I’m interested to know how people find wipEout compared to other racing games. Personally I’m not a massive fan of the genre: I prefer more casual games like Ignition and Death Rally (weapons seem to help), but pure racing games like Gran Turismo never attracted me. GPC was fun, but (I think) more because of the community playing it at the time (and the delicious scoreboard).
Somehow wipEout always stood out, though. Maybe it’s a combination of the sci-fi nature; the pumping soundtrack; and the fact that it somehow just feels much faster than other games I’ve played. Whatever it is, this is the only racing game I ever played and thought, “I _need_ more of this”.
I think it hits a sweetspot between simulation and arcade game – it’s definitely not a realistic driving sim but it’s also not easy like an arcade racer. My ability to enjoy a race game is directly proportional to how much i get to hold the accelerator – and with wipeout you can pretty much hold it the entire time and use the airbrakes to slide around corners.
The sensation of speed, having to learn the airbrakes to corner, and the worse-than-death penalty of having your velocity reduced to almost zero for bumping the wall all work together to create a high difficulty curve and a very rewarding sense of mastery.