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Wipeout HD

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Wipeout HD (stylised as WipEout HD) is a game for the PlayStation 3 that is available for download via the PlayStation Network store. It was developed by Studio Liverpool. The game takes place in 2206 AD, a year prior the events of Wipeout Pulse in the FX350 Anti Gravity Racing League.

The game was released on 25 September 2008 in Europe and the US, and in Japan on 29 October 2008. The expansion to the game, Wipeout HD Fury, was released on 23 July 2009. Wipeout HD and its expansion were released on Blu-ray on 16 October 2009 in Europe.[1]

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.[2][3]

Gameplay and FeaturesEdit

FX350

Official logo of the FX350 Anti-Gravity Racing League

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. Single Race is a straight-forward 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 craft 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 craft explode in an online race, it 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).

Wipeout HD FuryEdit

Main article: Wipeout HD Fury

An expansion pack for Wipeout HD entitled Wipeout HD Fury was released on the PlayStation Store worldwide on 23 July, 2009. The pack consists of eight new tracks, 13 new ship models, and three new game modes: Eliminator, Zone Battle, and Detonator. The add-on also includes a new 80-event campaign mode, a redesigned menu interface, 13 new Trophies, and six new music tracks. Four of the new tracks included in the Fury pack are from the PlayStation Portable Wipeout games (The Amphiseum, Talon's Junction, and Tech De Ra from Wipeout Pulse; Modesto Heights from Wipeout Pure) and include accompanying "reverse" tracks. The remaining four tracks in the expansion pack (Pro Tozo, Mallavol, Corridon 12, and Syncopia) are taken from Wipeout Pure and are playable exclusively in Zone, Zone Battle, and Detonator events.

DevelopmentEdit

Wipeout HD was first officially announced during E3 2007, where it was explained that it would be a downloadable title, available on the PlayStation Network, that would feature high-definition versions of old tracks. Later in the year at the Tokyo Game Show, Sony revealed to journalists that the game would be available before the end of 2007, and would include two further game modes that were ultimately not included for the final release: Eliminator and Head to Head. However, a 2007 release was not forthcoming; development continued through 2008, and a shifting release date (initially believed to be Summer, 2008) was eventually finalised in the middle of September 2008, for release later that month.

The delay from the initial summer time frame was widely reported as being due to a technical issue in development. Explaining the problem, David Reeves, CEO of Sony Europe, remarked that it was "a specific technical problem with Wipeout that we have to solve", and that while he could not expand upon the point, "it is a really, really tricky technical problem that no region has been able to solve at the moment. […] I think it will come out before the end of the year but it is something that was just very difficult to get to grips with". Reports soon emerged that the game had failed epilepsy testing, and that the game would have to be re-engineered before it could be released. These reports were addressed by an SCEE representative, who stated that the delay was due to numerous improvements and added features, which included the reverse tracks, four extra ships, two new heads-up displays, the addition of two-player offline split screen mode, and Trophy support. Addressing the reports of health issues, they affirmed that they "take consumer safety very seriously and monitor it very carefully". A comparison video between the preview and final builds later showed greatly toned-down equalizer visuals in Zone Mode. The issues were confirmed when the game's director, Tony Buckley, spoke about the tests, saying that although he felt the tests were subjective and the exact issues "difficult to pinpoint", they took them seriously and that the game has "come out the other end alright, with a lot more content", despite their initial fears that the game would "look poorer as a result".

A new feature from update 1.4, called "Badges" which will promote players whenever they can finish the race in time or in first. Players will begin as a "Trainee" to the latest rank from reaching the highest badge. The host can set up configurations before the start of the race, such as enabling or disabling Pilot Assist, and even Barrel Rolls.

In-game advertisingEdit

The same update that was released alongside the Fury downloadable content introduced in-game advertisements from Double Fusion, found in the loading screens before a race. This move was met with criticism from gaming news outlets, particularly as the advertisements significantly extended the loading time between levels, almost doubling them; while the game content loads at the same speed, the advert must finish playing before the race can begin. The advert was removed soon afterwards, due to several complaints from players. As well as discussion surrounding the increase in load times, there has been consternation about advertising being retroactively added into a game that had already been paid for.

Home supportEdit

On the official European PlayStation Blog, it was confirmed by Studio Liverpool that they would be "looking into adding Home Game Launching" sometime in the future.[4] The new Wipeout space, called the Wipeout Museum contains the interior building of Metropia, which includes a robotic DJ located at the Sky Deck, two Wipeout HD Fury ship models (FEISAR and Icaras), a theatre playing the video about the game history, an animated billboard for each of the Wipeout HD teams, and an arcade game known as Wipeout 2D. Also, the players can play a mini-game called "Team Logo Hunt", where players have to find the 12 team logos and the FX350 League logo in the form of small lights scattered in the space. Wipeout-themed furniture and ornaments are also available for purchase on PlayStation Home, which can be used to decorate the user's Home space. Owing to the cessation of PlayStation Home on March 31, 2015, it was no longer available ever since.

Game ModesEdit

All the game modes in the original version of HD are taken from Wipeout Pulse (except Eliminator and Head to Head). The Fury expansion pack makes the return of Eliminator mode and includes two new game modes based on Zone mode.

Wipeout HD:

Wipeout HD Fury:

CampaignEdit

Main article: Campaign in Wipeout HD

TracksEdit

There are 8 tracks in the full Wipeout HD game. Six of the tracks are from Wipeout Pure and the rest are from Wipeout Pulse. Every track has a reverse and zone variant. The Fury expansion added 4 more tracks (one from Wipeout Pure and three from Wipeout Pulse) and 4 zone tracks from Wipeout Pure.

Wipeout HD:

Wipeout HD Fury:

Zone-only tracks (available within Wipeout HD Fury):

TeamsEdit

There are 12 teams in the full Wipeout HD game. All the teams are taken from Wipeout Pulse and share the same statistics from the game.

MusicEdit

The soundtrack comprises nine tracks imported from Wipeout Pulse, presented in Dolby 5.1 surround sound.[5] The game also allows use of custom soundtracks, so that any music stored on the PlayStation 3 hard drive can be selected during gameplay for use in races.

The Fury expansion pack also adds the following additional music tracks:

On 14 October 2008, Tim Wright, also known as CoLD SToRAGE, who worked on the soundtrack for previous Wipeout games, released an unofficial six-track album entitled Cold Storage HD, to complement the game.

TrophiesEdit

Main article: Trophies in Wipeout HD

ReceptionEdit

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).

Re-releaseEdit

In June 2012, Studio Liverpool announced on their Wipeout 2048 Facebook page that Wipeout HD and Wipeout HD Fury would be re-released for the PlayStation Vita as downloadable content for Wipeout 2048.[6][7] The game was available for download from 19 June in the US and a day later in Europe and Australia. As a bonus, players who have already downloaded the game on their PSN account can download the Vita pack for free.

On 4 December 2016, during PlayStation Experience 2016 in Anaheim, California, Sony Interactive Entertainment announced that HD will be remastered for the PlayStation 4, along with Fury and 2048, in the Wipeout Omega Collection.[8][9][10]

ReferencesEdit

  1. WipEout HD Fury Coming To Blu-ray
  2. Details for PlayStation Network and Qriocity Customer Appreciation Program in North America
  3. Details of the Welcome Back Programme for SCEE Users
  4. PlayStation Home: WipEout Museum, Monkey Island 2 And More!
  5. http://threespeech.com/blog/?p=905
  6. Two WipEout 2048 DLC Packs on PSN Today
  7. Get Those Engines Ready: WipEout HD And Fury Expansion Packs Set To Hit PS Vita Tomorrow
  8. WipEout Omega Collection Revealed for PS4
  9. WipEout Omega Collection announced for PS4 at PSX
  10. http://press-start.com.au/news/playstation/2016/12/04/wipeout-omega-collection-coming-ps4/


Wipeout series
PS1: WipEout2097/XL64Wip3out
PS2/PSP: FusionPurePulse
PS3/Vita: HD (Fury) • 2048
PS4: Omega Collection

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