Review – WipEout: Omega Collection
The WipEout series is synonymous with PlayStation. The first game in the franchise was a launch title for the original PSX. It’s futuristic setting and EDM soundtrack set it apart from other games of that time. It even garnered controversy due to its interpretation by some as a glorification of the underground drug and club culture.
You know that when the wowsers have a problem with something, you’re onto a winner.
Alongside Tomb Raider, Crash Bandicoot, and Ridge Racer, WipEout was a staple of every PlayStation owners library. It was considered revolutionary when it was released and has spawned several sequels over the years.
In fact, a WipEout title has been released for each and every PlayStation platform. WipEout: Omega Collection is the PS4 release. It may be a remaster, but don’t let that be a deterrent.
WipEout: Omega Collection is a must have for racing fans and an excellent addition to any PS4 collection.
Lookin’ the Goods
WipEout: Omega Collection combines the PS Vita’s WipEout 2048 and PS3’s WipEout HD and its Fury expansion. On PS4 WipEout: Omega Collection looks absolutely stunning, remastering all 26 tracks at 1080p and running at 60fps. On PS4 Pro it’s even more gorgeous, displaying at 4K.
The visuals have clearly been given a huge overhaul considering the power disparity between the original platforms and the PS4. Omega Collection looks at home on PS4. It looks like it belongs. It’s smooth and fast and fluid. It’s also, like other PlayStation franchises, a powerhouse of colours.
WipEout 2048 is the best looking of the three by a pretty wide margin. Given that it was released four years after WipEout HD it’s not surprising. It also has the best visual aesthetic. All elements in 2048 look well connected and all part of the same world. HD and Fury share the same visual aesthetic. They both look great but are noticeably lagging behind 2048.
They’re a little less detailed, a little duller and a little simpler overall, but the racing is always top shelf.
Fast and Fluidous
No matter how great WipEout: Omega Collection is visually, it would mean nothing if the racing action was sub-par. Thankfully, it’s not. The racing across all three games featured in the collection is sensational. WipEout’s racing is unlike any other racing game. The closest comparison was and still is F-Zero, but they’re very different beasts.
WipEout is part F-Zero and part Mario Kart. Part racing, part shooting the shit out of everyone on the track. Mario Kart 8 has actually borrowed a lot from WipEout. All of WipEout’s racing takes part in anti-gravity, making its physics unique.
Because of the uniqueness of the physics and the way the vehicles handle, the learning curve is a little steep. Not insurmountable, but definitely a challenge. A good one though and it doesn’t take long to starting to ‘git gud.’ As you play through the campaigns in each game, you gradually unlock events and new vehicles.
Each new vehicle has slightly better stats than the ones before. You’ll need them to be too. The difficulty of the AI ramps up along with the speed until eventually, you’re racing at blinding speed and against professional racing bots. By then you’ll have had enough practice on the tracks to be able to handle it. Though I have to confess, racing at the higher speeds is a real challenge. It’s also a massive thrill.
Feel the Need
Having only 26 tracks may seem a bit low spread across the three campaigns. It’s not. There’s more than enough variety to keep you invested in the modes, classes and vehicles. There are standard three-lap races, time trials, battles, Zone Challenges and more.
Racing is the standard. You’ll need to complete three laps and either come in at least 4th (usually) to pass or come first to earn an Elite Pass. Time trials are self-explanatory and Combat is timed and require you to earn points by using item pick-ups to damage other racers.
Once you reach A Class and above in 2048 and Phantom Class in HD/Fury, staying away from the sides of the track gets more and more difficult. If you can though, you’ll feel like a pro.
One issue I had with the racing in WipEout: Omega Collection is that the AI racers always have right of way. If they bump into you, your vehicle moves to accommodate theirs. When they ram you, you go off the track and they keep moving.
Racing gets pretty frustrating when you’re on a perfect line and the AI decides to ram into you and rather than being an even contest, you will always lose. I was cautious in races when it felt like I wanted to be aggressive. Being cautious helps early on, but at the fastest speeds, you need to be aggressive. Caution is your enemy.
Sounds as Good as it Looks
Aside from fast. combative racing and a futuristic aesthetic the other thing WipEout has always had going for it is the electronic music.
The first WipEout featured The Chemical Brothers and over the years many prolific electronic artists have appeared in WipEout. WipEout: Omega Collection has a huge soundtrack with over 25 tracks and featuring The Prodigy, Swedish House Mafia, The Chemical Brothers and more. You can even listen to the full soundtrack on Spotify to get amped for the game’s release.
Alongside the amazing soundtrack, all sound effects and ambient music have been completely remastered so that WipEout: Omega Collection sounds as good as it looks. Playing with headphones on or with a great surround system is the best way to play. With the volume cranked up the rumble of the vehicles and the music combine for maximum aural pleasure.
My absolute favourite thing about the sound design is a little thing that makes a huge impact. Every time you leave the track by jumping, all sounds fade for a moment and then come crashing back into full volume as you land. It’s delicious!
Go Back to Go Forward
The year 2017 feels a bit like a video game renaissance at the moment. Classic genres and franchises are back and better than ever. We’ve had Mario Kart, Tekken, Yooka-Laylee already and Crash Bandicoot and Sonic are on the way later this year. So far, games released this year have been exceptional and WipEout: Omega Collection is no exception.
It’s both a hit of nostalgia and a generous slice of current gaming. Racing at 1080p and 60fps (or 4K on PS4 Pro) has to be seen to be believed. You also need to hear Omega Collection to believe. It’s the whole package. Well actually it’s three packages in one and one you definitely should invest in.
PlayStation fans will love it, racing fans will love it, gamers will love it. WipEout: Omega Collection is another example of Sony giving to the fans and showing just what the brand and the console can do.
It’s a lot.
WipEout: Omega Collection was reviewed with a pre-release digital download provided to PowerUp! by Sony.
Game title: WipEout: Omega Collection
Game description: Packed with all the content from WipEout HD, WipEout HD Fury and WipEout 2048, Omega Collection features 26 reversible circuits, 46 unique ships and more.
90's Future Aesthetic - 9/10
Thumping EDM OST - 8/10
Wait For the Drop - 7/10