Wipeout Fusion

-Bam! (2002)

 

 

Summary:

Pilot your hovercraft on dangerous tracks at suicidal speeds as the competition tries to destroy you with crazy weapons in the fourth game of the Wipeout series.

My Thoughts:

Iíve always been a fan of the Wipeout series. It was the only other anti-gravity/suicidal high-speed/future-style racing game that could hold my interest besides F-Zero. Not that there have been a mountain of games like them, but I do consider games like Kinetica and the Extreme G series to be in the same grouping because of the similar premises of suicidal high-speeds and future racing. 

Wipeout games have always had excellent graphics & a killer beat-thumping soundtrack; Fusion is no different. This time the graphics are a little sexier and shinier with the PS2ís extra power, although not by as much as you'd hope. The graphics appear more to be of an upgraded Wipeout 3's. They are damn good, but they aren't using all of the PS2's graphical juice. The soundtrack is another great selection of licensed tracks from your favorite, or some of my favorite, electronica artists; Future Sound of London, Orbital, Elite Force, Utah Saints, Timo Maas, and more. 

I was surprised at how much there was to do in the game. Besides the lengthy League mode and usual time trials there is also a challenge mode with separate challenges for each team. This game will take longer to complete than you think. As you win races you unlock new ships, tracks, weapons and the challenge modes. You also win money to upgrade your craft, another new feature to the series which helps raise its replayability if you feel like upgrading every ship. If you upgrade the ship enough, its appearance will even change, often looking like a brand new craft. 

The game has a nice and sweet learning curve that improves your skills as the tracks and opponents get tougher. The weapons play a bigger role in the game then previous Wipeouts, as opponents will try to use them constantly against you. As you get better with handling the crafts youíll be blowing through the curvaceous courses like smooth whip cream.

There is one addition to the series the developers injected that it really did not need. They added characters. Lame characters. Racing games do not need characters! I let the F-Zero characters go because that series started with them, the Wipeout series did not. Unless there is a legitimate story to the racing then fine, but Wipeout has no story, therefore it does not need these ugly half-rendered douche knobs. The box art features one of these jerks making it the worst box art for a Wipeout game (Wipeout 3 had the best box art by the way). 

Overall, this is another fast, sweet addition to the Wipeout franchise.  

Score: 7.5

-Shawn

Bonus!!!  Check out the Wipeout 3 box art I mentioned. It's simple yet still gives you that sense of gut-wrenching high speed. It just needed to lose that "Best racing game of E3" tag. Quotes on the front of a game box always look tacky. If a game really needs a quote on it, it should stay on the back and not muddy-up the great art that graces our games.