Back to the future
Sony’s remastered racer proves that some things never get old.
IF THERE is one franchise that’s synonymous with speed and style, it has to be Wipeout, a series exclusive to the PlayStation videogame consoles.
The gravity defying futuristic racer is back for another round on the PlayStation 4 but as the original developer – Sony Computer Entertainment Studio Liverpool – is no more, you are not getting anything new.
What you will find in the Wipeout Omega Collection is Wipeout HD, originally released on the PlayStation 3, and its expansion, Fury, as well as Wipeout 2048 which was previously exclusive to Sony’s handheld gaming device, the PS Vita.
All three have received the necessary spit and polish, taking advantage of the PS4’s – and its more powerful sibling, the PS4 Pro’s – superior firepower.
As expected, the PS Vita version has received the biggest makeover, not just in the graphics department but also in terms of frame rate, doubling the Vita’s 30fps (frames per second) to 60pfs in the Omega collection.
And in a game where it’s all about speed, you’ll really appreciate the bump, as controlling the vehicles has never been smoother.
However, as we only own the PS4, we didn’t get to enjoy the 4K and HDR (high dynamic range) enhancements that the PS4 Pro brings to the table.
Fast and furious
First off is Wipeout HD and if memory serves us right, it plays just like on the PS3 so you are pretty much getting the same game with sharper graphics and slightly better frame rates.
That’s not really a terrible thing – it was one of the first strong titles in the series and it’s still insanely fun to play because no other game is quite like it.
There’s just something awesome about piloting anti-gravity ships at full throttle on tight tracks that twirl around buildings in a futuristic city.
If you are not familiar with the franchise, it will take some getting used to, as mastering the controls, and especially the air brakes, is vital for surviving tracks that send you up and down buildings.
But it’s just not the twirling tracks you have to worry about – the game also has plenty of pick ups that arm you and your opponents with missiles, mines and all sorts of slick power ups.
The mix of mechanics all work to keep you coming back for more as there’s plenty to unlock too, from new ships to nicer skins to even more convoluted tracks.
When you fire up the Fury expansion, you get even more modes that shift the pace to a lot more shooting, so if the earlier modes didn’t give you an adrenaline rush, this definitely will.
There are also 28 pulsating soundtracks to keep you pumped throughout the race. They are mostly electronic dance numbers which is just the right music to match the frantic pace of the game.
Past is present
The final entry – Wipeout 2048 – is actually a prequel of sorts, as it takes place before Wipeout HD (and Fury) so you’ll see familiar landmarks such as the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building.
It’s a nice touch actually as you get to see how anti-gravity racing progressed in the Wipeout world through the campaign’s three racing seasons.
What’s really fun is that you can play the titles in any order at any time so if you are getting bored of one, you can switch to another.
Or you could skip the campaign altogether and use the Racebox mode with all the tracks and modes unlocked – so maybe there is such a thing as a free lunch after all in the future.
This mode is probably the reason why you’ll keep the game installed on your console long after you are done with the campaigns, as Wipeout is great to pick up and play at anytime for a few minutes.
Start to finish
Although you are not getting anything new, Sony has done a good job of bundling titles that each offer something a little different.
And even Wipeout vets may not have had the chance to try out Wipeout 2048 as it was a PS Vita exclusive and nobody is crazy enough to get the handheld just for this game.
I just wished it was cheaper – RM99 would have made this bundle a sweet deal. For RM149, I would have expected it to include VR support as Wipeout has all it takes to make it a mind blowing experience.
So we suggest you wait for a sale, or pray that it’s included as a freebie in a PSN Plus offering in the future.
Also, it doesn’t matter if you are a fan or new to the series – you’ll enjoy the collection as long as you have a serious case of need for speed. WIPEOUT OMEGA COLLECTION
(Sony XDev/Clever Beans/Epos Game Studios)
Futuristic racing game for PS4
PRICE: RM149 on PSN
Review unit courtesy of Sony Interactive Entertainment
PROS: Not a complete collection but packs the best titles and expansion; still looks stylish; tons of tracks; plenty of replayability.
CONS: Pricey; nothing new; no support for PS VR.