Inside Pulse 12

Review: Wipeout Create and Crash (Nintendo Wii U)

Wipeout: Create and Crash
Developer: Be Havior/Endemol
Publisher: Activision
Genre: Platformer/Game Show
Release Date: 10/15/2013

I’ve never actually watched an episode of the game show Wipeout. Sure, I’ve seen a few seconds of it flipping channels from time to time, but the hosts seemed annoying and I didn’t find anything funny or exciting about people slipping and falling their way through an obstacle course. Maybe if it had been more like American Gladiators. Although I’ve never watched the show, Wipeout has been a hit as a gameshow AND a video game. This is actually the fifth Wipeout video game since 2010. We had ML Kennedy review the original game for the Nintendo Wii and he rather liked it. Create and Crash is the second for the Wii U (Wipeout 3 was the first) and it is the first in the franchise’s history to have a course creator, allowing you to design courses of your very own.

When you first turn Wipeout: Create and Crash on, you’re given a run down by the show’s two hosts, both of which are extremely annoying. You’re given some information about the show in general, which I found very helpful as I’m completely new to it. From there, you are thrust into the game’s menus which gives you a single player mode, a multiplayer mode, the create a course mode and a place to unlock new avatars and gear. Neither the avatars nor any of the gear (helmet, gloves and boots) has any effect on how the game is played, so really you’re just unlocking stuff for the sake of unlocking it. Some of the gear is hilarious, like a giant badger head or Cthulhu tentacle gloves (Yes, Cthulhu references in an E rated game; that has to be a first!) but don’t think your giant robot powered by a squirrel or your midget Viking will have better stats than anyone else’s in some way. Everything is just for show. It’s also worth mentioning that you can’t see any of the new playable characters. You have an outline and a cost, so it’s a bit of roulette unlocking them. At least there are dozens to choose from. Although I’m not sure why there are so many, it will give you something to spend your in-game coins on.

Single Player mode is where you’ll primarily earn coins. There are twelve “episodes.” Each episode contains three rounds, with a potential fourth if you do good enough on the previous three. In each round you’re trying to get the best time possible to earn coins and bragging rights. There are three ribbons to be earned per segment of the course, which involve collecting all the rings on a level, finding a hidden “ballsy” and playing the course on “Black and Blue” mode, which is the game’s equivalent of hard. The ribbons don’t do anything or reward you, other than with more coins. You do get a lot of coins per episode. My very first episode, I earned 90,000 coins, which unlocked me the full badger mascot gear and a new character. Not bad. Once you beat an episode, you can always go back and replay it, or if you want, just one of the four segments it contains. Each of the twelve episodes offers very different looking courses. The first has a boot camp theme, and the second has a fast food skin. So on and so forth. You’ll see everything from a dinosaur themed course to a zombie apocalypse Halloween one. The courses look quite different from each other, although there is little variety to what you do in them. As well, once you beat those twelve course, which can be done in a few hours (each episode takes about fifteen minutes with banter segments), there’s no reason (or enjoyment) in replaying them, as they get old quickly. Unfortunately, you will have to play them over and over and over and over and over and over again.

Why? You need the coins, that’s why. The Create a Course mode requires a ton of coins to unlock every tiny part beyond the most basic. The coins needed for these parts are quite high, and as you can imagine, to make a really interesting course, you’ll need to replay the episodes until you’re quite sick of the game. Of course, by that time, you won’t WANT to make a course, and thus the game is self-destructive in this respect. It’s a shame really, as if the parts were all unlocked right away, you could make any course you want, keeping the game feeling fresh and fun. Instead the parts are only earned by playing the same thing repeatedly until you feel like the game is a chore rather than, well… a game.

Visually, the game looks… okay. The character models are purposely cartoonish in style with exaggerated features. This is fine, as it’s a comedy platformer – people don’t need to look exactly lifelike. The game looks like it could have easily been played on a last gen system, like the PS2 or Wii, save for the high def scaling on the graphics. There’s not a lot of detail to any of the visuals, but the graphics are serviceable enough that you will recognize most of what’s on your screen. I say most because some things are a bit unclear. I thought that this one item was something to jump over, but it was actually a chair to sit in and catapult myself through some donuts. Thus, I jumped over and into the water, because it was impossible to tell the platform ended after the chair. There are many other instances where an obstacle will disappear from the screen due to bad coding, only to reappear right in front of you. There are times where the depth of what is on your screen is unclear, and thus you will not realize there is a gap between two platforms that appear to be one until it is too late. There are times when you can’t really tell the depth between locations so you can’t gauge your jump properly. So on and so forth. So I don’t really care that the human models are a bit silly or even that the course wasn’t highly detailed, but I was quite put out at how bad the courses played through due to some bad rendering and bugs.

There aren’t a lot of audio aspects to the game. There’s very little music to the game, and most of the sound effects are the same four: splashes of water, splashes of mud, things going splat against your character and horns going off. The rest of the game’s audio is all voice acting – primarily the banter of the two hosts. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of recorded dialogue, so you hear the same few snippets over and over again. This is disappointing. At least each playable character has their own commentary. Again, it’s not much, but if you keep switching avatars, you’ll at least hear something different.

Playing Wipeout: Create and Crash should be simple. After all, it’s a basic platformer where you try to complete short obstacle courses, right? I say should as there are only three buttons you need on the GamePad. You have one for jumping, one for crouching and one for sliding. Each has their own usage for getting past various obstacles. Unfortunately there are lots of problems with the control. A good portion of the time, there is lag between what you press and when the game does the actual requested action. In a platformer, and especially a time based obstacle course platformer, this is not good. You’ll also regularly notice that the game doesn’t respond to button pushes and that it has EXTREME difficulty if you have to perform two actions close to each other, say a jump and then a crouch. None of this is good. It also has issue detecting the direction you want to jump. If I press jump and forward, I might just jump straight off or even to the side, where I will thus fall off into the water. It’s especially bad at the balance sections, where you have to keep your analog stick straight so you don’t lose balance. It appears to just be completely arbitrary in how it detects you are holding the stick in these segments. God forbid you press the jump button during them either. Then there are the bugs. Oh man. Once I got hit by a moving piece of bacon and my character stayed frozen on the bacon permanently. I had to quit the game. Another time, I was hit by what looked like a Nerf bat, and my character became embedded in a platform as if he was Kitty Pryde learning to use her powers for the first time. Another instance where I had to totally quit an episode. The game is buggy and unresponsive. I tried the Wiimote to see if it was the same thing, and yep, same problem. It’s just now I was flailing in addition to watching the game perform badly. So yes, the game doesn’t play well. Oddly enough, I never got less than fifth place on any segment, and I regularly got first or second. That’s how forgiving the time goals are. At least the terrible controls give the game some degree of challenge, although I’d rather be fighting with the course instead of the controller.

So the replay value of this game is hard to judge. For a single player, the game can be grueling due to the repeated content and mind numbing drudgery of forced replay in order to get enough coins to do anything with the course creator option. However, once you have enough bits unlocked, creating your own course can be fun, and doubly so to see someone else try to go through it. If you’re a real bastard, you can design a course that is all but impossible to complete, but why would you do that? It’s more fun to create a course that offers the weirdest damage to an avatar. The game is also far more fun in multiplayer mode, because then you’re laughing at each other’s foul ups. It’s probably a game that would be at its most fun in the hands of little kids or drunken frat boys, as they both enjoy watching people get hit repeatedly in the genitals, and Wipeout: Create and Crash has an abundance of that. As a single player experience, Wipeout: Create and Crash is kind of terrible, but I can see it being a lot more fun with a group of like minded people laughing at the game’s failure to respond to your controller inputs. Everyone else, though, will get bored with this fast, due to the bad controls and how little content there actually is in the game.

So needless to say, I did not enjoy my time with Wipeout: Create and Crash. There are a few funny bits, but most of the game got old fast. After an hour, I felt like I was just doing the same thing over and over again, albeit it with different skins on the courses and characters – which of course is exactly what happened. The game had its moments, and the courses were all fun at first, but that fun quickly gave way to boredom and annoyance with the bugs, glitches and bad control detection. I can’t even begin to imagine how the four Wipeout games before this were different from Create and Crash, save for the lack of the course creator. I mean, there is only so much you can do with an obstacle course. Sill, like the TV show, the video game series has managed to survive. I guess that says something about a disconnect between me and this game. I just think that, had there been a little more polish and the ability to have the course creator bits all unlocked from the beginning, Wipeout: Create and Crash would have been a far more interesting (and fun) experience. Instead, what I experienced was the same old thing over and over again, until any fun that I could have had with the game had been replaced with a sense of ennui.

Short Attention Span Summary
Wipeout Create and Crash is the first game in the series to offer a course creator, which is a nice idea and a long time coming. Unfortunately, you have to earn a lot of coins to unlock all but the most basic pieces, meaning you’ll have to play the same twelve episodes over and over again until you’re sick of them and, more importantly, the game itself. Designing your own course is fun, but by the time you can actually make anything interesting, you’ll be annoyed with the terrible controls, the multiple bugs and glitches in the game, and you’ll have had to play all the single player courses to where there’s no fun left in the game. Wipeout: Create and Crash had potential, don’t get me wrong. It just suffers from a lack of forethought in terms of layout and progression. Multiplayer can be entertaining if you are very young, sleep deprived or a drunken college student, but for everyone else you should probably spend your money on something better.