There is a strong heritage of Wipeout games on each and every PlayStation format that has been released to date. When the PSP launched the futuristic racing gods smiled upon fans as we received not only one, but two games for the handheld that could. Wipeout Pure was the first on-the-go title for the series, and boy, did it deliver.
Wipeout Pure released as a launch title back in 2005 and is set 100 years after what was considered the best game in the series (up to that point), Wipeout 2097 on the PS1. This time you will be racing to win the FX300 anti-gravity racing league. In total there are eight teams (Feisar, Auricom, Qirex, AG Systems, Piranha, Assegai, Triakis and Harimau) each with its own unique speed, handling, shield and thrust. As always weapons play a big part in the game.
The usual suspects return in the form of missiles, autopilot, turbo, mines, bomb, rockets, plasma, disruption bolt and quake, but the big change comes in the form your shield. Unlike prior Wipeout titles, you aren’t on the lookout for pit lanes to replenish your shield. It’s now up to you to be strategic and absorb your weapons that convert into shield energy. Picked up an item you don’t want? Absorb it. Make your way to the Phantom speed class and absorbing your weapons at the right time can be the difference between you winning a race or blowing up your ship – it’s that big a change. This change would ultimately be a formula that each and every Wipeout game would use going forward. That’s however not the only thing from Wipeout Pure that would make its way to future instalments.
Wipeout Pure came at an interesting time in the world of gaming.
Start up Wipeout Omega Collection on your PS4 (or HD on your PS3) and you might find a few familiar tracks showing up. Does Vineta K and Chenghou Project ring a bell? How about Sebenco Climb and SOL 2? As is the case with the follow-up game, Wipeout Pulse, these tracks were so incredibly well designed by the team at Studio Liverpool (previously known as Psygnosis) that the layout and design became timeless and as result is a game with some of the best tracks to play on. Getting to know each and every location of the speed or weapon pads is something you’ll learn the more time you put it. Perfect it and you’ll walk away with gold awards. Wipeout Pure came at an interesting time in the world of gaming. The standard game comes loaded with 16 tracks, but in total there were actually double the number: 32 tracks. If you had an online connection back in 2005 you could download FREE DLC packs.
These DLC packs include 16 additional tracks, 14 special crafts, four new teams (Tigron, Van-Über, Goteki 45 and Icaras) and 17 additional songs to be added to the soundtrack. It’s hard to imagine this being a reality in this day and age, but in 2005 this is how games were supported to help grow the install base. The good news is that if you can track down a PSP version today you can still download all this amazing extra content at no cost by connecting your PSP to your PC. Those interested in downloading all the available DLC can go to this link. I’ve downloaded it and it works. Download the Euro version.
If you own a PSP this game needs to speed into your handheld right away
Wipeout was always going to be a good fit for the PSP. On the PS1 and PS2 before it, there was no use for the right analogue stick or the second pair of shoulder buttons. Unlike many games of that period, it did not feel like anything got lost when being ported to a portable format. The little analogue nub is a perfect fit for the twitchy reaction required to steer the ships and the shoulder buttons are perfectly in place to take care of corners with your airbrakes. Should you somehow find someone with a copy of the game and a PSP you can enjoy local multiplayer, but the online servers are unfortunately dead. Stick a set of headphones in your ears, turn up the volume and the soundtrack will pull you into the futuristic world like no other 2005 portable game can. Graphically it’s also aged rather well and Pure even includes a pretty cool photo mode. Of course, the Vita makes it look silly by comparison, but when you sit back and notice that it’s 13 years old (longer than your school career) it’s actually still quite impressive.
The studio that brought you this game and each and every other Wipeout game might have closed their doors, but that does not mean you can’t experience and enjoy some of the best futuristic racing money can buy on-the-go. If you own a PSP this game needs to speed into your handheld right away.