After experiencing the speed bump that was Wipeout Fusion, fans will be astonished once they get behind the wheel of SCEE Liverpool's latest installment. Ultimately, the developer has set out to make a name for themselves. And what better way to achieve that goal then to take the franchise back to its forgotten roots? Pure resonates with me simply for the fact that it looks, moves and feels a lot like the good old-fashioned Wipeout installments I grew up with.
Whether you're a newcomer or veteran of the series, anyone can appreciate Pure's unmatched visual polish that puts the aforementioned PS2 edition to shame. All those screenshots you've been staring at for months simply don't do the game justice. Sure you may have deconstructed the level designs piece by piece, marveled at the assorted particle effects designed to tantalize the eyes -- and you've likely picked up a hint of nostalgia from those neo-matrix designs reminiscent of Tron 2.0. However, it's what you don't see while blazing down the track at over 400MPH that will truly blow you away. Pure is a sharp-looking package filled with a variety of minute details like industrial animated banners peppered throughout the metropolis, or the seagulls flying overhead. It's almost a shame you won't have much opportunity to enjoy the scenery beyond limited glimpses from behind the driver's seat.
If there's one thing this installment makes abundantly clear, it's style, and Pure gushes in the gallons. While it's still not quite of the same iconic caliber as The Designer's Republic, the futuristic vibe is a lot more cohesive and savvy to the spirit of Wipeout. From the introductory sequence to the menu navigation system -- the overall presentation is slick and evokes a warm, nostalgic feeling to a fan like myself who feels as if they're reliving an old, familiar classic. More importantly, the crafts resemble the old-school designs unlike that bastardized crap we were fed in Fusion. Ahh, Auricom -- how I've missed you.
Although it didn't initially register with me at first, I must applaud SCEE Liverpool for wisely removing the energy pit lanes from the circuits. Instead, racers can now replenish their shield capacity on the fly using unwanted weapon pick-ups. Not only does this help maintain the intensity during the race, but it also adds an additional degree of strategy to the equation. It may seem advantageous to take a shot at the opponent up ahead to advance another slot in the race, but is it worth sacrificing the shield integrity of your vessel and getting eliminated?
Regardless if you choose to fight or flight -- each circuit will prove to be exceptionally challenging. Of course, you'll need to move past the lethargic Vector league in order to graduate to the faster, more advanced Phantom league. Pure offers several modes including Single Player, Time Trial, Tournament, Zone, and Free Play in which you can engage to hone your racing abilities. If you're a newbie unfamiliar with the game mechanics, I'd definitely recommend spending some quality time with Free Play, which will allow you to get used to the various track designs and nuances. While the aptly named Zone mode (first featured in Wipeout Fusion), is perfect for anyone that simply wants to test their racing prowess and endurance level in an ever-increasing level on specially constructed tracks. Solid concentration skills are highly required.