|Developer(s)||SCE Studio Liverpool
Spiral House (PS2)
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Designer(s)||SCE Studio Liverpool|
|Release date(s)||PlayStation Portable
|Mode(s)||Single-player, Online/Offline Multiplayer|
Wipeout Pulse is a racing game, developed by SCE Studio Liverpool for the Sony PlayStation Portable, sequel to Wipeout Pure. The game was officially announced on 27 March 2007 and was released on 14 December 2007 in Europe. A PlayStation 2 port was released on 24 June 2009 in Europe. The game is set in the year 2207. Players take part in the FX400 Anti-Gravity Racing League, competing in various types of race at several race courses set around the world.
Wipeout Pulse is broadly similar to other games in the Wipeout franchise, and indeed to other racing games as a whole. The player drives futuristic hovering vehicles powered on a series of race tracks which they must navigate, and sometimes other vehicles to compete against. They are aided in this endeavour by the traditional Wipeout arsenal of weaponry (including rockets, missiles, plasma bolts, etc.) and bursts of speed, both of which are gained by driving over special pads on the track; they are also allowed to choose between a number of different vehicles, each with their own handling characteristics. The game features electronic music and extraordinary visual and graphic design, two hallmarks of the Wipeout franchise; it also features downloadable content from the PlayStation Network, each containing a new vehicle and two new tracks, though four have been released in Europe and are not yet available elsewhere in the world.
Pulse delivers a number of new variations on this basic formula: while the game only ships with 12 tracks, these can be driven both forward and backwards; the race's direction is marked by the suffix "White" or "Black" on the race's title (i.e. "Talon's Junction White") and may show subtle variations depending on which way they are driven. Certain circuits also have "Mag-Strips" on some portion of the track, which lock the player's vehicle onto the track and allow for roller coaster-esque loops, sideways U-turns, waterfall-like sheer drops, and so on. It also completely revamps the standard method of game progression. Most racing games present the player with a series of "cups" in which they must come in first while racing against opposition. Pulse players are instead challenged to complete "grids", a cluster of hexagons which represent a wide variety of tracks and race types: time trials; seven-lap "Best Lap" races in which the player attempts to achieve a particular lap time; single races against one opponent ("Head-to-Head" mode); single races against seven opponents ("Single Race"); multiple-race Tournaments; "Eliminator" matches returning from Wipeout 3; and the "Zone" mode from Wipeout Fusion, in which the player attempts to survive as long as possible in a vehicle whose speed is slowly but infinitely accelerating. Players can race against the computer, against other human players within range of the PSP's built-in wireless card ("Ad Hoc" mode), and over the Internet via a wireless network.
The game features a number of extras. Players can take screenshots of in-progress races at any time from the Pause menu. Players are rewarded for using the same team's ship over and over via the Loyalty system which unlocks new ship skins. Players are able to create custom skins for ships at the game's central website using an Adobe Shockwave-based client, which can be downloaded to the PSP by the creator and/or the public at large. Lap times and other records can also be uploaded to the game's website which features a global ranking list. The official site is no longer available as of 2015.
Tracks in Wipeout Pulse come in two variations, referred to as "White" and "Black". These variations essentially determine whether you go around the track forward or reverse. Coloration also tends to vary for each map, as do certain pick-up or speed up bonuses along with Mag Strip placements. The track color is added as a suffix to the track name, such as "Moa Therma Black" or "Basilico White". Some debate may ensue on whether or not each track should be counted separately, allowing for a 24-default-track listing for the game, or as the same map, which would limit it to 12 original maps. The official listing refers only to 12 tracks.
Wipeout Pulse, like its predecessor Wipeout Pure, also has downloadable content packs which include new ships and tracks. These packs are available to download for a fee from the PlayStation Store, and also exclusive to the EU region. All the downloadable packs are already included in the PS2 version.
Critical reception of the game has generally been positive. On Game Rankings, it was rated an average of 84.14% from 49 reviews while on Metacritic the game has scored 82/100 based on 40 reviews.
Overall, IGN found the game to be good scoring it an 8.8 out of 10 while also awarding it their Editor's Choice Award. The reviewer complemented the game for its great presentation, graphics and sound. However, the reviewer was disappointed with some of the gameplay noting, "The repetition of tracks is disappointing, as is the balance of weapons for AI and the lack of extras." 1UP's review rated it a B. Although the reviewer himself was not a big fan of the Wipeout series, he notes that, "Wipeout Pulse truly does become a game for its fans ... if you truly love Wipeout, you're going to truly love Pulse."
- "Spiral House - News". Spiral House. June 2009. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
- Ben Karl, "Wipeout Pulse," GamePro 235 (April 2008): 40.
- "WipeOut: Pulse: PlayStation 2". Amazon.de. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
- "Game Rankings: Wipeout Pulse - PSP". Retrieved 23 February 2008.
- "Metacritic: Wipeout Pulse". Retrieved 23 February 2008.
- "IGN: WipEout Pulse Review". 12 February 2008. Retrieved 23 February 2008.
- "Reviews: Wipeout Pulse". 12 February 2008. Retrieved 3 August 2008.