Guest Author - Lisa Shea
Wipeout Pure is the Pod Racer game for the Sony PSP. Coming from a 10 year line of Wipeout racing games, the transition to PSP is almost flawless.
In essence you are one of 8 hovercraft racing ships that compete on looped tracks in a variety of arena styles. Your tracks take you through rural landscapes, through busy cities, in underwater tunnels and in high off-the-ground jumps. Whether you're used to this genre from the wipeout series or from the pod racing games, you know how full of adrenaline and fun this can be.
You get the traditional power-ups as you go around the loops, picking up speed boosts, mines, guns, laser blasts, shields and more. Much of the challenge here is to really memorize a track, so that you can whip around its courses with intuitive ease, sliding gently to grab that extra boost to go past your enemy.
The PSP screen might be small, but the graphics are so detailed in this game that you really don't notice. You get roaring crouds, rippling water, great lighting details, customized ships, legible signs. There's no problem at all seeing what the course is doing or where to dodge.
The sounds are going to appeal to some and not appeal to others. If you like dance / electronic music you will really enjoy this. If you'd rather have a hard rock blasting track, you might be disappointed. You can always turn the volume up or down based on your preference. The sound does come across much better in the headphones because of the high notes being played. Try the music that way before you make any judgement.
The learning curve is a little steep - even the first races are a challenge. Don't give up, though. You need to learn how to use the joystick, how to understand the tracks, how to use the brakes and ease up on the accelerator. You can't just blast around the track at full speed, missing the boosts, and expect to win. There is a fair amount of strategy here - when to slow down to negotiate the curves, when to slide left to grab that boost. Give yourself a number of laps to really learn the course - and then use that knowledge to achieve victory.
The sequential challenge mode is really great once you've used the training modes to study the tracks. You can take on 7 other racers and test your skills. It is GREAT with the wireless connections to play against 7 other friends who are on the bus with you or in the same room! That is where this game really shines. You get the great graphics, great gameplay, and now you're effortlessly racing against all of your friends too. You really couldn't ask for much more from a handheld game.
If I *had* to find something to improve for a sequel, I'd ask for a wider range of music selections. That's about it!
Buy Wipeout Pure from Amazon.com