Go supersonic with the WipEout Omega Collection
If there’s one constant across all PlayStation consoles, it’s the hyper-fast, gravity-defying racing found only in Sony’s legendary WipEout franchise. Indeed, a WipEout game has graced every platform, from the original PlayStation all the way to today’s PS4. That includes their handheld devices, too, like the PSP and PS Vita.
And yet, in some ways the recently-released WipEout Omega Collection for PS4 feels like a game we’re lucky to have. You see, when Sony shutdown their SCE Studio Liverpool back in summer 2012, WipEout‘s fate was left uncertain. As someone who absolutely adores this franchise, this news hit home pretty hard. Of course, then along came a magnificent surprise at last year’s PlayStation Experience: the WipEout Omega Collection was in development.
Three WipEout experiences in one package
Let’s get one thing clear right away: the WipEout Omega Collection is not a brand new entry in the series. Instead, it bundles together remastered versions of PS3’s WipEout HD (2008), its Fury expansion (2009), and Vita’s WipEout 2048 (2012). All games have received updates, including higher resolution, HDR support, and locked 60fps action. The entire package also features a unified, streamlined, and visually improved interface. All three games are, without a doubt, the definitive versions available today.
And what incredible games they are.
Let’s start with WipEout HD. When it released on PS3 some nine years ago, it was arguably the best-looking game from Sony yet. At 1080p and 60fps it looked gorgeous, run buttery smooth, and became a showcase title for the console’s power. It was also an experiment of sorts, being one of Sony’s first full-length AAA game solely released digitally on PSN.
Besides the obvious availability on disc for the very first time, the Omega Collection version introduces many welcome improvements. Sony has reworked all textures in the game, and modernized all the special effects. The results are crisper and more detailed ships, sharper tracks, and futuristic environments that simply pop.
PS4 Pro owners get even more benefits. The extra power of the Pro is used to deliver 4x the resolution of the standard PS4. If you toggle on motion blur you get 2160 checkerboard resolution, and with blur off you get native 4K display. I reviewed the game on PS4 Pro and can honestly say it looks even better than Horizon Zero Dawn. That game was, until I played the Omega Collection, my benchmark for performance on PS4 Pro. To say WipEout HD looks great on PS4 Pro is an understatement―it practically seared my eyes with its sheer beauty.
WipEout HD Fury
Graphically, the Fury expansion sees all the same enhancements mentioned above. In other words, the visuals have been spruced up significantly, and are up-resed to 4K on PS4 Pro.
Fury also features a brand new 80-event campaign for you to play (WipEout HD has a robust campaign, too.) The campaign contains all match types from WipEout HD―including single race, time trials, and zone―plus a few extras. These include new battle modes like Eliminator, where you get points for destroying rival ships, and Detonator that has you shoot mines for points. There’s also a new 8-player Zone Battle, which has you collect energy to race to the target zone.
With all these extra modes, Fury has the most varied gameplay of the bunch, and it’s easily my favourite. To further bolster the expansion pack, Fury features eight returning tracks, as well as 13 new ships. The tracks, of which half come from WipEout Pure and WipEout Pulse a piece, are among the most colourful and visually impressive, too. All in all, Fury offers the most thrilling races and it’s where I spent the majority of my time.
In terms of enhancements, WipEout 2048 has received the most attention. Not only is it now 60fps (the original was 30fps), but it also features split-screen gaming for the first time. That puts the game on par with WipEout HD and Fury, which also give you the option of split-screen racing.
Moreover, the PS Vita’s horrendous one-minute loading time between races has been fixed. Tracks now load in mere seconds; clearly a huge improvement. As well, the jaggies are gone and replaced with smooth, clear textures. Overall, the graphics and gameplay are vastly improved, and it’s a joy to finally play it on an HD TV.
Of course, underpinning all this excellent gaming are WipEout‘s signature tight and responsive controls. Air-braking is key to navigating the hairpin turns and death-defying loop-to-loops on offer. It’s amazing that even when cruising at Mach 1 (literally), you can smoothly circle corners with enough practice. I love the rhythmic feel of racing in WipEout, and there’s no gameplay compromises in these PS4 ports.
WipEout games have always been known for their stellar electronic drum n’ bass soundtracks, and Omega Collection continues the trend. It contains 28 audio tracks from icons like The Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers, as well as unreleased tracks from breaking artists. To further immerse you in this adrenaline-pumping music, all tracks have been remixed into crystal clear 7.1 surround sound. From the electro-house beats of NGHTMRE to the electrifying Deadmau5 remixes, this is one top-notch audio soundtrack.
Online and Multiplayer features
For WipEout Omega Collection, the entire online portion was rewritten and unified across the three games. Online you can race with up to seven other competitors across game modes like Single Race, Tournament, Eliminator, and Zone. From my experience the online servers were well-populated, particularly for standard racing and tournaments.
Online also introduces a new “pure racing” mode that eliminates energy depletion from barrel rolls and turns off ship collision. That means you can’t ship bump to gain position and it’s overall much more skill-based. Veteran WipEout fans will no doubt love this new pure racing mode.
Regarding local multiplayer, all three games offer split screen gaming. Considering that a lot of modern games are online-only multiplayer, this is a welcome feature indeed. It’s also a welcome surprise to see split screen also runs at 60fps, meaning no framerate degradation whatsoever.
WipEout Omega Collection is a pure audiovisual racing feast. It bundles three amazing WipEout experiences―WipEout HD, WipEout Fury, WipEout 2048―while improving the visuals and gameplay of each. On PS4 you get pristine 1080p graphics, 60 frames-per-second action and it all looks glorious. However, PS4 Pro owners get treated with enhanced 4K resolution and beautiful high-dynamic range colour.
Then of course there are the immaculate controls, which are just as tight and responsive as its PS3 counterpart. Toss in a phenomenal electronic dance music soundtrack featuring names like The Prodigy and Deadmau5, and you have the total racing package. WipEout fans should not miss out on this one.
+ Gorgeous 4K graphics on PS4 Pro
+ Buttery smooth 60fp action
+ Three WipEout games in one
+ High replay with three campaigns + online multiplayer
+ One of the most exhilarating racing experiences
– Very little new content
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5