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Wipeout 2048 Review

  • First Released Feb 15, 2012
  • Reviewed Feb 13, 2012
  • VITA

It's not a huge leap forward for the series, but Wipeout 2048 is still a thrilling racing game with an enviable sense of style.


Wipeout 2048 is all about the familiar: the feel of the ships, the layout of the tracks, and the punch of a rocket. This is a game you've played countless times before and on numerous Sony consoles. But does that make it any less thrilling? Fortunately not. The mechanics of the floating speed racers have been sharpened to a fine point, with tracks that are intelligently designed to reward both racing skill and aggressive combat. The visuals are also as smooth as they are beautiful, providing breathtaking vistas for you to ogle during the frantic, twitchy races. If you're expecting heaps of innovation from 2048, you might come away disappointed. But as soon as you dive into the mammoth single-player and multiplayer campaigns to blast a few ships, you'll be having too much fun to notice.

Much of Wipeout's charm lies in its vehicles; sleek, antigravity ships that float above the track, possessing loads of acceleration and a full complement of weapons. By floating, the ships handle quite unlike a traditional, ground-based vehicle. They glide effortlessly over the surface of the track, unconstrained by the likes of friction. With little traction, guiding the ships around a circuit is tricky, particularly if you're new to the series. You may initially spend a lot of time careering into walls and crashing into other opponents.

After some lengthy practice and judicious use of your ship's air brakes around tight corners, you soon get the hang of it. But that's not to say things get easy--far from it. Races are gloriously twitchy affairs that require precision and concentration to win. And that's before you take into account different ship types; some are built for speed, whereas others are outfitted with heavy armor to make them better suited for combat. There are also numerous power-ups, such as homing missiles, mines, and speed boosts, all of which add a layer of strategy to the already tense racing.

A pilot assist mode is available if you're having too hard a time. It takes care of a lot of the air braking for you and gently eases you into corners, letting you dive straight into racing, without having to worry about developing your skills until later. If, on the other hand, you want to make things even harder, then you can race using tilt and touch controls. Tilting the PlayStation Vita left or right steers, while power-ups are activated using the touch screen. It's a responsive enough system, but it lacks the accuracy of the physical controls, which--given the twitchy nature of the racing--makes things far harder than necessary.

No Caption Provided

2048 features a new touch-friendly interface for its single-player and multiplayer campaign modes. Each event is represented by a hexagon, which is laid out onto a grid. Tapping on a hexagon lets you see what type of event it is and what you need to do to complete it. If you succeed, more events appear on the grid, as well as new vehicles, creating chains of hexagons emanating from that original event. It's a system that's easy to use, looks great, and provides an at-a-glance way to track your progress without resorting to dull tables or statistics. As for the types of events you can choose from, there are standard racing and time trial events, as well as combat events, where you have to concentrate on dealing damage to score points. The Zone events are trickiest, where you have to race around a garish, 8-bit-inspired version of an existing track and avoid hitting the walls until you've cleared the required number of zones. It's devilishly difficult but incredibly satisfying once you succeed.

Most of the tracks are set on the streets of a futuristic city. Huge skyscrapers and office blocks set the scene, with bright neon signs, road markings, and streetlights adding splashes of colour to the otherwise gray backdrop. The tracks are noticeably wider than in previous Wipeout offerings, which makes ship-to-ship combat a little easier, though there are still plenty of tight turns for you to navigate. Some tracks feature huge ramps for you to jump off of, letting you perform midair spins that give you a speed boost upon landing. Others are set above the cities themselves, devoid of any barriers, where one wrong move can send you flying off into the wild blue yonder.

The tracks are an evolution of those from previous games in the series, taking into account their successes and failures to form intelligently designed circuits that reward both those who choose to just race and those who take on more of a combat role. Unfortunately, long loading times mean jumping into a race takes far longer than it should: upward of 40 seconds. That's frustrating enough at home, but when all you want to do is go for quick blast on the bus, it becomes infuriating.

While the vast majority of tracks are new, some are recycled from the recent Wipeout HD Fury on the PlayStation 3. But there's a good reason for that: 2048 supports Cross-Play, which lets you race against PlayStation 3 users. The mode is a little confusing to set up, but it works well once it is, with smooth and lag-free gameplay. A small icon in the lobby lets you know which players are on the PS3 or Vita, but neither side has any advantage over the other (unless some poor soul has decided to use the Vita's tilt controls).

Cross-Play is entirely separate from 2048's full online mode, which takes the form of a campaign similar to that of the single-player. Rather than each of the hexagonal nodes representing events, though, they represent objectives for you to complete, such as finishing in first place, hitting an opponent with a certain weapon, or simply taking part. If you succeed, more objectives open up. Because the objectives aren't tied to specific tracks, the game throws you straight into a race with others without fuss, which means you can get into a race quickly and always make progress.

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Like all Wipeout games, 2048 features an excellent licensed soundtrack to keep the pulse racing during events. Artists include the Chemical Brothers, Deadmau5, and Kraftwerk, so expect big beats, deep basslines, and plenty of blips and bloops. It's a tracklist that gels brilliantly with the stark visuals of the game, creating an air of cool and a sense of style that few games can match. Sure, it's a style you've seen in countless iterations of Wipeout, but it still works brilliantly. Coupled with the exciting racing, lengthy campaign, and multiplayer modes, Wipeout 2048 is fantastic fun and a great addition to the series.

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The Good
Exciting events that successfully mix combat with racing skill
Smooth, beautiful visuals that give a real feeling of speed
Deep multiplayer and campaign modes
Killer soundtrack
The Bad
Frustratingly long loading times
Iterates on rather than reinvents the Wipeout formula
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Mark is a senior staff writer based out of the UK, the home of heavy metal and superior chocolate.
33 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
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Avatar image for benjib84

Im GLAD they didnt "re-invent the wipeout formula".... why would they when the formula works.... ?!?

Loadtimes - 40secs for a race? ho cares, the experience is awesome - true Wipeout fans should love this game!!!!!

Avatar image for NoahRoalson

Also, Skyrim had crazy load times just entering a building... Give me a break.

Avatar image for NoahRoalson

The load times CAN be pretty long but its not a deal breaker by any means...

Avatar image for jakesnakeel

Load times completely kill this game, for me. I got this game free with the new PSN+ downloads. The load times are ridiculous and make me so happy that I never bought this game. I can't get beyond it.

Avatar image for dogpigfish

Waiting for better games I downloaded this and I can say at $35 this game is a steal. Having played the PSP and PS3 versions, this is a huge step forward for Studio Liverpool. Funny listening to these fans of HD/Fury. First off, they fixed the horrendous N64 controls from the PS3 version, allowing a hand break (finally) and acceleration comfortably and fluidly (for other button access) on the right shoulder. Great features like levels/experience and unlockables motivate you to keep playing. While it has some strange crossplay features with inferior predecessors HD/Fury, it feels like an effective reboot of this otherwise mediocre franchise. Hands down, this is one of the best portable games I've played.

Avatar image for TheFlush

@naf456 I know where I have been but I'm not sure about you. Wipeout 64, fusion, pulse, pure, hd and fury all had time trial, single race etc.

Avatar image for naf456

@TheFlush Where have you been for the past 14 years? Wipeout games haven't had modes like that since WE3 ?

Avatar image for hellpolice

So far the only I want for the Vita.

Avatar image for TheFlush

Next time when you're reviewing a game, try to focus a bit more on the content and available game modes. Because in this game, all the usual modes like time trial, single race, zone mode etc. have been scrapped. There's only a single player campaign and a multiplayer campaign. Which in my opinion is utterly stupid and takes away much of my enjoyment of this game.

Avatar image for poorboy13

<< LINK REMOVED >> have you even played this game? have you???

Avatar image for mikkemans

New: There's been a patch which cuts the loading times in half. :D

Avatar image for thiagofali

Mark Walton... I will never forget this name... #b*tchplease

Avatar image for chronocross668

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Avatar image for Gary4safc

They stopped the umd on the psp because of the loading times. I thought there was little or no loading times when it plays on a vita card.

Avatar image for nanorazor

For GameSpot hard scoring system, it means this is a great game. Ps vita games will get better as developer get use to the new platform. And hopeful the make a powerful game engine like they did with iOS but with Vita there are better hardware so far.

Avatar image for jakesnakeel

I stopped watching at "40 second load times". No way!

Avatar image for poorboy13

<< LINK REMOVED >> it's not that bad anymore. there was a patch.

Avatar image for soulless4now

This game scored higher than Uncharted for Vita? Simply fascinating, gamespot.

Avatar image for poorboy13

<< LINK REMOVED >> in level of "fun-ness", this game was just better.

Avatar image for chisoxrule

What's with the load times?! Aren't these games now on game cards like the DS which supposedly load faster?

Avatar image for SadPSPAddict

Can't wait - sounds awesome :)

Avatar image for kweeni

Another 7? Damn.. Eh whatever I have wipeout on ps3 and I suck at it. :/

Avatar image for deactivated-5a5f623fa2551

@oChampion, I didn't realize the PS3 was portable.

Avatar image for Franzkill

Really Gamespot!? This along with Uncharted getting a 7.0, I think your 360 is still on standby..

Avatar image for oChampion

@IceJester45 "Kinda want to get a Vita just for this"? This game's also on the PS3 lol

Avatar image for KaiserKasey

@Telekenesis123 As with the PSP, working out all the quirks on the Vita are simply going to take time. For example, Ys: The Ark of Naphistism, the loads times were horrendous for a game that took little to no processing power. However, with the later iterations, such as the Oath in Felgana that was both a larger and more graphically demanding game, the loading screens were seamless. I also HATE loading times and agree completely...I just hope they figure it out sooner than later.

Avatar image for deactivated-5a5f623fa2551

Love WipeOut. Kinda want to get a Vita just for this and the fighting games.

Avatar image for Telekenesis123

Long load times is literally the reason why I did not buy the original PSP, is this going to be a continuing trend in the Vita? Long load times bore me, un-emerce me, and grate on my annoyance and tedium nerve. This is huge minus for me for ever picking it up, now I'll wait and see if more have this problem.

Avatar image for THA-TODD-BEAST

"Iterates on rather then* reinvents the Wipeout formula." *Should be "than"

Avatar image for Atheno

This game's loading times range from 15 seconds for Zone levels and 30 seconds for everything else. I got my Vita early from Amazon and this game was sold early at ebgames. The loading isn't that bad for races that can last multiple laps. That's just me though.

Avatar image for NoahRoalson

<< LINK REMOVED >> Totally agree dude, people are way to critical of the load times.

Avatar image for lowkey254

I will be getting this... if I decide to get a vita, if not I'll get it for the ps3 and play people on the vita.

Avatar image for parrot_of_adun

Definitely a purchase if I ever bought a Vita.

WipEout 2048 More Info

  • First Released Feb 15, 2012
    • PlayStation Vita
    Wipeout 2048 is set during the birth of antigravity racing and features near-future environments.
    Average Rating204 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate WipEout 2048
    Developed by:
    Studio Liverpool
    Published by:
    SCEI, SCE Australia, SCEE, SCEA
    Driving/Racing, Arcade
    Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
    Everyone 10+
    Fantasy Violence