First Play: Pacer: Wipeout meets F-Zero for a new generation
The spiritual successor to Wipeout is on way – but can the ambitious Pacer race ahead of the pack?
It has been a long time since an anti-gravity racing title was released.
F-Zero was a wildly popular series that Nintendo still get asked about resurrecting despite them not releasing a title since 2004.
Wipeout hasn’t seen a release since 2017, and that was a remaster of previous titles, which themselves contained content from even older versions.
Both these franchises were incredibly popular with gamers for their high-speed, contact-heavy racing and the multiplayer gameplay. They offered a more mature audience the chance to battle for position in a sci-fi universe populated with quirky elements that made it all the more immersive.
Their absence from the gaming marketplace has left a hole, and not just for racers.
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Into this gap arrives Pacer. A new game from developers R8 Games that brings the speed and futuristic feel back with a bang.
It has also tried to create a whole universe around the racing, with stunning graphics and even advertising billboards that you can barely see at racing speed but which add a sense of realism to the game.
What does Pacer offer?
Pacer describes itself as a futuristic combat racer. Set in 2075, the single player campaign is in the sixth season of Anti-Grav Racing League. It offers more of a strategy based race than straight arcade blast.
With a shield and health system for your craft, as well as offensive and defensive weapons that are ammunition-limited, you have to judge when and where to attack.
The pickups are often off-line, and collected at the cost of missing a boost pad, so finding the optimal way to deploy your weapons while maintaining your frantic speed is crucial to success.
The gameplay looks stunning. You get a real sense of speed with the game that doesn’t just come from the speedometer. The motion-blur is superb and the impact of the boost pads can be so great that even the most seasoned racer can lose track of exactly where the craft is going and how to take a corner.
The loadout system together with the variation in craft, some are slower but more responsive and have higher health, offers the chance for racers to express their own style and test out what works best for them.
On release Pacer promises 14 tracks, each with reverse & mirror options, and 5 customisable craft. This should provide plenty of options, especially when combined with the loadouts, both for the user and the track you race on.
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When is Pacer out?
There is no firm release date for Pacer as of yet. It is promised for 2019, so expect a November release so it is there for the Christmas rush.
You can already pre-order it on Steam for £34.99, but there is no pre-order option for console yet.