WipEout Omega Collection (PlayStation 4) Review – A Supersonic Update

WipEout Omega Collection (PlayStation 4) Review - A Supersonic Update

I remember first playing Wipeout on a demo disc from PlayStation Magazine way back in 1995. At the time, the game felt fast as hell, and blasting around a futuristic race track while shooting missiles at other players was a riot. Then Mario Kart 64 for the Nintendo 64 came out and we all stopped playing. Fast forward 20+ years and players can now re-enter this shiny, colourful, and ridiculously fast-paced world of rocket powered hovercraft racing with the WipEout Omega collection, which is a three-pack entry containing WipEout HD, WipEout Fury, and WipEout 2048, all rendered in glorious HD (or 4k for you Pro owners) at a blisteringly smooth 60fps.

WipEout Omega Collection (PlayStation 4) Review - A Supersonic Update 3
WipEout Omega Collection gameplay images via PlayStation

First things first, if you’re into this series (whether an old fan or new), a crucial element is a sense of speed. In 1995, WipEout blew minds. It was like a 3D F-Zero on meth, and the sense of blasting around a track at a supersonic speed was visceral. This was before modern elements like motion blur and HD. Hitting several boosts in a row on an HD TV ramps up the sensation of speed and really allows players to feel like they’re driving a supersonic racecraft rather than just holding a button and watching a gauge go up on-screen. It’s a fantastic game to re-release in an era where television screens are getting a bit ridiculous when it comes to colour and clarity.

On that note, updating games from previous generations can be a difficult task. Oftentimes, even when upscaled, remakes and remasters retain that pre-HD look, and visual aspects like aliasing, draw distance, and textures still look, well, old. WipEout Omega Collection, thankfully, has avoided these pitfalls, and looks simply stunning. Colours pop, which is super important in a game like WipEout that relies on a flashy and futuristic aesthetic. Textures aren’t super detailed, but all the lines are clean and the game looks fabulous in motion. Effects like boosts, rockets, mines etc. are bright and vibrant, and combine well with the tracks and ships to create a lively and colourful racing experience.

WipEout Omega Collection (PlayStation 4) Review - A Supersonic Update 4
WipEout Omega Collection gameplay images via PlayStation

Another notorious (in a good way) feature of the WipEout games were the kickass soundtracks. When one is blasting around a futuristic race track at supersonic speeds, one requires some wicked tunes to amp up the experience. Nothing gets the blood flowing quite like a booming techno track cranked in the background as you finally squeeze past the lead racer and find yourself in first place. On top of the already awesome tracks included with the game, you can use the Spotify PlayStation 4 app to customize your own experience to the tunes that get you personally amped. For me, the machine gun drumming from bands like Thy Art is Murder gets me feeling a bit more aggressive than a fun and bouncy House track.

There is a hell of a lot of depth to the games as well. Even past the fact that this package includes WipEout HD, WipEout Fury, and WipEout 2048, the game features 26 reversible tracks to play around with. Unfortunately, some tracks are certainly more fun than others, and after a few hours of playing, they do seem to blend together a bit. However, this is essentially the same for almost every racing game, and learning the ins and outs and particular idiosyncrasies of each course become fundamental in mastering what eventually becomes a crazy-difficult experience.

WipEout Omega Collection (PlayStation 4) Review - A Supersonic Update 6
WipEout Omega Collection gameplay images via PlayStation

With nine game modes to choose from, players have plenty to sink their teeth into, including Time Trial, Zone Battle, Career Mode and a personal favourite, Detonator, which forces racers to avoid or shoot mines to score points over multiple laps. As someone who got frustrated with the high level of difficulty in some of the later stage racing modes, this was a fun way to take a break from the intense racing.

WipEout Omega Collection doesn’t necessarily bring anything new to the table, but it does offer the best possible version of all three games and plays like a dream. It’s a fast-paced, gorgeous, smooth ride with a surprising level of replayability and challenge. In a generation rife with remakes and remasters, WipEout Omega Collection stands out as a particularly well-crafted, beautiful update to the original games, and is especially awesome when considering the incredible fidelity offered by modern televisions. It’s nothing new, but it doesn’t need to be.

River City Super Sports Challenge ~All Stars Special~ (PC) Review

River City Super Sports Challenge ~All Stars Special~ (PC) Review

The Kunio-kun series has an interesting history in the West. It’s been known as Crash N’ The Boys, Renegade, and even Nintendo World Cup, among other things. It’s perhaps best known, however, for River City Ransom, an early NES cult smash. Perhaps that’s why publisher H2 Interactive went with the “River City” moniker for the latest entry in the series.

Read moreRiver City Super Sports Challenge ~All Stars Special~ (PC) Review

The PS Vita TV will not be compatible with all games

The PS Vita TV will not be compatible with all games

Though PS Vita TV will be able to play many titles, certain games utilizing the handheld’s touch screen will not be playable on the device.

Following Sony’s announcement of the PS Vita TV yesterday at the pre-Tokyo Game Show pressing, the company released a list of games that would be compatible at the device’s launch. There were a few games missing such as Wipeout 2048 and Gravity Rush.

According to Siliconera, the reason these games were omitted is linked to their heavy use of the touch screen. Still, Sony has already confirmed over 100 Vita games (including Persona 4: Golden and Soul Sacrifice) that will be playable for PS Vita TV.

PS Vita TV has only been confirmed for Japan at the moment, coming out on November 14.

Wipeout 2048 (PS Vita) Review

Wipeout 2048 (PS Vita) Review

The King Is In Good Shape

Wipeout has been one of the defining titles in Sony’s library of games, being everything from a showcase for their hardware’s graphical capabilities to an ambassador of cool to the public at large. It is a series known for its demanding skill requirements and cutting edge style. Whenever you talk about the future of games, Wipeout always manages to sneak in at least a mention. And now, with Sony’s Vita, one of their flagship titles makes another strong debut.

The Need For Anti-Grav Speed

Sony’s Liverpool studio took a slightly different approach with their latest game, as can be easily seen by the name. Wipeout 2048 takes a look at the Future-Past with a visitation to the period when anti-gravity racing first became widespread and dedicated tracks had yet to be constructed all over the planet. This is not the super sleek, aerodynamically approved future of the previous games. Instead, portions of tracks have been grafted onto everyday streets recognizably our own, and even the Anti-Grav racers themselves have a whirr and whine similar to the engines of today. The overall presentation of the game is a small but noticeable downgrade for those paying attention; after all, the last version, Wipeout HD and its Fury expansion were running on a PS3 at 1080p with a variable frame rate that averaged 60 frames per second. The Vita doesn’t have access to that resolution and horsepower, although it manages to clock in at a very respectable, very solid 30 fps.

Unlike Wipeout HD, this is all pretty much new content. The racing tracks are new, so is the music, and a large array of tweaks have been made to the basic gameplay to give it a fresh feel. 10 tracks are spread across three racing seasons, and players start off with a small selection of ships that are gradually unlocked through leveling up and completing optional races. Small but clever design changes have been implemented into the racing, such as the division of offensive and defensive pads; yellow pads grant missiles, rockets and the like, while green gives shields, leech beams and auto-pilot. It adds a small but significant extra strategic layer to racing as players now have a choice about which kind of enhancement they want to add to their AG racer, whereas before, players simply ran over a red pad and dealt with whatever they got. The campaign has also gotten an unusual tweak to progression that makes the game more accessible to neophytes without compromising on the high level of skill that peak gameplay demands. Players still engage in normal events such as best lap times, normal races—with combat—and specialized races focusing more on kills than finishing placement. The key difference is Wipeout 2048 now awards a “basic” pass and an Elite Pass for advancing through these courses. So normal races might require a player to only finish at a minimum of fifth place—out of eight racers—in order to be considered a “success,” whereas only a first place finish will qualify for an Elite Pass. Anyone can play and finish this game now without requiring a massive time commitment to practice, but only those that put in the practice will get those Elite Passes.

Unfortunately it’s not all wine and roses for Wipeout 2048. The game, as expected, uses the touch screen features, and while it’s fine for menu navigation, the touch and tilt oriented controls are still not as accurate as the traditional controls. The traditional controls themselves are also hampered somewhat by the small size of the analog sticks but this is something that can be overcome with familiarity. There’s also an issue with some tracks being more difficult to “read” than past tracks in the series. The streamlined look of past games made it easy to see where the track was going and how to turn, but the more cluttered and crowded textures of 2048 occasionally make it difficult to see the track layout and requires more aggressive memorization on the part of the player. Finally, although the game does sport both online play and even cross play across the PS3, the online play itself lacks the depth of Wipeout HD, giving players little choice in what kind of matches they find themselves in. You basically just log in, hope for the best and race whatever event you find yourself in, rather than customizing your lobby selection. Lastly, there’s the surprising length of load times, something not expected from a game on a cartridge.

These are relatively minor criticisms of what is undoubtedly one of the strongest launch titles on the Vita yet. Fans of the Wipeout series can buy this game in confidence, and for people who aren’t familiar with the franchise, this is a much more friendly introduction that also shows off what your Vita can do. If you’ve got nothing against racing games, this is currently the best of the Vita’s crop.