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First Impressions: Wipeout 2048 (Vita)

I will be honest in saying that I wasn’t a big fan of Wipeout HD and the Fury expansion back. In fact I wasn’t a fan at all. It wasn’t because I felt the game was poor in any way, I simply lacked the skill to complete it and actually enjoy it.

I’ve never associated with the earlier Wipeout titles spanning back to the PlayStation 1 era either. As you can imagine it was quite a surprise that I felt the need to purchase Wipeout 2048 for my Vita.

However, after playing a reasonable amount of Wipeout 2048 it has really come alive on the PS Vita. Its gameplay is wonderfully addictive, fast and quite brutal. At the same time the visuals are fantastic, they are certainly up there with Uncharted GA and Rayman Origins. Which are all without a doubt on terms with the PS3’s capabilities.

As mentioned initially I had real difficult with the previous Wipeout game. It was a mixture of the speed, handling and somewhat challenging AI which made me quite poor at the game. Whereas in 2048 it feels much easier to control the high speed vehicles and the AI feels easier to compete against – although it is still challenging.

This understandably is quite disappointing for veteran Wipout fans who would welcome the very challenging AI of previous titles. However, for newcomers it is perfect. The skill of AI drivers is enough to provide a healthy challenge and gradually increases as you progress though the game, but not at a rate where there is a difficulty spike.

The handling of the high speed vehicles also feels more responsive and less clunky than the previous Wipeout game. Turning was a real issue for me with Wipeout HD but with 2048 it feels much easier to coast around a corner and the air brakes are again more responsive. If not a little not harsh though causing you do to 90 degree turns when you don’t want to.

The levels/tracks look a lot differently to those seen on Wipeout HD. They don’t feel as futuristic. There is a balanced mix of modern urban setting with the futuristic Wipeout look which works well. Each track variant is designed wonderfully and offer shortcuts and the like.

The main single player pathway is split into three seasons, 2048 to 2050. There are a dozen levels to complete in each season with optional pathways leading off. So there are plenty of levels to progress through and replay. However, as many Wipeout fans will know it isn’t just racing events. Expect to complete time trials and zone challenges as well as races. Also there are a handful of combat challenges to complete which are a bundle of explosive fun. After each level you are graded with pass or elite pass depending on what criteria you have met in the event.

There is also a multiplayer pathway, which consists of a series on levels up to 20. Passing a number of different online races gives progression to the next level. The criteria for pass then becomes more difficult as you progress through each level. I’ve had a few issues with the online though. It stutters a lot and there is dominant lag in some races, and there are too many disconnections. However, problems aside the online is without a doubt great fun, especially with a few of your PSN friends.

I’m looking forward to playing more of the single player pathway of Wipeout and hoping to delve more into it’s online functionality. It’s fast and addictive gameplay keeps pulling me back to the game. Look out for a full review soon.