It`s not very often that Console Arcade covers downloadable content, but sometimes an update comes along that is so comprehensive, it could almost be a new title in itself. WipEout Fury most certainly falls into that category.
WipEout HD, if for some inexplicable reason you`ve been living under a rock, is all about zero gravity racing within a futuristic setting. Fury doesn`t deviate too much from HD`s original template, adding and refining the experience while slotting in additional modes to freshen up proceedings. Right from the start Fury makes it clear it`s in no mood to mess around, with the front end having had a redesign, complete with a new mean and moody black and red look and dissolving zero gravity ship.
With eighty medals to be earned across the different events, Fury is only seven short of the original HD release, which gives an indication of the amount of content within this package. While Races, Time Trials and Zone all reappear, there are new additions in the form of Detonator, Eliminator and Zone Battle.
Detonator is set within the Zone universe, meaning there is continual, unaided motion, and it tasks the player with destroying mines scattered across the track. Points are awarded for how many mines are destroyed and, if any are left over from the previous lap, they will still be present during the next. To help with their destruction there are bombs to be triggered and an EMP Pulse meter which is built up by crossing the speed pads dotted around the track.
Eliminator is exactly what it sounds like; destroy other craft and earn points, with the first to reach the scoring threshold winning the round. Fans of previous titles will recognise this mode from the PSP release WipEout Pulse, but now there’s the addition of the 180 degree flip. Many will find this new element tricky to get to grips as it seems to go against the grain of the skills they`ve learned from the years of playing WipEout games. But with a quick re-adjustment they’ll soon set about gleefully wreaking havoc on their unwitting opponents as they fly backwards round the track unleashing power ups, such as Quake, to devastating effect.
Zone Battle takes the Zone formula but adds a dash of strategy. A zone speed threshold must be achieved by building up the zone meter; done by skimming over speed pads. Use up the speed boosts too quickly and the player runs the risk of being outmanoeuvred by an opponent, thus requiring judgement and skill when determining when to use their accumulated boost. The overhaul doesn`t end with these modes, with all teams having their ships given the once over with a new, angular skin style, as well as the original default look.
As much as the racing teams are the stars of a WipEout title, the eight new tracks in Fury are of an exceptional standard. While there are the more traditional tracks such as Modesto Heights, with its focus on enclosed surroundings and a dizzying array of turns, they are augmented with the new, more organic (and dare it be said), elegant style of tracks such as Corridon 12 or Mallavol. Some of these new tracks almost seem to be ripped directly from the imagination of writer Alastair Reynolds, with Syncopia being the highlight of this new direction.
The final new addition, the comprehensive statistics page, will amaze players when they see just how many times they`ve absorbed a powerup, or just how many pictures they’ve taken with the superb photo mode. And while many will think this page will only cater for the more anally retentive out there, they provide a way to keep abreast of progress made in races and how close they are to gaining a trophy in numerous events, removing a lot of the guesswork that is usually involved.
Like WipEout HD before it, Fury provides a superb addition to the series and comes with the highest recommendation. With the quality on offer, Studio Liverpool has provided a benchmark for downloadable content that will no doubt stand until they decide to deliver yet another sumptuous update.