WipeOut Love/Haters: You will Love/Hate this.
When I played my first tournament of four races, I finished in the middle of the pack. I'd call that a fair balance. Not too hard, not too easy.
Now, I'd call myself a casual gamer. A level 12 on GT5; I win a third of my races on WipeOut. That said, I'd say the GS reviewer may not have given this title all the credit it deserves. Where he called the game "punishing"...to the pilot in first place, I don't think he fully explored the usefulness of the "Roll" and "Barrel-Roll" controls or rear-deploy-able weapons, both of which I found VERY effective. And, as I said before, I'm no ACE pilot. The advantage of having all your threats behind you can be a big one. Especially when you can mindlessly dump ordinance out the back.
I'd agree that the control mechanic may seem floaty; But after all these ARE "grav-racers". How much reality-base is there to draw from? When the industry can put one in every garage, the game designers will have more experience to draw upon.This mechanic seems arguably no worse than others; In some ways it's BETTER. What I did find irksome was the linear nature of the courses: You miss a gate, you go back . By the time you've done that, you're in last place for sure. A less punishing penalty(power/speed loss) would have been better. As far as weapons availability, it takes a race or two (or eight) on each course to figure out where your favorite weapon "lives", but they are generously available once you know where to look. Sand storms and visual noise spice things up nicely.
What can I say? The game is far from perfect. I am enjoying the ride. A "six-ish" score seems harsh. Somewhere in the "sevens" seems more accurate. In my scoring, that's a BIG jump, and one that gets it over the "avoid" barrier. Check the demo. What have you got to lose?