You can’t deny that Sony has been worlds ahead of Microsoft and Nintendo in terms of digitally distributing its games this gen. Not only does PSN let me buy stuff in real money – incidentally, that makes me more likely to make an impulse purchase than one that requires me to work out how much I’m actually paying – it’s also let me download ‘proper’, fully featured games. Warhawk, Gran Turismo 5: Prologue, Siren: Blood Curse, Burnout Paradise, and now WipEout HD – all impossible with Microsoft’s backwards size limit for downloadable games and, for many reasons, impossible on the Wii.
Mini-rant aside, WipEout HD is just the kind of thing that we should be getting as downloads. It’s relatively slim on content with only a few tracks from the PSP versions, but it’s 60fps at 1080p (almost), tight and addictive to play, and it’s only £11.99. I defended the pricing of Braid when I posted about it, and while I appreciate that WipEout is less of a commercial risk than a self-funded indie project, this does kind of make it look bad.
WipEout’s been something of a fringe series for a while now, having only two PSP games and a poorly received PS2 iteration since the series’ glory days on the PS1, with most fans still considering WipEout 2097 – the American title, WipEout XL, sounds too much like washing powder for me – to be the high point. It’s a shame because it was one of the titles largely credited with being responsible for the establishment of the PlayStation, and, quite remarkably, it’s managed to remain both cool and futuristic over a decade later. The design work on show here was so far ahead of its time that real life hasn’t managed to catch up yet. That’s pretty much this series and Blade Runner that can boast that. Continue reading WipEout HD