Wipeout 3 Sony Playstation Psygnosis Racing 1-2 Players
Replay Value: ****
Overall Rating: ****
Psygnosis brings the next installment of the Wipeout series home to Playstation with Wipeout 3. As a long time fan of the series, I drooled over the chance to get behind my hover sled again and roar through the 7200 class series. Unfortunately, this time it wasn't as exhilirating as my previous Wipeout experiences. While there were a few flaws in the game, I think it's more of a been there, done that feeling. There just hasn't been much innovation since Wipeout 2. Ultimately, I wound up feeling as if I was playing Wipeout 2 all over again. Let's take a look:
Graphically, Wipeout 3 is more eye pleasing than any of the other Wipeout games. Draw in is completely non-existent here and a great deal of effort has been made to give the game a polished look. The only gripes I have are that 1.) The effects tend to look the same. Missiles (No matter what type) tend to be the same color, and 2.) The electrical charge generated when you skin a wall is noticeably absent.
While not as cutting edge as when the series debuted, Wipeout 3's soundtrack maintains the feel of the series, but never really impresses like the first one did. The sounds remain the same as earlier wipeout games - something which while not bad, should have been updated..
The Controls are where I first ran into a major gripe. When playing in the faster classes, a hard knock into the wall caused my controller to switch back to digital mode. This was not a momentary glitch, as I went back and found that this happened continuosly. I don't mind if hitting a wall hard would cause my ship to react poorly for a bit or need some type of button press, but this took away from the game as I had to break away from whatever groove I was in to hit the analog button again. If this was planned, it was a bad, bad idea. Other than that, the controls respond very well under the standard analog (Dual Shock) control pad and I found it easy to get into high speed grooves.
Gameplay - Other than that flaw in the controls, there was only one other problem I had with Wipeout 3. Just like in Ridge Racer Type 4 (Namco) your opponents seem to disappear from the track after the initial light and reappear in pre designed places on the track. It takes away from the general feel of the game that I can't race in a pack or cause a pile up (Which always seemes to be part of the Wipeout "Style" though it never played out that way. Short of that, I found Wipeout 3 to be a fast paced, well planned racer. In addition, the enhancement that I've wanted since the beginning of the series has finally been added; the cockpit view. Now you can feel as if you really are behind the stick.
If you haven't already played Wipeout type games a million times, you'll have a blast with Wipeout 3. The split screen mode allows two players to race head to head also keeping the replay value high (Wipeout fans please note: The link cable is not supported in this version (and what a shame that is, because I personally thought it was one of the best parts of the series)
Should you buy it? Well, it comes to this: If you already have played Wipeout 2 and are not a rabid Wipeout fan, you may want to spend your money elsewhere as there is not much innovation here. If you've never played Wipeout 1 or 2, Pick it up as you won't be dissapointed.