Let’s start this out with a bit of honesty, coming into Wipeout 3 for the Wii U, my expectations were rather low. Low to the point where I had a good feeling this game would be trash before even sliding it into my Wii U. The third sequel in the great Wipeout franchise did not disappoint when it came to matching my expectations. It turns out that coming into Wipeout 3 thinking it’s going to be a straight up turd is actually being a bit too generous.
The basis around this Wipeout experience is almost a carbon copy of the show, you’re a person and you run through seemingly painful obstacles all while wishing you were watching MXC. That’s of course about what you’d expect from a Wipeout game but what you wouldn’t (or maybe you would) expect is the fact that there are only 10 levels to run through. These 10 levels take about an hour and half at max to complete and once you finish them, you’re pretty much out of content to dig through. Sure, you could run through the levels again but why would you? You’ve already seen everything there is to see in that poorly designed section of the game, why see it again? Your fallback option is to find someone else to play it with in multiplayer but you’re a lucky soul if you can find someone willing to dive into this disaster for more than 30 minutes. Further adding to the boredom, you can’t lose the “competition” going on while you’re running through the course. Seriously, I laid the controller down for 15 minutes and still won.
It doesn’t help that the controls will occasionally just break and force you to fall off the platform you’re on. I never ran into that issue with the Gamepad as handling your character was only loose and unstable as opposed to just plain broken with the Wii Remote. There were multiple times when my character would just halt in place and start to moonwalk backwards until she fell into the water below. On top of that, the timing just seemed a tad off on the jumps, like there was a delay between hitting the button and actually having your character perform the action you desire. At some point it just went beyond frustrating and turned into one big hilarious experience, to the point where I imagined that was supposed to happen, it makes it seem better.
The most obvious slight against Wipeout is its PlayStation 2 level visuals. Honestly, I’ve seen multiple PlayStation 2 games that look much better than Wipeout, mainly due to the absolutely awful textures placed upon every inch of the environment. The art style is understandably cartoony and not completely ugly when standing still but once the gears start moving, the visuals fade into a horrific abyss. But don’t even think about them improving once you go into the local multiplayer. In the multiplayer I experienced consistent frame rate drops that I didn’t think could exist and actually be shipped out in a product.
That isn’t the only fault with the multiplayer as it’s clear that many of the levels simply were not designed with multiplayer in mind. For example, you and your partner are running through a course, they hit a moving platform that slowly slides forward, you don’t make it in time so you now have to wait for the snail of a platform to shimmy its way back to you and by the time it does, your opposing player is almost a minute or more ahead of you. It’s just poor design at every turn and it doesn’t help that the main option in multiplayer is to just run through the same levels that you ran through in single player. There is a separate mode that can at least bring forth a bit of griefing fun, Trap Mode being its name. In it the gamepad holder controls the activation of the traps such as big cushion that can smash your partner, who’s running through the course using the Wii Remote, right off the linear passageway.
If there’s a few things I can squeeze out that are positive about this game, that would be the fact that the game is fully playable using only the Gamepad, which is something that I could see coming in handy with better titles in the future. Also, there’s quite a bit of dialogue in the game that is recorded by the faces of Wipeout, John Anderson and John Henson. The only problem with that is the fact that the dialogue is about as funny as their banter on the actual show. I was occasionally forced to turn the volume off because I just couldn’t stand another painfully unfunny joke about whatever they keep chatting about.
Nicely put, Wipeout 3 is one of the worst launch games I’ve ever put hands on and with a bit of luck, will be the worst Wii U game to be placed onto the market. It’s clear the development process behind Wipeout was not an easy nor progressive one. I’ll admit I was never offended by Wipeout 3, that’s the last compliment I can manage to purge forward about the short, unsatisfying experience that is this overpriced $50 experience. If you want to play a game of Wipeout, you should purchase the iPhone version at the price of 2 bucks. It’s cheaper and infinitely better than this sad little piece of work.
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