Wipeout HD, or, What a Sony $20 Digital Download Buys in 2008

Wipeout HD, or, What a Sony $20 Digital Download Buys in 2008 1

There’s a list of reasons that the very idea of paying more than $10 for an iPhone OS game strikes me as… well, not unfathomable, but just a real big stretch. Number one on that list? Sony’s $20 game Wipeout HD for the PlayStation 3.

Wipeout HD, or, What a Sony $20 Digital Download Buys in 2008 2

You might recall that I wound up with a PlayStation 3 as a holiday gift a couple of years ago, and said quite explicitly that I wouldn’t have purchased the console for myself because of its way-too-expensive price. And yes, Virtua Fighter 5 was very impressive—for the brief time it was a PS3 exclusive—but it wasn’t a “go out and get a console” sort of game for me. The thing that would have forced me to buy a PlayStation 3 is this title. Developed by Sony Liverpool and released yesterday, Wipeout HD is a futuristic racing game that continues a series originally responsible for helping to popularize the PlayStation platform in Europe. Unlike its predecessors, which have been sold on PlayStation discs and PlayStation Portable UMDs for $30-$50, Wipeout HD is digitally distributed as a $20, 1GB download through Sony’s PlayStation Network. And it is just awesome.

 

Wipeout HD, or, What a Sony $20 Digital Download Buys in 2008 3

I love futuristic racing games, and consider 1996’s Wipeout XL—a collaboration between Sony’s Psygnosis studio and The Designers Republic—to be pretty much the pinnacle of that genre, with the possible exception of Nintendo and Sega’s jointly-developed F-Zero GX/AX. Wipeout HD is the first title since those two to really nail everything from the gameplay to the looks and sounds of speeding through far-future metropolitan race tracks. And it runs at 60fps in 1080p resolution, making the most stunning use I’ve yet seen of high-definition displays. Click through for more pictures and a few more details; this isn’t a full review, so I’m just offering a sampling of what’s here to be enjoyed.