WipEout 2048 Review

By Dana Leahy - Posted Feb 13, 2012

With stunning graphics, strong tracks, and a great soundtrack, Wipeout 2048 is a solid launch offering for the PlayStation Vita, even if the load times will make you want to make you throw yourself in front of your own hovercraft.

The Pros
  • Fantastic Soundtrack
  • Varied Tracks with Multiple Paths
  • Good Assists for Newer Players
  • Great Multiplayer Options
The Cons
  • Load Times Are Very Long
  • Touch/Accelerometer Controls Are Poor
  • Some Framerate Drops

Wipeout 2048 Review:

The Wipeout franchise is Sony's go-to when it comes to console launches, so it didn't surprise (or really thrill) anyone when the company announced the game would ship alongside the first Vita; however, Wipeout is like an old friend. You go awhile without seeing or hearing from him, and then bam he's back in your life, and you're happy about it.

Wipeout 2048

Welcome To The Future

Wipeout 2048 for the PlayStation Vita is a fast and furious experience. It's a hovercraft racing game, featuring a variety of courses and gameplay modes, ut you also have different types of weapons at your disposal. The color choices and overall design of the game are great, and everything looks absolutely stunning on the Vita's OLED display. 

Although the framerate runs at 30fps, it's smooth and very easy to follow the action with the fidelity of the visuals. There are some framerate drops on the "Combat" events when every ship is firing weapons, but they aren't enough to sour the experience.

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Hover Hand

A large selling point of Sony's new handheld console are the front and rear touchscreens, and Wipeout tries to capitalize on those features, but fails. The game controls very well when you use the sticks and buttons, but the touch controls aren't really suited for a game this fast. 

"Touch and Tilt" mode uses tilt to steer and acceleration is done by keeping a finger on the back touchpad. Item management is conducted by tapping on-screen icons. While it's a cool idea, in practice it's a disaster. The touch controls don't seem natural at all, and the game goes by so quickly, that trying to move your finger from the side of the Vita to the screen is completely futile. 

The touch controls are only really useful at the lowest difficulty with all the assists on. You're much better off using the traditional analog controls, and it seems strange that they only give the player this all or nothing choice. They may have had better luck incorporating some tilt steering, while still using the buttons and triggers for item management and acceleration, respectively. 

Wipeout 2048

Hey! You! Get Off Of My Cloud!

The good news is though, that with the traditional control scheme, the gameplay is exceptionally solid, and there's a good progression to the offline single-player mode that gives some context to the game world. As you progress, each race has a different gameplay type that gives the game some variety.

There's a little something for everyone, including the traditional time trial, straight racing (with different weapons enabled or disabled), and combat where you try to do as much damage as possible to the other ships. The one that stands out as the most intriguing in my opinion is Zone mode. In Zone, the gas is always on and you can only steer, powerslide, and break to handle the course. You have no items, and you have to survive as long as possible as the game gets faster and faster. There is, seemingly, a mode to seemingly fit every mood, which will make the game appealing to a wide number of racing game fans. 

Unfortunately though, the load times are almost unforgivable. Some of them feel longer than the shorter events in the game. It's not game-breaking, but they are definitely too long, especially if you're hoping to squeeze every ounce of gameplay out of your commute and/or battery.

The multiplayer options are numerous (online multiplayer, ad-hoc, and cross-platform play with the PS3 version of Wipeout HD), but it's all going to depend on player population and your access to friends with Vita's and/or PS3s, but with the right community, the options are certainly there to make it robust.

Wipeout 2048

A Smooth Landing

Unlike previous portable Wipeouts, this really feels like it's on the level of its PS3 brother, though it doesn't have quite as much content. If you're a fan of the series, or a fan of racing games, this is a title you're going to want to pick up. Though, if Wipeout has worn out its welcome for you, besides the visuals and the soundtrack, there's not much here that will change your mind.


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