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Xbox One Game Review

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Format: Xbox One
Publisher: R8 Games Ltd
Developer: R8 Games Ltd
RRP: £33.49
Click here to buy from Xbox Marketplace
Age Restrictions: 3+
Release Date: 09 March 2021

2075: The Pacer World Championship has become the new apex of anti-gravity motorsport delivering high-speed racing across the world’s most dangerous and challenging circuits. Corporations from all over the globe race against each other in a battle of technical and piloting prowess with the aim of winning the championship and achieving ultimate victory...

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Pacer is seen as a spiritual successor to the Wipeout franchise.

Pacer is finally available on the Xbox One, having been released on PS4 and PC last year (29 October 2020). Starting life as a Kickstarter project, it's seen as a spiritual successor to the Wipeout franchise, with some of the staff having previous been associated with Psygnosis's Wip3out (2012).

Almost every single aspect of Pacer is "borrowed" from the Wipeout franchise. The design, controls, the look, the feel... It's basically just a Wipeout clone. So why play this when you can play the original... oh, and in VR too?

The honest answer to that is... I have no idea. If the developers had gone off on a tangent or changed the game mechanics in some small way this might have been interesting. However, all we get is a rather half-baked Wipeout clone that's so similar in almost ever aspect that you could be forgiven for thinking it infringes on IP copyright laws. There's little point in me running through everything... as if you've already played any of the Wipeout games you'll be in familiar territory... but on a basic level... The graphics; the music; the controls; even the electronic voice telling you when a race starts just feels like they've just thrown a new skin on everything...

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Choose from four classes with speeds from 400 km/h to over 1000 km/h.

Okay, you can customise your weapons and upgrade of your ship. But part of the fun of the Wipeout series is that you just pick up and play. The weapons are random for all players (rather than Pacer's personalised arsenal) and it might be this which sways people who love racing games.

Let's examine the basics. You can choose from four classes with speeds from 400 km/h to over 1000 km/h (which, let's be honest all feel the same when you're constantly airbraking around corners).

Full range of modes include 'Quick Race' (Standard race. First over the line wins), 'Time Trial' (Race solo against the clock in a bid to creep up the leaderboards), 'Endurance' (Win by traveling furthest. After the first lap your health runs down), 'Destruction' (No respawns), 'Elimination' (At the end of each lap, last position is eliminated), 'Speed Lap' (Fastest lap wins), 'Flowmentum' (Your maximum speed increases as you hit the gates. Travel furthest to win), 'Storm' (With fixed weapons, the safe zone contracts. Keep up or you’re out. Last craft racing wins).

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Wipeout fans may find something here to get excited about.

Playing the single-player 'Campaign' sees you rising through the ranks from a trainee pilot, as you advance through 10 unique race teams from around the world unlocking rewards and challenging yourself in an effort to become the Pacer world champion and this is probably the best place to start before you compete online.

I did have an issue with the tutorial level, which seemed to be stuck in a loop and when I chose an option it just asked me to chose again, with no way of going back to the main menu or continuing.

If you're a huge Wipeout fan then you may find something here to get excited about. Personally I'm sticking with the Wipeout Omega collection on PS4 - it can also be played in VR which makes the experience much more fun. Pacer just feels like it's treading water when in reality a little extra effort could have seen it leading the pack.


Nick Smithson

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£35 Xbox Live Credits