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Vita beater: Wipeout 2048 is Sony’s essential launch game

Thursday, 23rd February 2012 10:02 GMT By Patrick Garratt

Uncharted may be the obvious purchase for your day one Vita, but Studio Liverpool’s latest Wipeout game has shown the future of core mobile. Buy now or be damned, says Patrick Garratt.

There’s a brightness to it, a retro tinge compared to the other games that hints at bally ho rocket fantasy, of tea and cucumber sandwiches next the fusion fire.

I can’t put it down. Wipeout 2048 is Studio Liverpool’s Vita launch game and one of the most enjoyable in the entire series. The team has gone to such an effort to drill as much power as possible from Vita that the result is technically akin to Wipeout HD – a silken future racer with enough content and competitive features to justify buying it right now.

I don’t want to put it down. I’ve always been attracted to Wipeout by the future grime, the quasi-Asian team insignia, the Cold Storage breaks. I don’t think I’ve ever been drawn into the Wipeout world as much I have been with 2048, however. This is a prequel, the early days of hover-combat and the beginnings of mankind’s transition from F1 to mach speed deathmatch. There’s a brightness to it, a retro tinge compared to the other games, that hints at bally ho rocket fantasy, of tea and cucumber sandwiches next the fusion fire.

Liverpool has nailed the controls this time. Wipeout games can go either way; the early PlayStation efforts were maddeningly hard, in that any collisions with the side of the course – frequent, given the speed – cost you dear. Following in the vein of the superb Wipeout HD, the balance in 2048 is perfect. Courses allow fluidity without ever feeling obtuse, and the stick control on Vita coupled with the game’s trademark airbreak on generously wide tracks promotes a thrilling feeling of accomplishment. The “one more go” is deadly in 2048.

Thanks to Vita’s always-onism and easily digestible play time, you’ll find handheld Wipeout a difficult habit to break. It has a competitive system similar to Criterion’s Autolog, meaning you can check times and scores on any track against friends or globally. I’ve been locked in mortal combat with VG247 reader BeardyBrave for the past few weeks: every time we beat each other we’re pushed to play more. He was particularly excited at having completed the 2049 final “after 90 minutes of swearing and turning my fingers to bloody stumps”. He’ll be pleased to know I’ve just bested him in the Unity Square speed lap by 0.79 seconds.

“The future of racing.” I’m not arguing.

Single-play is a set of races, combat runs, time trials and the neon trippiness of the zone levels, in which the idea is to keep going for as long as possible. These were included in Wipeout HD and are so inarguably beautiful, whizzing stutterlessly along with Cold Storage thumping away on Vita’s immaculate speakers, that I often play them just to look at them.

There are three seasons laid out on a map: 2048, 2049 and 2050. These range from 14 to 20 challenges (I think – I haven’t finished 2050). Added to this are single challenge events laid out in rows by class. Wipeout ships are classed up to A, the fastest hardware. A class is bloody hard, as are the final challenges. I’ve still got at least a third of the single-player content left to check out.

I’ve hardly looked at the online stuff. There are 16 strings of objectives on the multiplayer campaign map. Getting a game was a bit hit and miss this morning, which I hope isn’t going to be a running issue, but I later got into a lengthy group session and was blown away by the suite. It’s fully featured online play, with scores, leader boards, levelling, rewards and all the rest. It’s fun. There’s no doubt I’m going to be here for months.

Wipeout 2048 cannot be overlooked. I’ve been playing Uncharted: Golden Abyss as well, and I’m just not as engaged. Bend’s Drake adaptation is a faultless production that does well in showing off Vita’s inputs, but being able to play something like 2048 on a handheld is, for me, the realisation of a dream. If this is the future of mobile gaming, you can sign me right up.

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15 Comments

  1. Johnny Cullen

    I like Wipeout 2048 a lot, I do, but a part of it never clicked for some reason. Until last night.

    I took my Vita to the cinema before I seen Chronicle and played a couple of races on it. And right there, it made sense. This is proper handheld gaming like I’ve never experienced before.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Dragon246

    It can become a system seller real quick as many vita owners are getting it in their bundles so others who see them may be tempted to buy it too along with vita which is frankly the ONLY handheld console able to provide true console experiences on the go.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. absolutezero

    I have’nt even touched my Wipeout, been too busy playing the massively niche Shinobido 2, a proper ninja game the likes of which has not been seen since the last good Tenchu and Shinobido 1 both of which were on the PS2.

    Its also both amazing how malleable the main menu system is and frustrating that every new game added has to have its own stupid bubble thing floating about. Also let me delete the Welcome Park.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. TheBlackHole

    Nice sales pitch

    #4 2 years ago
  5. polygem

    it was indeed a dream i had as well. i craved a handheld like the vita last handheld gen so bad, i was hoping that ms would finally do something about it since sony and nintendo seemed not to be willing to make this dream come true…now i feel like it´s really been to late for me. i am not intersted anymore strangeley. i own a 3ds and i must say i really like it. i have no doubt that it is mad fun to play wipeout with those gorgeous graphics on the vita, i love the wipeout gameplay but i just can´t get excited about it anymore. i don´t feel like i really miss out on something. i read alot about the vita atm of course and soon i´ll check one out myself, because maybe i am wrong and i do need that machine. i actually bought a dsiXl recently just to play some old ds games on a bigger screen. i LOVE some of those games and thinking about having to play uncharted or wipeout on the vita seems to me like having some work to do rather than playing for the joy of playing. i find it rather strange that this old machine with it´s pixelated methusalem graphics makes me more excited than this new supertech toy. but it is just like that. i go back to the superdelightfull kirby mass attack now.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. absolutezero

    Its more that one can easily exist with the other. I have a 3DS, a DSi, a PSP and a Vita. I like games. I bought an Ace Card to get the translated versions of Nanashi No Game and coughLovePluscough. I imported PSP games, I wish I could import 3DS games. Ill try any and all games that tickle my fancy. I don’t really have emotional responses to hardware and I guess I don’t really understand the “Full games on a handheld are redundant” arguement.

    Im sure its a real thing its just a bit strange, especially when the Vita has cheaper titles like Superstar Dust, Escape Plan and Motorstorm RC. In increase in fidelity does not subtract from what those games specifically are, bite-sized simple little distractions.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Patrick Garratt

    Why can’t I be positive about things without someone calling me a sell-out? :-S

    #7 2 years ago
  8. TheBlackHole

    Sorry Pat, I was joking. I neglected to include the emoticon.

    “insert winky face”

    #8 2 years ago
  9. The_Red

    Thanks for this but I it’s possible, I’d like to know more about Vita’s new Lumines. The original on PSP is my all time fave handheld game and the promise of a new one on Vita is just crazy.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Patrick Garratt

    @8: :-P

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Psychotext

    “insert winky face”

    That sounds uncomfortable… :O

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Patrick Garratt

    I’m very used to taking the winky face.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. LOLshock94

    Is wipeout that F zero copy sony made?

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Lounds

    No it’s that Cooler futuristic anti-grav racer made my Studio liverpool, which is more cooler than F-zero, sorry but 2097 beat any futuristic racing game at the time and ever since Wipeout has converted many racing fans.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Len

    It’s al about the GOLF! I just can’t stop… ;)

    Can’t play Wipeout for toffee but if they have more generous track design maybe I will take anothet look.

    As for the machine, it is stunning imo. Finally a console in our hands… :)

    #15 2 years ago

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