuals; explosions – rockets flying everywhere, animated billboards advertising new ships and race tracks, iluminous tunnels and translucent bridge, with ships zooming past you at a ridiculous speed, tearing up the track. Oh my god, I need a tissue.
Wipeout wouldn’t be Wipeout without a killer sound track either, and I’m glad to say that this version doesn’t disappoint. It’s the staple of a game like this to have tracks from The Prodigy in there, amongst other drum and base tracks that keep the atmosphere quick paced with an extra layer of urgency. After hearing some of the songs in this game, you’ll instinctively want to race faster and better. Just don’t listen to this kind of music in your car – unless you want copious amounts of speeding tickets and points on your license.
Wipeout 2048, much like the PS3 equivalent, keeps things fresh in the career mode by mixing up the rounds – you may have to win a race to then progress onto a time trail or a battle round in order to carry on with your career. The battle round is arguably my favourite kind of match, here you whiz around in your ship and acquire points for destroying other ships with a large arsenal of weapons that can be picked up while racing around the track. The more points you collect in a battle round (or the position you come in a race) will determine what medal you receive. There are only two medals too – either a gold ‘Elite Pass’ for coming first, or a green ‘Pass’ for beating whatever the minimum requirements are for that match. Getting a pass will allow you to progress in the career mode; whereas getting a gold will allow for some sweet unlocks and a massive sense of achievement – because getting a gold on Wipeout is like getting my girlfriend to do the ironing. No easy task.
However, with persistence, you can achieve a gold – and that’s when you know you’re playing the game correctly. Because Wipeout is about coming first, it’s about mastering every track, learning them inside out, conquering the shortcuts and finding your enemies’ weak spots. Wipeout 2048 isn’t just a racing game, it’s a game of skill and determination, a game that will keep you occupied for years.
That’s not an exaggeration either; the online mode in Wipeout is fantastic for replay value. Like the offline career mode, there are goals for you to complete online as well, rewarding you for destroying enemy ships and coming first. With the cross play compatibility on the PS3, there’s never a shortage of people online either, meaning that if you can get Wi-Fi on the go, you will literally never tire of this game. Especially if you’re good at it.
Wipeout 2048 controls great on the PS Vita if you use the classic set up. Unfortunately the novel control scheme that uses the touch pad and the tilt sensor is fruitless if you actually want to come a position other than last. It doesn’t work right, which was to be expected, because the corners in Wipeout are tight, and tilting to power your hovercraft was never going to help you win, was it? This game isn’t for tilt enthusiasts!
I cannot fault Wipeout 2048. It’s an excellent launch title for an excellent console, raising the standard for other games on the platform. A racing game with a twist, Wipeout will always hold a special place in my gaming heart – and I’m glad to report that this doesn’t disappoint. We’ll probably have to sit though another eight seasons of bad weather, multiple epidemics of variant strains of killer flu, and numerous strikes from public sector workers before another Wipeout comes along, but be safely assured that there’s enough in this game to keep you busy and entertained for more than enough of that time. An instant classic.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation Vita code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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