Wipeout HD – Seizure inducing madness

Due to some small financial issues (read: I purchased GalCiv2), I’ve been unable to pickup Wipeout HD as of yet. My close friend Ryan Honey has offered his thoughts on the game. 

Well the latest installation of the WipEout franchise has finally arrived on our digital doorsteps after being delayed for reportedly failing epilepsy standards tests. Wipeout HD can be obtained via the PSN for $27.95 AU and a relatively small download topping out at just under one gigabyte.

When initially announced, Wipeout HD was a new entry simply containing high definition versions of all our old favourites. For the most part, this is true. However we’ve also got new teams as well as a few new tracks; with a lot of the other content generated from “the best parts” of Wipeout Pure and Pulse, this includes the soundtrack.

Visually, the game is nothing short of stunning, breathtaking, or any other adjective you could think of. I think anyone who has played the game will agree with me in saying that the lighting effects are simply astonishing, while in the ‘Zone’ game mode, almost all textures are stripped in exchange for some visually intense colouration patterns. As you progress through the numerous ‘zones’, your ship gets faster and the whole world changes form around you. The best part about this mode is the environment responds to whichever track happens to be playing, which includes huge digital oscilloscopes assaulting your eyes. Of course, all our other game modes still remain as well as the addition of an online component.

Gameplay-wise any veteran of the Wipeout era will quickly gain their footing, with pilot assist options handy for novice  players. With our handy new SIXAXIS/DS3 controllers having great pressure sensitive shoulder buttons we also get the experience of controlling the intensity of the ships air brakes, which makes cornering a lot more… controllable. The old ‘recharging pit lane’ still has not seen its’ return, with absorbing of held weapons still the way of the future it seems. One fancy thing they did hold onto are those groovy magnetic tracks where you can go through a seemingly never ending corkscrew at 700km/h.

Unfortunately, it’s not all good news. The soundtrack is mainly recycled neo-electronica from both Pure and Pulse, while this is all good and well, it does lack the classic, ‘2097 style’ industrial techno which really made the game for me, way back when. But, not all is lost, thankfully we can put any music we want from our HDD straight into the game. Another downside is what I consider to be a fairly half-baked online mode, you can log on and compete in a race – that’s about the beginning and end of it.

The only other thing that there really is to kick up any dust about is that there is not really anything new to add to the games. I’m sure the DLC that’s on its’ way will make up for some of this; but if you have completed both Wipeout Pure and Pulse, there’s not really a lot here for you – other than the prospect of seizuring if you play in a dark room.

With Wipeouts’ previous two titles containing loads of great DLC, HD also holds these promises for fans, new tracks, ships and more are on the way (we’re told). Another nice bonus is the trophy system being applied, with a total of around 80 to collect both on and offline.

At the end of the day, for under $30 you really can not go wrong with WipEout HD, it truly is a visual (and auditory for that matter) rollercoaster ride which takes full advantage of High Definition technology and the omnipresent surround sound. Anyone who is a fan of the series will find nothing amiss here.


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