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PSP Fanboy review: Wipeout Pure

Nearly three years since the game was first released at the PSP launch, Wipeout Pure makes yet another debut. This time, it's downloadable on the PLAYSTATION Store for a mere $15. Even with its age, Pure remains one of the best games on the system, thanks to its great level designs, fantastic music, balanced weapons system, and tight controls. By going downloadable, the game has also shed most of its load times, making this re-release of Pure the best Wipeout to date.

Wipeout is instantly recognizable to any fan of futuristic racing. It's gone through many changes since the original PS1 title, and Pure is easily the most refined game in the series so far. It's no surprise you'll be rushing through futuristic environments in a race to the goal. However, what you can do while on the tracks is what makes Wipeout so appealing. The weapons system in Pure is the best the franchise has offered. The varied effects of each weapon are devastating, but not overly so to make the game too combat-heavy. Targeting is much more intuitive than it ever has before, and players will find themselves scoring more hits than ever. Players must constantly watch out for their ship health, and this is one of Pure's most clever design choices: allowing players to absorb weapons to regain health. Instead of using a rocket, for example, you can absorb it and gain some of your health back. This forces players to think about their priorities every time they receive a weapon: to use, to save or to absorb?

Gallery: Wipeout Pure

Not only do the weapons work well, the tracks are all beautifully designed. The visuals hold up incredibly well, even years after its release. The lighting is still stunning, and the framerate is still silky smooth. There are tons of hairpin turns and leaps of faith ... and they're all made possible thanks to the far improved controls of Pure. With either D-Pad or analog nub, ships will do exactly what you want them to, provided you're using the shoulder buttons to lean into turns as well.

The varied game modes add a lot of depth and value. Our favorite mode has to be Zones, which straps players into an unstoppable vehicle that simply accelerates faster and faster. It's the players job to complete as many laps as possible before dying. The high contrast black and white visuals are absolutely stunning. Even now, nothing else looks like Zone mode in the entire PSP catalog.

It's true that Wipeout Pulse is arriving in just a few months, with added Infrastructure support. But why wait? At only $15, there's too much excellent content in Pure to pass up. The game is meaty by itself, but the addition of downloadable expansions (available here) doubles the amount of content in the game. There's hours of thrilling gameplay to be found at a price that simply can't be beat. We can't recommend this highly enough.

PSP Fanboy score: 9.5

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