The year 1995 marks the birth of a flagship saga, that of WipEout. A series that will have reigned over futuristic racing games until August 2012, when SCE Studio Liverpool, formerly Psygnosis, the creators of the license, closed. Since that date, the iconic saga first appeared on PlayStation who was the first by the way, and, who has offered only two additional episodes, WipEout 2048, an episode intended for PlayStation Vita, the eighth generation handheld console from Sony, and WipEout Omega Collection, the remake of WipEout 2048 and WipEout HD, one of the best installment of the saga ... Since then, nothing. The IP edited by the Japanese giant has no longer given any sign of life, thus leaving the field open to all developers who wanted to adopt this recipe which has already proved its worth. Obviously, this is the case with our topic of the day, namely Formula Fusion, or rather Pacer, the creation of R8 Games. Before going into full details, I want to do a little inventory. In addition to being a completely assumed WipEout-like, Pacer is above all a creation of R8 Games, a studio formed by veterans of the gaming industry who worked on the famous franchise named above during Psygnosis's time. It is also for this reason that the name WipEout will come up several times during this review and that the paw of Psygnosis is more than present in Pacer. Moreover, this is felt from the first minutes of the game, since the title of R8 Games incorporates all the codes of the iconic series, ranging from the soundtrack to weapons, including the driving of flying vehicles.
CRAZY SPEED AND AIRBRAKES ON THE PROGRAM
Let's start with the latter, since what interests us above all when we talk about a racing game is the gameplay, and the feeling it gives us. On this side, you do not have to worry too much, since from the first moments, controller in hand, the sensations are there. The different ships go by at full speed in inspired settings, to which I will come back later, and float efficiently above the runway. I find the speed brakes (a game mechanic that forged the flavor of the Psygnosis saga) that will have to be used decently to arrive safely. For this, players must squeeze the left trigger or the right trigger of the joystick to use the left brake or the right brake of the vehicle in order to make it tilt in the desired direction and thus correctly pass the many turns (sometimes hairpin) of the different circuits. Obviously, pressing both triggers simultaneously allows the car to slow down. But unlike WipEout HD, driving here is smoother and also more accessible, even if it takes time to adapt, especially if you plan to finish a race without touching the safety barriers. However, since it uses all the codes of its spiritual elder, one could protest against the lack of identification of the title. I am also surprised to be able to perform Barrel Rolls when my ships take off a little too much in the air to grab the boost or to want to perform emergency turns, two mechanics that are obviously absent from Pacer.
Unfortunately, as I already said, in the highest difficulty modes, FF-1000 and Elite in mind, it will be "too" difficult to cross the finish line without smashing our cockpit into a wall. In Pacer, the handling, as good as it is, lacks precision. The sensations are there, but it is not easy to approach the turns with accuracy. In the highest difficulties also, it will be necessary to abuse the two-speed brakes, or even cut the engines in the most confined circuits, to hope to make it out alive. Because yes, what will lead you to the loss, in the end, it is the walls or the multiple missiles of your adversaries which come to disturb you and not the adversaries themselves, since the latter are often left behind. All this to warn you that it is more fun to fly at full speed in FF-3000 or FF-2000 than in FF-1000 or Elite, especially if you are not used to the genre. On the armament side, I find all the arsenal and gadgets of the WipEout saga including the mine, the missile, the machine gun, the leech that can pump the life of the enemy, the shield, or even the shock wave. However, unlike the title on which the game is based, here the clashes lack fishing. Hitting an enemy with a missile, for example, does not provide any sensation, the reloading time of the weapons is much too long, which affects the dynamism of the action, and during my first games, I had difficulty discerning the usefulness of certain gadgets. In this kind of situation, the only moment where one experiences a feeling of pleasure, also, is when a competing pilot's ship goes up in smoke. As much to say to you that the Destruction mode, a test which requires you to destroy a maximum of ships in the allotted time, lacks interest.
CONTENT, LOTS OF CONTENT
By the way, let's talk about the game modes since, in Pacer, there are a dozen to chew on, starting with the Career mode which leaves no room for boredom. Career mode is constantly changing the rules of the game, and I don't mind it. Sometimes, it will also be necessary to destroy a certain number of ships in the allotted time using this or that weapon, sometimes, we will be asked to achieve a record time while avoiding the bombs which dot the ground, sometimes, the title will propose to us to stay as long as possible in a mobile area so as not to see his life drop in one go, and of course, more regularly, our objective will be to win races or Grands Prix. Be careful, however, before the signal start, check the rules of the event as well as the settings of your vehicle since these can be decisive. Due to a lack of indication, I caught myself going into Destruction mode with only defensive tools, shields, and flashbang. In this case, it is difficult to score points. Eh yes! It has not escaped your notice. In Pacer, it is possible to prepare your vehicle even before leaving for the battlefield. This ranges from cosmetic customization (appearance, skins, neon lights, spoilers) through optimizing the performance of your engine, and your weaponry. In fact, unlike WipEout which offers you to find your arsenal directly in the field, here you will have to, before competing, select two weapons that it will be possible to reload while racing by collecting power-ups. This Pimp My Ride side of Pacer particularly delighted me since it pushes the player to achieve the best possible scores to obtain as many credits as possible, the currency of the game. Note that the progression is fluid and is in no way frustrating.
The infinity playlist
As I said a few lines above, Pacer, the WipEout-like of R8 Games, is particularly generous in content. Obviously, this does not only concern the number of circuits or the different modes available, but also the soundtrack of the game. The title offers more than 80 songs to put in our ears to give rhythm to our futuristic escapades aboard racing cars. ruffles. On the turntable of this essentially electronic soundtrack, I find a certain Tim "CoLD SToRAGE" Wright, author of the sound identity of the first two WipEouts. Unfortunately, having a great composer around the developers was not enough. The production gives us a questionable audio mix. Although the different kinds of music are more than catchy, they are not well put forward when we detach at full speed on the avenues of the fourteen circuits of the game. It will also be necessary to play the DJ in the options to set a somewhat this slight concern. DOGGY TEXTURES BUT AN ARTISTIC DIRECTION THAT FLIES
Is Pacer the worthy successor of WipEout?
Who says futuristic races, says futuristic environments! In Pacer, the player will be led to explore many different destinations, each more successful than the last. Despite slobbering textures, at least on consoles, Pacer is magnificent with its polished artistic direction which is obviously inspired by WipEout and more particularly by WipEout HD. The environments are alive, lit by neon lights of all kinds, flown over by imposing vessels, animated by futuristic advertisements, and sublimated by a quite incredible construction. The fourteen circuits, playable day and night, are varied and offer us to explore underground cities, to pass above a giant dam then under it, to fly over an Indian city that is reminiscent in many ways the megalopolis of Beyond Good & Evil 2, or to cross an abandoned port. Note that everything, even when we are flying at more than 1000 km / h, remains perfectly fluid. Unfortunately, this beautiful dressing is marred by a particularly intrusive ATH (head-up display). However, it is possible to disable the latter in the options, even if we would have appreciated having more choices in the parameters. For example, being able to hide the names of competitors in the box on the left of the screen while retaining essential information, lap time, health, and ammunition. This lack of ergonomics that we have already pointed out several times during this test (indications on the conditions of the tests and ATH) is also felt in the menus of the game, which unlike the rest of the production, lack clarity and fluidity. There are too many sub-menus (especially in career mode), they are not easy to handle and even give the impression of paddling. There were also a few bad ideas, such as forcing us to wait in front of the scoreboard when we finished first in a timed race. In fact, you will have to wait until all your opponents cross the finish line, even when you play against the AI., to be able to recover your gold medal. On this side also, I would have appreciated much more finishing.
Pacer Review Conclusion
If you're tired of going around in circles on the twelve tracks of WipEout HD and its Fury expansion or if you're just a thrill-seeker, Pacer is for you. Even if it does not manage to surpass the master, it will charm you with its inspired artistic direction, its substantial content, or its sensations of speed. But you have been warned, while R8 Games' production has many qualities, the title also delivers many shortcomings. The handling of the game lacks precision, especially in the highest difficulties where it will necessarily be necessary to play double airbrakes to hope to escape unscathed, the HUD is particularly intrusive and the menus are not very ergonomic. For more information about this game please visit the Pacer official website for all details. Please feel free to comment below. Enjoy!