Monday, June 06, 2011

Wipeout HD and Fury

As mentioned as a Welcome Back (more like a We're really really sorry) Package Sony gave its PSN users two free games from a choice of five. Already owning three made it not much of a choice of at all. And so I downloaded Dead Nation and WipeOut HD. Finding myself with some spare time I tried out Wipeout HD first.

Now this game is the original Wipout (in HD) and the Fury add-on; getting to the main screen the default option was the Fury set of races...hmm no I'll start with the original I think. I am now presented with a tabbed menu Campaign, Racebox, Online, Options, and Records. Helpfully it also states that pressing the Square button will allow me to view the Game Guide. Okay I'll check out that first.

Another tabbed menu Modes, Features, Speed Class, Race Types, Pickups. Modes tells you the difference between Campaign, Racebox and Online (Story; Create your own tracks; and, well, online). Features tells you about some of the options and special moves you can use. Speed class shows you the icons that denote the maximum speed for the races. Pickups shows you the icons; Race types the same for the races; and Pickups the same for what you can collect during a race. Anyone spotting what's missing yet?

With that under my belt I head back to campaign; select the only Chapter open to me and my first race. Time to select a vehicle... I have a choice of two. By default a "Feisar" with this much speed this handling etc. or a batter Feisar with less of everything. Yeah some choice; there are a lot of others but they all display a padlock symbol. Presumably locked until I complete certain tasks.

Car selected time for my first race. Press X to start and 3....2....1...nothing. Um what's accelerate? What's brake? Yup no tutorial now that's what was missing from the "Game Guide" the damn controls. I back out and check the Game Guide again; hmm to perform a "barrel roll" I'm supposed to alternate between the left and right airbrakes; great which buttons are those? Back out and into Options; Controls; Player 1 ah there they are.

Okay X to accelerate with the secondary paddles controlling the respective air-brakes; must remember using the left air-brake turns me left and vice versa. The track flashes past me smoothly and quickly; oo a blue arrow; over I go and whoosh speed burst; hmm a few red crosses on the track too better avoid those I suppose. Hey someone's shooting at me! How did they get a weapon; where are those pickups the Game Guide told me about?

I back out and check; nope nothing helpful. Back to the race; and oh damn I've just ran over a red cross and hey it's given me a pickup. So wait red crosses; the things that in every other game you avoid; you're supposed to fly over in this one... and you didn't bother to tell me! Thanks for that.

So now I know; fly over blue arrows to boost and red crosses to get powerups. Except when someone else has just flown over the red cross and the light goes out in which case you get nothing. Which power up do you get; well that's the odd thing. Sometimes it seems fixed - this cross gives you this pickup; at other times it seems random. So that's tactics out the window.

I finish the race and unlock other races; I also acquire something called Loyalty for the vehicle I'm using. Next race and nothing's unlocked I'm still using the Feisar. Humph hardly loyalty when I've no choice in the matter is it?

I run some more races open more chaptersstill nothing unlocked until in one race I go to select my vehicle and accidentally hit the stick sideways and enter another vehicle manufacturer's screen. Yup top right there's a row of dots which just appeared to me as part of the fancy background; turns out they represent the other manufacturer's. There's nothing to indicate this anywhere.

For the game itself - smooth and fluid, decent graphics; short loading times between each race; but something really has to be done about the help system as in provide one! You'll also need a reasonable memory; not just to memorise the courses, but as to what each icon pickup means -what does four dots mean again? Don't think you can print off a handy crib sheet; try an image search to get a list of weapon pickups and the best available is ASCII art via GameFAQs. As with so many, put this game down for a while and it'll be hard to get back into it given the complete lack of assistance.

Split/Second is better.


Dan H said...

I remember playing the original Wipeout on PC. It dates from a time when in-game help was something you only had in really complicated games, and I remember all the controls and pick-ups being explained in the paper manual.
The crosses, IIRC, weren't always red: most of them flicked between colours rapidly, to indicate the randomness of the pick-up. I do recall the icons taking a while to get used to, mostly because the paper manual was not printed in colour.

Without the challenges and achievements that more modern games have, it didn't take long to get samey-samey, but I played it a lot anyway, in single- and two-player mode.

FlipC said...

I'm betting that the same information is still contained within the paper manual; shame it didn't come with one :-)

In this version all the crosses seem to be red and either on or off depending whether they're active or not. So as I said for the first few races I avoided them; because that's what you do to big red crosses.

This version also does get a bit samey; but the races are short enough to easily drop-in and out of just for a quick fix of speed.

Except of course without a manual or a separate tutorial course any length of time between plays means having to relearn the controls and icons.