Wipeout 2048 hands-on preview – the best-controlling Wipeout yet

At this point, developer Studio Liverpool%26rsquo;s pretty much perfected the Wipeout formula. Space cars go vroom-vroom, rockets make %26lsquo;em go boom-boom. It%26rsquo;s good stuff, but also familiar. Setting Wipeout 2048 in an earlier era than past games gives it a bit of a different visual style, but beyond that, we%26rsquo;re not looking at anything new. But how we play Wipeout 2048 %26ndash; well, that%26rsquo;s a bit new thanks to the PlayStation Vita, isn%26rsquo;t it?

Developing Wipeout 2048 for the Vita opened up a handful of new technical opportunities. The capabilities of the new hardware naturally allow for both touch and motion controls, both of which work wonderfully, particularly with each other. Tapping face buttons is often incredibly exhausting, and we rather detest moving our thumbs across these types of devices. We preferred driving with the gyroscope, which feels great%26mdash;vehicles are much easier to control with gentle tilting than stick-flicking. Firing weapons or absorbing power-ups, with the right and left sides of the rear-touch panel respectively, is an easy and effective way to go on the offensive or defensive with the least amount of effort.

There are 10 new tracks and 20 vehicles, most of which have more down-to-earth weapons like missiles and guns (because this is a prequel, you see). But what%26rsquo;s most interesting about 2048 is, well, the same thing that makes most Vita games sound so rad: cross-platform play between Vita and PS3 players of Wipeout HD. They can play and chat with each other regardless of which console they%26rsquo;re playing on (though details of exactly which tracks from each game will be available are still TBA). Oh, and Vita%26rsquo;s Party system makes it easy to jump into a friend%26rsquo;s game from the main menu, Xbox Live style, so that%26rsquo;s cool too.

This is exactly the Wipeout you%26rsquo;re expecting, so don%26rsquo;t expect 2048 to pull out all the stops to do something wildly different. But for whatever reason, we just didn%26rsquo;t care that it was the same old. The new features and the novelty of a new platform excited us enough to know we%26rsquo;ll want to be zipping around wacky city tracks when Wipeout 2048 launches with Vita.

Jun 15, 2011

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