Sony takes us to the future with its gorgeous handheld racer.
When Sony's Next Generation Portable (NGP) arrives later this year, new system owners will enjoy high-speed futuristic racing in the form of Wipeout 2048. Currently in development at Studio Liverpool, this fast-paced, thrilling and gorgeous title merges high definition visuals with intuitive based play, making it one of the handheld's more appealing launch games.
Oddly enough, Wipeout 2048 takes place four years before the first entry in the franchise (set before the dawn of the sport), but the basic formula remains intact. Players still step into the cockpit of technologically advanced hover cars and blaze a trail through a plethora of challenging tracks at well over 300 miles an hour, winding through huge loops and screaming around sharp turns.
That said, and from what we've seen, this could be the most intense Wipeout thus far, thanks to some imaginative track designs that send gamers traveling vertically up skyscrapers while punishing opponents with a variety of weapons.
While on the subject of combat, the developers mixed things up by dividing power pads into two groups. Red pads mark an offensive item, while green denotes a defensive power-up; also new to the Wipeout series is a recharging shield.
The single player campaign will keep players busy for hours, but the multiplayer component intrigues us even more. First, Studio Liverpool implemented a mode featuring objective based goals. Each gamer has a set objective, kept hidden from the seven other players. This may involve destroying a specific number of ships, performing a barrel roll or intentionally losing. This adds a cool layer of strategy and scheming to an otherwise standard race.
On top of that, Sony will also release the game on PlayStation 3, and those gamers will be able to interact with and play against NGP owners, marking one of the few examples of cross platform play.
Thankfully, the impressive list of features continues. Players will be able to control ships by physically tilting the handheld (or they can opt for traditional analog stick controls), and they can navigate the menus using the system's five-inch touch screen. We even heard a rumor about voice-activated controls, though it remains to be seen if this will make its way into the experience.
Of course, this being a Wipeout game, players can expect incredible looking graphics bathed in neon, as well as attractive scenery, dynamic lighting, a wonderful depth of field that stretches into the distance and plenty of sexy rides.
Finally, the game has a wealth of unlocked content, and it would seem like the developers have left the door open for downloadable updates, which played an important role in the critically acclaimed Wipeout titles on PSP.
All of this may combine to form one of the best showpieces for NGP. Expect plenty of coverage on Wipeout 2048 in the coming months.