Wipeout Pure is a racing game which is set in the year 2197, exactly 100 years after the events of Wipeout 2097, and revolves around players competing in the FX300 anti-gravity racing league. Players control anti-gravity ships which are owned by racing corporations (effectively referred to as 'teams' in-game). There are a total of eight teams featured in the game, with one ship available for each. Every ship has different characteristics, for example each ship has variations in handling, thrust, maximum speed and shield strength. Each craft is equipped with an energy shield which absorbs damage sustained during a race; energy is lost whenever the player's ship collides or is hit by weapon fire. If the shield runs out, the player's ship will explode and is consequently eliminated from the race. However, the player may replenish energy by absorbing weapon pick-ups.
In addition to shielding, each ship has air brakes which can be utilised for navigating through difficult corners at high speed. The game also features several weapons which can be used against opponents, although some weapons have defensive purposes. For example, an autopilot will give control of the player's ship over to the computer for a short period of time, and shields can be used to protect the player's ship from all damage, albeit temporarily. Offensive weapons include rockets, missiles, plasma bolts and mines. Game modes include a single race, tournament, time trial and an exclusive "Zone" mode, which revolves around survival as the player's ship increasingly accelerates to extreme speeds. The game also features an online multiplayer mode in addition to downloadable content, which features new ships, tracks and music.