2017 will be remembered as a year of comebacks for PlayStation. Alongside the remastering of the original Crash trilogy, WipEout got the HD treatment too. Announced at PSX in December, WipEout Omega Collection includes Wipeout HD, the Wipeout HD Fury expansion, and Wipeout 2048, all of which have been remastered and tweaked for the PlayStation 4. Developed by XDev, Clever Beans, and EPOS Game Studios, the collection seeks to make Wipeout a flagship PlayStation franchise once again. Having never played a game in the series before, I had some high expectations going in due to the legacy that the series had built up since its debut, all of which were met with some of the most exciting high-speed racing I’ve ever played.
For those who are curious, Wipeout is set in a futuristic world where players compete in an anti-gravity racing league. You can choose which ship you want to use across several different tracks set all around the world. There are different speed classes, some of the higher ones requiring a degree of mastery to get really good at. It gets really fast, really quick, and is some of the purest racing fun you can have on PlayStation 4.
There’s no real narrative to be found in any of the Wipeout games in the Omega Collection, but all of them do include some sort of Grand Prix mode with many events to complete. The events in these Grand Prix modes vary, ranging from time trials and standard three lap races to combat. The most exciting and engaging event, however, is Zone, in which you progress through speed classes as you go through different Zones, getting increasingly faster until you finally take a certain amount of damage. The Grand Prix across all games offers a lot of content, and while it’s initially entertaining at first, the slow introduction of new tracks and sometimes minimal variation of events can lead to some repetition.
Even the lowest speed class in Wipeout is considerably faster than your standard racing game, and moving at such high speeds while drifting around corners and hitting boost pads is incredibly exhilarating. As you race, you’ll run into items and power-ups that can be used to gain an advantage over your rival racers, but these items can also be consumed to recover ship energy. It’s quite a small and straightforward system at first, but tossing up between firing off a missile or absorbing it for energy so you can get a barrel roll boost off of the next jump makes for some great split-second decision making.
The tracks are incredibly well designed, with shortcuts to be found and small tricks to be learnt and picked up on as you play. There are a few standouts such as Sol 2 and Anulpha Pass, and you get best of all three games in one neat package. Every game mode is at the very least enjoyable, but some are definitely more entertaining than others; it all comes down to personal preference. Each ship has different stats, and they all excel in different areas. Some are better at combat while others handle better and move faster. What ship you choose for each race or event is key to how you perform, and you will undoubtedly grow attached to two or three different ones you’ll consistently jump to.
Wipeout HD and Wipeout 2048 both have their own unique feel and small tweaks which make them feel different from one another. I did find, however, that the track design in Wipeout HD and its expansion Wipeout Fury has a superior level design to 2048’s. I found them to be more innovative, refined, and unique overall, but 2048’s are certainly still enjoyable.
If you manage to complete all the Grand Prix modes with gold medals and are still looking to do more, then the Racebox mode is for you. You choose which Wipeout to play, what game mode you want, and which track you want to race on, all in single-player or split-screen against AI. It’s an excellent little inclusion in this already huge package, and the ability to mix and match tracks and modes is a good idea.
If you get tired of playing against AI, all 3 of the experiences included in the Omega Collection have online functionality where you can race against other players. You can create and join lobbies, host tournaments, or just mess around with your friends by experimenting with game modes and maps. Based off of my experience, the connections were very stable, and it didn’t take me long to jump into a room and start playing with no hassle whatsoever.
The biggest addition to the games included in the Omega Collection is the upgrade to 4K and a consistent 60 frames per second on the PlayStation 4 Pro. All three games look absolutely incredible, and although you’re moving at Mach 1.5 most of the time, it’s hard not to gawk at the details and gorgeous art style to be found here. It’s a testament to what the PS4 Pro is capable of when developers know how to properly utilise it, and Wipeout currently stands as one of the best looking games on the console, if not the best.
One thing Wipeout has always been well known for are the fantastic soundtracks found in each game, and the Omega Collection is no different. With a mix of new and classic tracks including dubstep, techno, and electro-dance, they never fail to get you pumped and into the experience. They make the game so much more enjoyable, and every single one is incredibly infectious, making it hard not to hum along.
WipEout Omega Collection is an excellent starting point for newcomers to the franchise that also caters for longtime series fans at the same time. The wealth of content to be found in this package, coupled with the excellently handled racing, soundtrack, and presentation leave Wipeout standing as another flagship PlayStation franchise, even if it can get a bit repetitive. There is some serious fun and enjoyment to be had with this collection, regardless of whether or not you’re a fan of Wipeout or racing games in general.