In the words of Dave Grohl (lead singer of the band Foo Fighters), “I have another confession to make”. I have never ever played a WipEout game before. And as someone who has been playing on Sony’s consoles since I was a little lad, this can probably be considered sacrilege. So when I got my hands on the WipEout: Omega Collection I couldn’t wait to see what all the fuss was about.
WipEout: Omega Collection combines three games from the WipEout series, WipEout HD, WipEout HD Fury (originally released on PS3) and WipEout 2048 (originally released on PS Vita) into a wonderfully remastered package.
Those fortunate enough to own a PlayStation 4 Pro and a 4K TV set will be treated to some of the most gorgeous visuals on the PlayStation 4, running at 60fps. I actually found it astonishing how good these remasters looked, especially since there are quite a few horrendous ones out there. From the neon-bathed courses to your blistering fast ships, every inch of these three games has been remastered with what I can only assume was the power of love, respect, and reverence that the team behind the game had for the franchise.
The WipEout series sees the player taking on the role of an unnamed anti-gravity racer pilot as they compete in various events. There’s no story to be found here, but then again what more of an excuse do you need in order to charge an anti-gravity racer down a track at blistering speeds?
When first booting up the game, I immediately noticed how clean and minimalistic the collection’s UI was, which made navigating between the three titles in the collection a breeze. From the get go players will be able to choose between the three above mentioned games.
Although, I would suggest that players start with WipEout HD or HD Fury. I made the mistake of starting with 2048, which I quickly discovered was also the most difficult. I found myself continually in the last place as I struggled to come to grips with the games blistering fast speeds. Initially, I blamed my many losses on my advanced age and slow reflexes.
But practice makes perfect, and this is a lesson that I learned the hard way. Starting out as a WipEout newbie, I struggled to control my anti-gravity racer as I slammed against walls, was blown up by my opponents on multiple occasions and found myself basically just messing up.
After initially losing quite a few matches, something just started to click. And much like the Dark Souls series (I know this is a weird comparison but bear with me), I quickly discovered that the WipEout games rewarded those that took the time to learn it’s intricacies. This is a game where winning is not only reliant on skill, but also on memorizing each inch of the track, knowing where the boost pads are located, selecting the right racer and even firing that missile at just the right time. And even though my first experience of playing the game was filled with losses (so many losses), it was all worth it the moment I started placing in the top three.
Figuring out how to best speed through the various twist and turn of each track could mean the difference between a quick victory or a crushing defeat. I quickly became obsessed with continually trying to earn that elusive first place or shave a few seconds off my best time.
Although the content might not be anything new, there is more than enough here to keep even the most hardcore racers busy for quite some time. With 22 tracks (all with mirror versions), loads of anti-gravity racers to unlock and nine modes, there’s ample content here to keep players coming back. The best part is that once you tire of racing against A.I opponents, you can face off against friends in online or local multiplayer races. Yes, that’s right, split screen is back and I can’t be more pleased (I wish more games would add this feature).
While these games are known for their high-speed racing, there is no doubt that they are just as famous for their great thumping soundtracks. Throughout their playthrough, players will find themselves continually being bombarded by the game’s stellar music. Music from both The Chemical Brothers and Prodigy make an appearance, along with remixes of classic songs from the previous games. The constant heart-pumping beats that accompany you as you speed past your opponents make for some unforgettable moments. Some of the songs were stuck in my head long after I switched off my console.
I finally understand what all the fuss is about. The WipEout: Omega Collection opened my eyes to what an amazing franchise this is. Few things come close to racing at mind-numbing speeds through cleverly designed and detailed tracks while avoiding missile fire from your opponents. With its nostalgic beat-filled soundtrack, gorgeous remastered visuals and addictive gameplay, The WipEout: Omega Collection celebrates everything that the franchise is known for and I have become an avid member of its fan-base.