The WipEout Omega Collection is comprised of the last three entries in the series. The iconic PlayStation 3 racer WipEout HD, its brutal Fury expansion and the up until now PlayStation Vita exclusive, WipEout 2048. All three remastered in crisp and clear 4K visuals, if you’re playing on a PlayStation 4 Pro, that is. Is the Omega collection a “best of” collection? Without WipEout XL, WipEout 3 and WipEout 64 that's arguable. Is it an HD Trilogy? I’d be hesitant to call it that eacactly, as WipEout HD contains elements of both WipEout Pure and WipEout Pulse. Well then what is it? It’s simply a collection of fast-paced, futuristic races that will test your reflexes and memory of tracks, while providing remarkable visuals.
Racing Like it’s 2048… in HD… with Fury
It’s over twenty years since the first WipeOut launched on Sony’s PlayStation One. Back then, the game was a benchmark for what the home console was capable of and it’s good to see that nothing has changed. The Omega collection runs smoothly with no framerate drops, which is impressive given the amount of activity on screen and the speed at which everything renders. The most impressive aspect of the collection is just how remarkable Wipeout 2048 looks compared to its Vita release, not that it was anything to criticise in the first place. If you consider the series’ timeline, 2048 takes place before all the other titles. The race tracks and environments are far more barren, yet still have that vague futuristic edge to them. The tracks in the game are some of the trickiest you’ll find but even the more basic aspects are enough to take your breath away… seriously, if you suffer from vertigo the varying vertical slopes will have you gasping for air.
WipEout HD is a simpler, more ‘traditional’ take on the series formula. It’s a combination of WipEout Pure and WipEout Pulse, which came out on the PlayStation PSP, and were solid entries but lacked one thing; power. This was addressed when HD came out on the PlayStation 3 and it feels like nearly the same gap has been breached with the jump to 4K visuals on the PlayStation 4 Pro. Even if you’re playing on the base PlayStation 4, you’ll be amazed at just how much more HD has to offer visually. The emphasis placed on improving the visuals is blatantly obvious in the Zone Mode, which has you hurtling through a nearly hallucinogenic, vividly-coloured versions of tracks, while trying to avoid the courses barriers, constantly picking up pace as you progress. Nothing wrong with that, right?
The Fury expansion introduced the Detonator and Eliminator modes, which allow players to experience a more blatant take on WipEout’s combat formula. Detonator changes WipEout into a shooter of sorts, equipping you with cannons used to protect your ship from mines and bombs, while having the pace increase with every passing lap. Eliminator turns the race track into a deathmatch, equipping ships with various combat weapons with the ability to absorb them to gain a brief shield boost. The first pilot to reach the target score is the winner.
The Omega Collection features nine different game modes. Tournament, Speed Lap, Time Trial and Single Race, Zone Battle, Eliminator and Detonator from WipEout HD/Fury; and the Career Mode from WipEout 2048. There are 26 tracks and 46 ships, each with their own unique stats. Different ships are far better suited for specific types of events. Omega Collection also features split-screen multiplayer as well as online.
Yet another iconic aspect to the series is the soundtrack, made evident throughout the first entries to the series. WipEout HD/Fury features the likes of Noisia, Stanton Warriors, Mason, Kraftwerk and The Crystal Method who deliver some quick-paced electronic themed tracks that complement the game’s general pace and futuristic atmosphere. Sadly, WipEout 2048 wasn’t as prolific in its soundtrack and for this reason new and exclusive tracks have been introduced to the Omega Collection. While the soundtrack is a solid accumulation of music from the three prior titles, it doesn’t quite hit that sense of nostalgia that the predecessor offered.
The release of the Omega Collection comes at a time where futuristic racers have eventually started to gain mainstream popularity. This year alone sees the release of Redout on consoles as well as Fast RMX on the Nintendo Switch. This collection is almost as if to say; “Listen kids, don’t forget who came before you”. While some will imitate, very few will be on par with the iconic titles found in this collection. It’s a love letter of sorts, taking some back to the fundamentals that made them fall in love with the franchise in the first place, as well as an explosion to newcomers showing off what the PlayStation 4 (Pro) is capable of graphically, and how the console can take a well-developed game and handle higher framerates with ease. Each of the three games in this collection shows off their unique style and attributes, while proving that you can still create a great series of games by sticking to a specific formula with a slight tweak here.
The Omega Collection, for the most part, focuses on what the series had to offer in the generation prior to the PlayStation 4, and shows us just how much these titles hold up on new hardware. While we’d love to see a new, modern entry to the series, this collection is more than enough to keep fans happy. Other than the soundtrack being weaker than other entries, there is very little to complain about, in fact, just having a standalone remake of WipEout HD/Fury would make this worth its price point. Fans of the series and those who love the racing genre, looking for something new need this collection added to their game library.
Banjo wielding, moonshine drinking, dungaree enthusiast. When not laying back on the porch couch he will be found making minor additions to his porcelain dog home décor.
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