Wipeout HD Review

Author: Denny Markovic
http://palgn.com.au
With the slow rise of gaming now being purchased online and downloaded instead of distributed through discs, many gamers expect a solid gameplay experience, especially ones that are of a smaller scale and price point. With the release of Wipeout HD, gamers are in for a treat, as not only does it scream quality, but reaks of value.

For those gamers not familiar with the series, Wipeout was originally released in 1995, on the original PlayStation, Sega Saturn and DOS. It quickly grew a fanbase, due to its high octane anti-gravity racing, and over the top levels of speed. Over the years many iterations were released, mostly exclusive to the PlayStation family. Now, on the PlayStation 3, Wipeout HD has been released on the PlayStation Network at a budget price point. Though essentially a rehash of several tracks from all the previous Wipeout games put into one, there is no doubt that Sony Liverpool Studios have managed to make it feel all new again.

The best part is that it's all in-game!

The best part is that it's all in-game!
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Wipeout HD is built upon the prospect of speed, and it does not faulter in this regard. Races will have you flying at a minimum of 500 kilometers an hour, and you will almost never stop moving, lest you are pummeled by opponent's weapon pickups, or slamming into the walls. Game modes consist of the usual Single Races, Tournaments, Time Trials and Speed Laps (where you have to beat a certain set time in one lap), however the most interesting of game modes, and most well known throughout many of the Wipeout games, is Zone Mode.

Zone Mode when it begins, never stops until you lose your shield and die. The objective is to maneuver your ship through the course over as many laps or 'zones' as possible, and doing so gives you more points. The difficulty curve constantly rises however, as the more zones you wipe, the faster your ship goes. Your ship cannot stop either, as the acceleration is completely automatic, making steering away from death your only objective. It's an intense and addictive game mode which keeps you coming back for more, and with the added visual effects (each zone makes the world explode in different forms of neon colour), and music pounding with the colours of the world in unison, brings a sense of synasthaesia much like that of the music game Audiosurf.

It wouldn't be Wipeout without gravity defying levels of death.

It wouldn't be Wipeout without gravity defying levels of death.
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And Wipeout HD would not be the game that it is without its visual and aural prowess. From the moment you load the game up, your jaw will drop from how phenomenal it all looks. Ships gleam beautifully in the sunlight, and the explosions of rocket fire will fill your screen with fantastic effects, and it all runs at a silk smooth 60 frames per second, and at full 1080p, so your HD set gets a good workout. Zone Mode in particular, though not as highly detailed as the normal stages, looks great, with bursts of neon colour flowing through the world as your ship blasts about the stage at breakneck speeds. The art design also complements the style of the game well, with slick and clean looking designs throughout. For a game that is only a downloadable, it is without a doubt that there is much to drool at when playing Wipeout HD.

The audio is no slouch either, with full surround sound effects being put to good use. You'll hear everything around you, from the roar of the engines to the blasts of plasma bombs, and it's all crystal clear. The music is great too, with electro beats pumping through the background and changing in sound depending on the ambience of the area you're flying through. And if you're not a fan of the music from the game, you can switch to your own custom playlists with music you've uploaded to your PS3, and even with those the ambience effects kick in. It's very consistent throughout in audio with many nice touches that audiophiles are sure to love.

Next Gen gaming with.. colour?!

Next Gen gaming with.. colour?!
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There is a lot to love and little to dislike in Wipeout HD. The game screams of polish, and with several game modes, a very functional multiplayer component, trophies, and many unlockables, you could be playing this game for a long time. For returning fans, there is not much new to be seen, as essentially the game is a rehash of all the old tracks and music from the previous iterations. But regardless of this, Wipeout HD does a fantastic job in making things feel fresh, especially on the jump to the PS3, making this game a resounding success, and well worth the low price point it offers.