The original Wipeout was one of the two games I bought along with my first psx. The graphics and fast gameplay was out of the world, compared to what else what available at the time. Wipeout fusion (WF) was originally planned to be one of the ps2Ã‚Â´s launch titles, but delay after delay meant that the game only recently was released. So time to switch into fusion mode and take it for a test drive around the block.
Wipeout is what formula one racing may be in the future. Instead of normal racecars there’s hovering ship. The speed is still there but just to spice it up a little coloured pads are placed around the tracks. Blue ones increase your speed for a short while, others gives weapons to blow opponents out of the sky. The gameplay have been altered a little from the last games. Levels are wider, there are 15 competitors instead of 11 and the game seems to be concentrating more on fighting than previously (weapons can be turned off though). As you may imagine races gets very hectic when 15 ships besides you are blasting away at anything that moves. The first hour goes simply by getting use to the games speed, making it through a race without being blown apart and learning the different levels. It’s frustrating but after a while the game becomes a great experience, you are blasting opponents away and finishing a race in first place is a extremely rewarding as you have to really work for it.
WF has several modes shown at the main screen, most are locked from the start. These are slowly unlocked along with new weaponry depending on how many % you are through the game. It’s a nice idea and always gives a reason to play some more; you never know what you may unlock next. Aside from the standard tournaments, time trial and arcade modes there are challenge and the zone. Challenge gives you as the name suggests six different challenges for each team you’ve unlocked. If completing five or more for one team you unlock their special weapon to be used in other modes. Zone is the biggest addition to the game. Starting out like a normal time trial you have the whole track for yourself, but every ten seconds your speed increases while you are racking up points. The game only ends when you run out of energy and there is no set limit to how fast your craft can travel. Sadly WF doesn’t have an online mode but in true Metal Gear style you are given a code depending how well you’ve done in either time trial or zone, this can then be entered at the official site to show your position among word players, its no online mode but it must do for now.
Graphically the game is nice, it’s not the big revolution from the last games. The graphics does however give a nice illusion of a futuristic world complete with underwater cities and lunar bases spread across 42 tracks (7different levels divided each into three and with the standard “reverse tracks”). The graphics tend to fade to the background because of the high speed (you try travelling with an average speed of 1400 kph and taking time to enjoy the scenery). Other than the fast speed the series are known for its the music, rather than making some for the game the production team have obtained songs from artists such as Future sound of London, Orbital and Braniac to create the right techno atmosphere. I’ve never been a big fan of techno but the fast tempo fits the games speeds giving it an extra dimension.
WF is a great game but it has it share of bugs, slowdown happens from time to time when the screen gets really hectic and at times you can fall through the level. Luckily this doesn’t happen too often, but it still draws the final score down a bit, it seems the production team could have used more time to finish the game. In the end Wipeout fusion is a game that most fans of the series can’t afford to miss, its fast, hectic and should last quite a while with the many modes (especially the zone mode).
Fast and hectic
Zone mode rocks
Long lasting appeal
Frustrating in the start
Annoyingly small font at screen