Gamin’ on…

by on Jul.08, 2010, under consoles, game reviews, games design, playstation


Driving often makes me think about futurism. How will we be regarded by generations far ahead of us, peering into the soup of the 20th and 21st centuries? I think one of the least interesting aspects of our society is how horribly inefficient modern-day automobiles look and act. We’ve engineered and over-engineered a century-old technology that spends most of its time idle, slow, pollutive, noisy…

And weaponless.

From the original PS2 Wipeout to my PSP’s Wipeout Fury, I realised that the “Wipeout” franchise is/was a staple of my console experience. But it took a while after getting my PS3 to realise I could actually own this game, and load it, and play it, any time I wanted. What a thought! I went to eBay immediately.

This is a racing game. I’m not merely stating this, I’m emphasizing.

This is a racing game. With guns. With speed. With grace and efficiency. This is the realisation, in game-form, of what a futuristic race-driven society should be, but without the sugarcoated gloss of Speed Racer. I could live here. A future of rolling basslines and turboboosts channels a berserk Gibsonian dystopia, but as long as I’m in the seat of my Feisar Systems Mark II, who the fuck cares right?

Maybe our future societies won’t be as evolved as we’d hope. Or maybe we’ll choose this as our future. Whatevs.

Wipeout HD/Fury is an intricate replication of the Wipeout formula I first enjoyed many years ago. Even the PSP versions of the tracks, the vehicles, the music, are identical and lovingly presented here. And why mess with a winning formula?

My kudos goes to the physics – and they matter. Strafe left, kissing the track wall at 400kph, and the sixaxis purrs. Shunt another car as you cut in from the outside, it rumbles angrily. The bass-heavy sound effects make you cringe as you land from a 100-metre turbo-assisted jump. And the feel of the vehicles in this game make your real-life vehicle, even if made by Lamborghini, seem like a by-product of the Mesozoic Era.

If I were to find gripes about my rediscovered PS3 Wipeout experience, it’s that there is no way to choose a music track like you can on PSP. I think they literally just forgot this feature, and it’s needed. I also find the newer elements in Fury, like “Battle” and “Destruction” modes to be dull. Yes, I know I have weapons, but please don’t take the race out of my racing game.

Despite this, Wipeout is an experience. And after 10 years of life, it still delivers on “that stuff”, you know, that stuff that makes This A Racing Game.

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