The Playstation Vita was, and always will be, an odd little beast. Technically, the system was top notch. It should have been a success, it had everything going for it, but things didn’t ever truly plan out. It’s a shame the Vita is mostly remembered is jest by the masses. There was a some seriously good games on the platform.
Once a staple of the Sony brand, Wipeout was infamous for its faced paced action and soundtrack. There wasn’t a whole lot of games offering the same experience outside F-Zero. Whenever a new Sony system came out, you could be damned sure a Wipeout title would appear. The Vita was no different.
Wipeout 2048 was one of the early Vita titles, but never quite made the expected impact. It had everything you could want from a Wipeout game. Blistering pace, satisfying combat and great music. The Vita purred confidently as it displayed the action on its beautiful screen. Wipeout 2048 looked, and still looks, brilliant. Ships drip with detail, burning through stages that teem with life and visual delight.
Acting as a prequel to the rest of the series, Wipeout 2048 featured more grounded tracks and environments. It may not have been ‘full on techno’, but the art style was still distinctly in tone with the rest of the franchise. Seeing the world in transition into what we would see in the original Wipeout was curious fans while looking amazing at the same time.
This wasn’t a case of a game just look and performing well, it had a few tricks up its sleeve. Developer SCE Studio Liverpool wanted to make full use of the Vita, control schemes included. If a player so desired, they could use a combination of control methods. Touching the screen to fire weapons and defending from enemy fire. Rear touch pads acted as acceleration. Voice commands also played a part, along with the ability to title the system to dictate the ship’s movement.
Not every control method was successful. Tilting never quite fitted the pace of the game, often result in crashes and the inability to truly compete. The touch screen worked, but broke up momentum, often leading to slowing down mid-race. Rear touchpads were surprisingly efficient, resulting in an optimistic hope for the future of the method.
Single-player content was offered through various trials, combat based modes, and a healthy campaign. Variation and depth wasn’t anything too expansive, but the gameplay was good enough to carry the content. Wipeout 2048 featured cross-platform play with the PS3 and Wipeout HD. The feature, while good in concept, never really got the attention of player base it deserved.
Mostly forgotten, like a number of Vita’s titles, Wipeout 2048 become a lost gem. It looks, sounds and plays brilliantly. For an early Vita title, it gave a great account for the system. For those still holding on to their Vita, it’s certainly worth checking out. For a franchise once at the front of Sony’s brand, it’s a little saddening to see the last entry quietly fade away into the forgotten.