Wipeout Fusion (stylised as WipEout Fusion) is the fifth installment in the Wipeout series, and the only one to be exclusively released on the PlayStation 2 (Wipeout Pulse for the PlayStation Portable was ported to the system in 2009). It was the first game made after Psygnosis' name change to SCE Studio Liverpool, and published by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (BAM! Entertainment in North America).
The game introduces the player to the F9000 Anti-Gravity Racing League in the year 2160, four years after its opening in 2156. From that time, Anti-Gravity Racing was given mostly mixed reactions despite getting more aggressive. Tracks are changed somewhat from previous Wipeout games. Each track in Fusion is now a group of 3 – short, medium and long courses – that overlap in part but which each use different portions of the track inaccessible in the others. Each of these can be run in forward or reverse mode. Many courses also contain a "trackless" section, generally a wide obstacle-strewn field which offers several paths for pilots, making navigation tricky. Several tracks feature split sections, in which there are multiple paths for players to follow. A few tracks also contain shortcuts, which are hidden behind false walls, or require a turbo boost power-up to successfully enter.
The basic single-race and league modes are still the core of the game, and the two-player split screen mode is continued from Wipeout 3. The single race mode, called Arcade mode, is used to unlock new tracks. When a player wins a gold on a given track, either another course in that same track group, or another group of tracks, is unlocked. AG League mode has had some changes to it from previous Wipeout titles: instead of having league challenges which encompass the entire set of tracks in sequence, there is a progression of leagues, each with a selection of 3 to 7 tracks. The outcome of each race is scored by points, which are awarded for both finish order and eliminations. Total points determine the winner of the league. A win on a given league challenge unlocks the next (more difficult) league, or in some cases, a personal challenge against one of the pilots of a new team. Beating a pilot's challenge unlocks the team for which that pilot flies.
Challenge mode, which was introduced in Wipeout 64, has been enhanced in Fusion. Each team has its own set of 6 challenges, selected from race (with or without weapons), time, survival, chase or elimination. Each challenge must be completed with a medal to unlock the next challenge in the sequence, and the final challenge for a team must be unlocked with a gold medal in each of the other challenges. Zone mode makes its first appearance in Fusion, although it is locked until 30% of the game is completed.
Fusion features an increase in the use of weapons; weapon pads are more plentiful, and the AI pilots seem considerably more aggressive with weaponry than in previous Wipeout incarnations, and any afterwards. As such, eliminations are far more common. New weapons have been added to the game, including the proton cannon, grenades, grav-stinger, flamethrower, and gravity bomb, as well as super weapons. Each team possess their own super weapon, which becomes available for that team's pilots when player obtains special super weapon license, awarded by completing that team specific challenges in the Challenge mode. Some of the weapons have also been modified (the 5 mines can be dropped individually, instead of in a single-fire sequence), and many weapons which normally fire forward may now be fired backward; in particular, the quake disruptor, a weapon that previously could only be fired forward, may be fired backward.
Another fairly large change from previous Wipeout titles is the addition of craft upgrades. AG League races, in addition to points, also net the player credits based on performance in race (finishing order), damage (to other craft), skill, and time. These credits are used to upgrade the top speed, thrust (acceleration), lateral stability (handling), brake force, weapon power, and shield strength of a single craft. The upgraded craft is available in Arcade mode as well, but is only available to the pilot whose craft has been upgraded; the other pilot, even on the same team, must have his/her craft upgraded separately. Upgraded crafts are not used in Challenge mode; each challenge is played with the basic, unmodified craft.
The in-game branding and menus were designed by Good Technology rather than The Designers Republic, who had worked on all previous titles.
Out of the eight teams that appeared in Wipeout 3, only three make a return in Fusion. Each team now has a Super Weapon Licence, which unlocks the team's respective Super Weapon. Also, each team is represented by two pilots (as per the original Wipeout). Craft upgrading is also introduced, and allows the players to tune the craft. The 8 teams included in Fusion, as well as their pilots are as follows:
Unlike the previous games, each track takes on a Ridge Racer-esque style by grouping each track into 3 different courses, these can be driven forwards or backwards.
- Florion Height (Nevada, United States)
- Mandrashee (China)
- Cubiss Float (Switzerland)
- Alca Vexus (Mexico)
- Vohl Square (Russia)
- Temtesh Bay (Australia)
- Katmoda 12 (Moon)
- Devilia (planet Novon; Challenge mode only)
- Main article: AG League
As outlined, the core AG League mode features a set of leagues, each consisting of three to seven rounds. Completion of all ten unlocks a custom league feature. The ten leagues are named as follows:
- Chronos League
- Rhea League
- Oceanus League
- Tethys League
- Hyperion League
- Themis League
- Lapetus League
- Cruis League
- Thea League
- Metis League
- Nightmares on Wax - "Bleu My Mind" (Game Menu)
- Amethyst - "Blue Funk"
- Blades & Naughty G - "Beats Defective"
- Bob Brazil - "Big Ten"
- Braniac - "Neuro"
- BT - "SmartBomb (Plump DJs Remix)"
- Cut La Roc - "Bassheads"
- Elite Force - "Krushyn"
- Elite Force & Nick Ryan - "Switchback"
- The Future Sound of London - "Papua New Guinea (Hybrid Mix)"
- Hong Kong Trash - "Down The River (Torrential Rapids Mix)"
- Humanoid - "Stakker Humanoid 2001 (Plump DJs 2001 Retouch)"
- Intuative - "Wav Seeker"
- JDS - "Punk Funk"
- Luke Slater - "Bolt Up"
- MKL - "Synthaesia"
- Orbital - "Funny Break (Plump DJs Remix)"
- Plump DJs - "Big Groovy Funker"*
- Timo Maas - "Old School Vibes"
- Utah Saints - "Sick"*
*The song's actual name is "Big Groovy F**ker", but was changed specifically to "Funker" for the game.
*The version of "Sick" by Utah Saints as depicted in the game is the instrumental version, as the original song features drug references in its lyrics.
- Official PlayStation 2 Magazine UK: 9 out of 10 (90%)
- IGN: 9.0 out of 10 (90%)
- GameSpot: 7.3 out of 10 (73%)
- Edge (magazine): 5 out of 10 (50%)
- This is the first game where the AI has access to use any and all weapons featured in the game.
- This and the first game are the only titles in the series to feature race tracks outside of Earth. This is not including any tracks in earlier or later titles implied to be located within computer simulation environments.
- This and 2048 (including 2048 mode in the Omega Collection) are the only games in the series to feature a statistic for a ship's weapon power, and that there are noticeable differences in weapon damage depending on the ships.
- This game is the only game in the entire series to show visual damage to ships. This is most apparent on the Zone ship and the Piranha Swiftkiller.
- It is also the only game in the series where opponents' shield meters can be seen (can be toggled on or off), and where some weapons have to be unlocked.
- The game seems to feature Kappa, an Italian sportswear brand, as one of the brands on the billboards.
- This game also features the largest number of ships on the track at once, consisting of a 16-place grid.
- This is the only game in the series to feature point-to-point tracks, in the form of Devilia.
- This is the only game in the series to feature different layouts of the same track environment (not including reverse variants).
- This is the only game in the series to have unique track dynamics such as moving ramps, bulkheads on closed sections and tunnels, and gravitational flip pads.
- This is the only game in the series where eliminating opponents will mean extra points for the player (or the AI) in tournaments.
- This is the only game in the series to feature shortcuts with unconventional means of access, such as accessing them through a "turbo jump", or breaking through destructible barriers with the use of weapons.
- This game, along with Pure are the only titles in the series to feature unlockable concept art. Some concept art images will reveal hints to certain cheats.
- Furthermore, this game, along with Pure use a different race-start up sequence from the announcer, with "Ready... GO!!!" instead of "3... 2... 1... GO!!!"
- This is the only game in the series that does not make use of speed classes, in favor of upgrades, which also makes it the only game in the series where you can upgrade your ships. It is also the only game where ships (especially upgraded ships) can reach more than 1,000km/h under normal circumstances; in later games, this is only possible when using a Turbo on Phantom class or in Zone mode. As a result of this, this also the only game in the series to make use of an in-game currency system.
- Despite ships being able to exceed the speed of sound (approximately 1,235km/h), there is no "sonic boom" effect, or any visual or audio effect whatsoever. This is more apparent on downhill sections, or either by using speed pads or a Turbo, and is easier to reach when ships are upgraded.
- Tracks in this game feature rollercoaster-like loops and sections. It is unknown if Mag-Lock track technology was used as it had not been introduced in this game, but story-wise, have been used as far back as the AGRC. If possible, mag-strips may have been used in the F9000, but prioritize entertainment over safety (as mag-strips were banned at the end of the AGRC following safety concerns).
- This game is also the only game where pilots are seen being rescued upon elimination, with a rescue shuttle picking up the pilot as soon as they eject from their destroyed ship (as noted by the onboard computer saying "Ejection process imminent").
- This is the last game where the player must adjust the thrust to get a boost start.
- This is the last game in the series to implement the use of special cheats.
- One of the special cheats from 2097, such as the "animal ships", return in this game, with FEISAR as a dog, Van-Über as a sheep, G-Tech as a pig, Auricom as an elephant, EG-R as a snail, Tigron as a bull, Xios as a turtle and Piranha resembling what is either a killer whale or a shark. There is also another special cheat which turns the teams' ships into retro warplanes.
- This is the last game in the series to feature challenges.
- This is also the last game to feature pit-lanes on the tracks as later games starting with Pure introduced the "absorbing" mechanic, but story-wise, absorbing weapons have been in use since the AGRC.
- Furthermore, this is the only game in the series where there are ships with unique features, such as more than two thrusters since the first game (with ships having three or four thrusters, mostly seen with upgraded ships), as well as active aerodynamics and rudders that function as the ship steers (seen with Auricom, EG-R and Xios ships), and open-canopy ships (apparent with ships from G-Tech, Auricom and Piranha ships).
|PS1: WipEout • 2097/XL • 64 • Wip3out|
|PS2/PSP: Fusion • Pure • Pulse|
|PS3/Vita: HD (Fury) • 2048|
|PS4: Omega Collection|