WipEout Pure

It's 3am, you've got work in a few hours, you're still awake. If you wanted, you could fall asleep right now. But you won't. Heck, you're in bed, the lights are off. But you won't sleep. You can't sleep. Wipeout: Pure has you. It's sucked you in and is refusing to spit you out.

Yes, Pure is that addictive. For a game based on three minute racetrack thrills it's a remarkable feat. If you own a PSP then this game will own you, like what a Mario title is to a Nintendo console Pure is the same to the PSP, a certified must-have.

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After experiencing the speed bump that was Wipeout Fusion, fans will be astonished once they get behind the wheel of SCEE Liverpool's latest installment. Ultimately, the developer has set out to make a name for themselves. And what better way to achieve that goal then to take the franchise back to its forgotten roots? Pure resonates with me simply for the fact that it looks, moves and feels a lot like the good old-fashioned Wipeout installments I grew up with.

Whether you're a newcomer or veteran of the series, anyone can appreciate Pure's unmatched visual polish that puts the aforementioned PS2 edition to shame. All those screenshots you've been staring at for months simply don't do the game justice. Sure you may have deconstructed the level designs piece by piece, marveled at the assorted particle effects designed to tantalize the eyes. However, it's what you don't see while blazing down the track at over 400MPH that will truly blow you away. Pure is a sharp-looking package filled with a variety of minute details like industrial animated banners peppered throughout the metropolis, or the seagulls flying overhead. It's almost a shame you won't have much opportunity to enjoy the scenery beyond limited glimpses from behind the driver's seat.

If there's one thing this installment makes abundantly clear, it's style, and Pure gushes in the gallons. While it's still not quite of the same iconic caliber as The Designer's Republic, the futuristic vibe is a lot more cohesive and savvy to the spirit of Wipeout. From the introductory sequence to the menu navigation system -- the overall presentation is slick and evokes a warm, nostalgic feeling to a fan like myself who feels as if they're reliving an old, familiar classic. More importantly, the crafts resemble the old-school designs unlike that bastardized crap we were fed in Fusion. Ahh, Auricom -- how I've missed you.

Pure offers several modes including Single Player, Time Trial, Tournament, Zone, and Free Play in which you can engage to hone your racing abilities. If you're a newbie unfamiliar with the game mechanics, I'd definitely recommend spending some quality time with Free Play, which will allow you to get used to the various track designs and nuances. While the aptly named Zone mode, is perfect for anyone that simply wants to test their racing prowess and endurance level in an ever-increasing level on specially constructed tracks. Solid concentration skills are highly required.

Although the single-player modes certainly offer their fill of challenges, there will be occasions where you'll yearn for some human competition. Using the system's built-in Wi-Fi functionality, players can go up against a friend (8 maximum), and enjoy some wireless fun. You’ll even be able to hook up your PSP to the internet to score some downloadable content in the form of new race and audio tracks. Not at all happy with the delay of the PSP hitting NZ shores European territories will be able to download exclusive content of the same fashion. Take that you yanks!

I have to give a special mention to the game's awesome soundtrack which introduced several popular electronica and up-and-coming talents including Tiesto, Cold Storage, Freq Nasty and Jay Tripwire. For me, this fine collection of musical bliss truly won me over.

Ultimately, Pure is packed with plenty of fast-paced thrills and content guaranteed to keep your hands glued to the PSP for days and weeks to come.

It's 6am now. The Sun is slowly bleeding through the curtains. You're still playing Pure. Maybe... maybe you could call in sick today.

"Hands down, the best launch title for the PSP."
- Wipeout Pure
Follow Own it? Rating: G   Difficulty: Medium   Learning Curve: 30 Min


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