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Wipeout HD

Wipeout HD

Wipeout HD

Wipeout HD, trademarked and stylised as WipEout HD, is the eighth title in the Wipeout racing video game series, developed by Sony Liverpool for the PlayStation 3 console. The game marks the Wipeout franchise's debut on PlayStation 3 and was available exclusively as a downloadable title from the PlayStation Store; it is now available on Blu-ray disc packaged with the Fury expansion as of 16 December 2009. While the game borrows its tracks and teams from the PlayStation Portable games Wipeout Pure and Wipeout Pulse, the content has been upgraded for the game to render up to 1080p and at 60 frames per second with a Dolby 5.1 surround soundtrack.

The game was released on 25 September 2008 in EU and US territories, and in Japan on 29 October 2008. Wipeout HD and its expansion were released on Blu-ray on 16 October 2009 in Europe. Wipeout HD, along with its Fury expansion pack, was also chosen as a free PS3 offering as part of Sony's "Welcome Back" program due to the PlayStation Network outage.

Wipeout HD Gameplay

Gameplay is largely similar to that of previous Wipeout titles. The player pilots an anti-gravity craft, selected from one of several teams and, depending on the game mode, competes using speed and weaponry in an attempt to beat the competition.

There are five main race types in Wipeout HD: Single Race, Tournament, Speed Lap, Time Trial, and Zone mode. Single Race is a straightforward start-to-finish race against seven other competitors, while Tournament is a series of consecutive races won by having the highest aggregate score. In the Speed Lap and Time Trial modes, the player races alone in an attempt to beat the clock. Finally, the unique Zone mode, first introduced in Wipeout Fusion, automates the player's acceleration control, progressively moving the craft at higher speeds. As the player's craft automatically passes through higher "zones", or categories of speed, the player must continue to navigate the course until their energy runs out and the ship explodes. The audio/visual atmosphere during Zone mode differs greatly from regular play. The environments are stripped of texture and are replaced by simple colour palettes that change as the player reaches new zones. Graphic equalizers appear on the race course and in the surrounding scenery, displaying waveforms for the currently playing audio track.

Each race type can be found in the single-player Campaign mode, which is a series of 87 different race scenarios. As the player progresses from easier events to harder ones, tracks and teams are unlocked for use in the separate Racebox mode, in which players can play one-off arcade-style races, either in single-player or two player split-screen modes. Whereas gameplay settings in Campaign mode are predetermined, they are completely customizable to the player in Racebox mode.

In addition to offline play, Wipeout HD offers an eight-player online mode. A lobby system allows players to search for and join either Single Races or Tournament races. Should a player's ship explode in an online race, the player's craft will reappear on the track moments later (as opposed to forcing the player to drop out of the race as in offline play). Voice chat is also supported.

A new introduction to the series is the Pilot Assist feature. Intended for players who are new to the series, it is a passive auto-piloting feature that assists players by nudging them away from the edges of the track or from the walls, though its effects at higher speed settings are less desirable. Wipeout HD allows players to control their craft by using the motion-sensitive features of the Sixaxis controller. Motion control comes in two variants; pitch and steering, or pitch only. The former allows the craft to be totally controlled by moving the controller, while the latter only allows the nose of the craft to be raised or lowered by motion control with the steering either controlled by analog stick or D-pad.

Also carried on from Wipeout Pulse is Photo Mode, which allows the player to take screenshots of the game and save them to the PlayStation 3 hard drive as full 1920x1080 resolution images. These photos can be manipulated before being saved, with editing functions for exposure, saturation, lens focus, depth of field and motion blur parameters. Accessed under the Photo folder in the XrossMediaBar, these images can then be transferred to PC, used as wallpaper, sent to friends, and so on.

Wipeout HD features 38 Trophies, which range from the simple such as merely using the Photo Mode to the difficult, such as reaching the high-speed Zone 75 in Zone Mode. Twelve of the trophies are hidden, with no description on how to obtain them visible to the player, while the final of the thirty-eight trophies is a Platinum Trophy entitled "Transcendence", obtained when all other trophies have been collected (excluding additional content trophies).

Reception
Critical reception to Wipeout HD has been positive, with a Metacritic aggregate score of 87 out of 100, based on 51 reviews, and an 88% aggregate score at Game Rankings, based on 43 reviews.

Universal praise from reviews has been placed on the presentation and visuals of the game, with "sharp detail", "breathtaking lighting", and "strikingly artistic visuals that are gorgeous to see in motion"; Zone mode was also praised in this regard, being "nothing short of stunning" and ultimately creating an "immensely immersive experience". The audio and soundtrack were also well-received, being "perfectly put to practice". In the 12th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards Finalists Wipeout HD achieved a nomination under 'Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design.'

The low price of the game was also cited as a positive factor.

Criticism mostly stems from the game's porting of tracks and vehicles, as well as soundtrack, directly from the previous two PlayStation Portable games, with "little new for fans of the series to sink their teeth into". Some disappointment was also expressed at the "slightly undercooked" online mode, and that some competitive modes, such as Eliminator, were not initially carried over from the PlayStation Portable versions (until the release of the Fury expansion packs).


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