Wipeout Pure Review

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Developer: SCE Liverpool Publisher: SCEA
Release Date: March 24, 2005 Also On: None

The Wipeout series, with its techno style and sleek, futuristic spacecraft, has always been like a mature version of the Mario Kart series. While they are dramatically different in visual and audio design, they essentially follow the same mechanics, with their emphasis on banking turns and using power-ups to race to victory. Wipeout has had a rough couple of years on consoles, but Liverpool’s latest installation of the series, Wipeout Pure, is simply the most amazing handheld racing game to date.

The PSP’s capabilities boost the credentials of Wipeout Pure. From the neon-styled racetracks to the explosive effects from a missile, this is a remarkably beautiful game to play. I’ve been in a crowded situation where people actually huddled over me to see this gorgeous game in action. Classmates were amazed that such a game could look so good on a handheld. Equally impressive is the electronic music that is constantly pulsing in the background, fueling your veins with a beat that fits the look perfectly.

As I said before, Pure plays similarly to a Mario Kart title in that power-ups are emphasized and each position you gain is a position you earn. From the start of each race, you begin at the bottom and pull yourself to the top using several useful items such as a lock-on missile, a huge quake that sends everything in front of you packing, and a boost that propels you forward at unthinkable speed. While the slow-paced racing might turn people off, it’s not because of the graphics or sound taking a toll on the PSP hardware. Wipeout isn’t the twitchy game that Ridge Racer symbolizes. In fact, Pure is very lofty, and the floaty physics stand out when you bank around turns or ramp off of a huge section of the racetrack.

Wipeout Pure offers a lot of different race modes, from the typical Single Race and Tournament modes to the speedy Zone mode. Through each, you will unlock harder circuits, tournaments, and the like. Pure is a very difficult game, and I was surprised at just how difficult it got. While some circuits offer a little leeway and room for error, others require absolutely no mistakes and a bit of perfection. Needless to say, the single-player sections of the game can definitely keep this UMD spinning in your PlayStation Portable for quite a while. If that was not enough, Pure offers multiplayer for the PSP’s Ad Hoc mode, allowing you to play with gamers wirelessly in close proximity.

If I were to recommend just one PSP game to any PSP owner, it would be Wipeout Pure. The stylish, sleek racing and beautiful graphics are just two reasons why this game should be in your PSP collection. I don’t know how to compare this to Ridge Racer for the PSP, but I would say that if you already have that game, this is a wonderful alternative. If Ridge Racer is the cute Asian of PSP racing games, Wipeout Pure is the European alternative.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 8.7
Written by Cliff Review Guide

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