Review – WipEout Omega Collection
WipEout Omega Collection stands tall as a shining example of how to deliver a spectacular collection of games with a fresh coat of paint for a new generation console. It’s a great package for returning fans and newcomers who have heard about WipEout (like myself), but never dove in for whatever reason. With only having played WipEout64 way back in the late 90’s, and Nintendo Switch Fast RMX -another futuristic anti-gravity racer; which WTMG fully recommends and reviewed– I wasn’t sure what to expect from this collection. But I came away extremely impressed and baffled as to why I never played them through the years. With three fully revamped games for the PS4 and PS4 Pro for only $40, I feel like I came away with the steal of the century getting to experience them at their best for the first time.
WipEout is a series of futuristic anti-gravity racing games that are known for their fast-paced gameplay, 3D visual design, a bumping electronica song list and a strong graphical design. WipEout Omega Collection comes with 2 full games and an expansion pack fully remastered for PS4 and PS4 Pro to sink your teeth into, and there is a ton of content to do so with. The first game happens to be the most recently released game, WipEout 2048, originally released as a launch title for the PlayStation Vita. It’s set in the year 2048 and acts as a prequel to the first WipEout game. WipEout HD is the next game in the collection. Originally released on the PlayStation 3 in 2008 it was a remaster of WipEout Pure and WipEout Pulse. While these games were already remastered in 1080p and 60fps for PS3, the PS4 version and most notably the Pro version makes it shine brighter. But I’ll get to graphics in a minute. The last piece of content is actually a major expansion to WipEout HD. WipEout HD Fury consists of 8 new tracks, 13 new ship models, and three new game modes: Eliminator, Zone Battle and Detonator. Fury also included a brand new 80-event campaign mode, a redesigned menu interface, several new trophies and six new songs. All together WipEout Omega Collection packs in 26 unique tracks, 46 unique ship models, 28 licensed soundtracks, 3 campaigns, split-screen and online multiplayer, racebox (Create a Track) and a photo mode.
Having a large amount of content is all well and good, but what really matters is how it plays, and I’m glad to say that it plays flawlessly. Rocking at a steady 60fps without a single dip even in some of the heavier action parts of the Eliminator mode makes it so every moment racing at those break neck speeds is exhilarating. The racing controls have a good mix of classic arcade and skill to keep up with the ludicrous speed harder difficulties and other modes provide. A cool feature that’s included is the ability to basically put on bumper rails for races, keeping you from slamming into the side of walls. The steer assist essentially acts like your ship and the wall are two of the same side magnetic poles and gently pushes you away. This feature is great when I was taking turns with my 3 year old daughter. Keeping her on track and not slamming around made it a much more enjoyable experience for both of us. And another lovely option to gameplay is the ability to turn off motion blur, which I felt was essential to do considering you’re moving so fast with so much action the motion blur effect were just too much.
With the solid gameplay, we get a good variety of different kinds of modes to keep things fresh throughout the course of the 3 different campaigns. While each campaign utilizes the same modes (albeit slightly altered), being able to do them on all the different tracks and the fact that the modes range in style, keeps things fresh. Zone is a mode to where you get to drive a special zone ship that starts at the lowest speed class and gradually speeds up as it progresses through zones. Zone Battle is similar to Zone, but introduces other racers in the mix. The goal is to get to the final zone before your opponents and to do that you have to hit boost pads that charge up your zone warp. Activating your zone warp will boost you into further zones. The Zone events are my favorite as they offer spectacular visual effects that turns the tracks into rave light shows that thump and move with the beat of the awesome electronica playlist. Eliminator is another favorite of mine where the conventions of a normal race are on hold and its basically an all out battle to see who can do the most damage. The goal here is to cause damage by any means necessary, depending on how devastating the attack, or if you destroy a ship, you get points. However, I found there is a bit of an exploit with this mode where you can just hang back behind the pack and fire off your weapon pick ups. As long as you can dodge mines and bombs, its an easy way to quickly get to your point goal. And Detonator is another fun mode that is another tweak on Zone. The objective of Detonator is to survive 14 laps, called “Stages”, around the track chosen for the event while either shooting or evading mines and bombs that are laid out on the track. Boost and weapon pads are replaced by EMP (Electro-Magnetic Pulse) pads which assist the player by allowing them to charge the EMP weapon so that the player can deploy EMP waves to help rid the track of mines. The event ends when either the player completes all the 14 stages or the player’s ship is destroyed. Speed Lap is a little more standard to the racing genre. The objective is to set the fastest lap time within a given number of laps. Time Trial is slightly different to Speed Lap where the objective is to complete a number of laps as fast as possible. Single Race and Tournament are pretty basic, Single Race is just your standard 3-4 lap race, but sometimes items will be activated. Tournament is a series of a number of races, which take place in succession with items activated.
WipEout Omega Collection is also sporting some fantastic visuals. While I can’t describe exact differences since I haven’t played a WipEout since N64, I can definitely say that the details, textures, shadows and lighting are all top notch. With the PS4 Pro supporting 4K resolution and HDR support, WipEout Omega Collection is a view to behold. Being able to zoom in to all the small details of the ships in photo mode show that they really took care of making all the small details and textures the highest quality. When you’re flowing though zones with the pulsating lights and particle effects from shooting mines in the Detonator mode, the visuals really pull you in and its just a pleasure for the eyes.
Sound design is what you would mostly expect from futuristic anti-gravity ships. They don’t pack a punch like a gas engine does, but we do get some neat boost and hover sound effects. Various weapons all have their own unique sounds which can make it easy to know what to expect when you hear an opponent behind you firing off a missile. The announcers also are well done and serve as a way to tell you what is going on around you. She’ll tell you if there is an upcoming bomb placement or a line of mines is coming up and will also announce what your enemy just picked up next to you. The crown, however, goes to the fantastic song playlist. With 28 licensed songs of electronica music, you will be bumping to some fantastic beats as you’re speeding around tracks. But where the songs truly shine are in the Zone modes, when you’re blasting through zones and the colors are changing and pulsating to the beat just creates a fantastic feeling and adds to the intensity of the races.
WipEout Omega Collection is a must have for any fan of futuristic racers, and with all the content it offers it’s a steal at $40. Anyone who wants to get back into these games or newcomers to the series need to pick this game up. It turned me into a major fan and I now eagerly await the next installment. But with all the polish and content this game has, the menu from WipEout 2048 still feels like it was optimized for the touch screen of the Vita, which makes it a little clunky and I’m surprised there isn’t a museum mode for the high quality 4K ships or a jukebox section so we can go back and listen to the stellar playlist. Those are, fortunately, the only gripes I can mention in an otherwise stellar example of how to do a remaster/port of a popular series.
Reviewed on PS4.
WipEout Omega Collection is available now exclusively on PlayStation 4.