WipEout 2048 Review

WipEout 2048 (Available exclusively on PlayStation Vita)
ESRB Rating: E10+
Players: 1-8
Genre: Racing
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: Studio Liverpool
Release Date: February 15, 2012
Download Size: 1.6GB
PSN: Online Multiplayer, and Cross Play multiplayer with PS3’s WipEout HD Fury.

Parent Talk: WipEout 2048 is rated E10+ by the ESRB for fantasy violence.  You race opponents, and also try to destroy them with bombs, chain guns, etc. The fighting isn’t realistic though, and vehicles simply explode once damaged enough. They reappear shortly after.

Plays Like: Any of the other WipEout games.

Review Basis: Played every event type, and dabbled online to test the stability.

WipEout is a PlayStation mainstay.  It’s been with us since the beginning, and evolved into one of the PlayStation’s beloved brands. 2048 takes fans back to the start of the WipEout timeline.  For the first time we see modern civilization mixed with the high-tech, futuristic tracks. It creates a new experience while retaining familiar gameplay, great visuals and an amazing soundtrack.  Long loading, and lacking online support brings the package down, however.

The Great:

Competitive spirit. Pop-ups constantly appear to prop up your friends’ accomplishments. This reminder motivates you to stay on your toes and continue practicing to ensure they never get too far ahead.

The Good:

+ Best interface for the series. We get a nice clean grid that showcases all the events. Everything is touch-enabled, so you can tap an event to view its information and completion requirements. The campaign is comprised of three seasons, and it can be challenge.

+ Cross Play. 2048 players can compete with those enjoying HD Fury on the PS3. It’s a complicated setup, but it’s lag-free once you figure it out, much like all the online offerings.

+ Tight, responsive, and ultra-fast hovercrafts. You must practice and be patient to learn WipEout. New players have a steep learning curve ahead of them.

+ Speed, heavily-armored, hybrid and prototype vehicles. Each ship is specifically designed for an event, from races to combat, or survival. Mastering each is essential.

+ Race pads. There are speed boost pads, offensive and defense item pads. These equip your craft with random weapons like rockets, wave explosion, or defensive perks like shields, or the ever-handy leech beam.

+ Entertaining events. You have standard races, time trials, combat, and the challenging survival zone. Each requires use of different skills, and become increasingly more difficult.

+ A blend of modern and futuristic visuals. 2048’s framerate is locked at 30 as well, so the animations aren’t as fluid as the PS3 WipEout games, but remain impressive just the same.

+ The soundtrack. It’s fantastic, featuring artists deadmau5, Orbital, The Prodigy, Underworld, Kraftwerk, and the Chemical Brothers.

The So-So:

+/- Online campaign. It’s fun, but takes too long to connect. Instead of selecting events like in the single player, you’re dropped right into the thick of things, racing or battling. That is, if there’s an open lobby.  If not, you must wait for the current round to end, and you’re just sitting there staring. The winning parameters vary depending on which online tier of 20 that you’re in.

+/- Touch screen and gyroscope control alternatives. I appreciate them as options, but they’re just not as precise as the sticks and buttons.

+/- Ten courses. Not exactly variety, especially since some are recycled.

The Bad:

– Where are the online features?  The campaign is unique and original, but there are no other multiplayer features. You can’t host games, set parameters, etc.  If you want a quick way to complete with your buddies, tough luck.

– Ad-hoc. It works just like the online, which doesn’t make sense considering you should be able to pick what to do and fill events with bots. That’s not an option, making the mode seem half-baked.

The Ugly:

Loading. As of this writing, Sony has updated the game to v.1.01, but loading is still very long. The initial boot takes 60 seconds (I timed it) and entering an event spans, on average, 45 seconds.  That’s way too long for a portable game, and inexcusable for a cartridge videogame.

The Lowdown:

WipEout 2048 is fun, just incomplete, and takes a long time to load. I can live without some advanced multiplayer options, but the loading is killer.  If you love the series, there’s a lot to like here, but understand there are big problems. Newcomers may want to check out the PS3 games before jumping into 2048. As a Vita launch title, it’s been fun for me, but I walked away disappointed with the overall experience.

Average Score Scale: 7.0 (+/- 0.5) out of 10

Personal Final Score: 7.5/10 (Inflated)

Reason for +0.5 Inflation: You enjoy WipEout and want it on the go, and understand the multiplayer limitations and long loads.

Reason for -0.5 Deflation: Loading bothers you. Wait for a few more updates perhaps. And don’t forget multiplayer…

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