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For the more earthly pleasure of whipping friends and family, Pure comes with eight-player Wireless action, plus the added bonus of a mass of downloadable content. At the time of writing, the exact nature of the European online provision is unknown – nothing appears to be up and running, as of yet – but in the US and Japan there have been extra courses (including more WipEout classics), tournaments, racers and audio tracks. In other words, plan for a bigger Memory Stick Duo right now.
On any console, this would be a stunning game, but on a handheld, it’s simply magnificent. It’s not perfect – nits I might pick include an annoying tendency to hand tournaments to a single computer team if you fail to win every race and the fiddliness of starting multiplayer games – but it’s the WipEout we’ve all been waiting for in the half-decade since Wip3out came along. And that’s the problem – this is a game so absorbing that you can easily ignore the discomfort caused by trying to work the PSP’s analogue nub and shoulder buttons at the same time for hours on the end, not to mention the fact that your train reached your destination twenty minutes ago and you’re now well on your way to the boondocks. It’s a game that will make you miss important appointments and, thanks to your cramped hands, prevent you from accomplishing all but the most simple manual tasks. Suddenly the PSP’s battery life doesn’t seem so much a drawback as your only chance of salvation. Damn you Sony, did it have to be this good?
The essence of WipEout distilled for Sony’s high-powered handheld format. It’s as potent and invigorating a tonic as it ever was in the last millennium.