WipEout Omega Collection has been a name hot on the tongue of almost every video game journo since its announcement earlier this year. Continuing the barrage of high profile remasters that have been flung our way recently, the octane fueled techno themed futuristic racer has been a beloved and nostalgic series, but this is the first time a serious collection has been put together to warrant your hard earned pennies on the PS4.
I’ve had a few days to get to grips with the game now, so let me share my thoughts so far –
WipEout has historically offered you 3 core services, and in my opinion if a WipEout title hasn’t manage these then it’s a failure –
- Look Sick as hell.
- Play Smooth as hell.
- Be Face meltingly fast.
Fortunately, I can confirm that the Omega collection has smashed all three of these targets admirably. Not only that, but with the collection of of WipEout HD, WipEout HD Fury and WipEout 2048 on offer in one package, we have a serious amount of content going on. Some 60+ courses to play and a massive selection of racers all handling differently and better suited to different kinds of event. Slap on top of that the fact that the game is now fully integrated with online play, and you can’t really argue at £25.
The sheer number of ships may seem overwhelming at first; they’re initially all very similar in appearance, and you may not immediately pick up on the subtle variations in how they play, but give it a few hours and a little dedicated experimentation and you’ll soon start working out which racers suit your play style – I myself am happy to sacrifice a little top speed in order to have a ship that’s better at handling the many (and punishing) corners that can be littered in quick succession throughout the tracks.
The game looks stunning. WipEout Omega offers up a true 4k experience that performs seamlessly at a killer frame rate of 60FPS. The variety of maps is wide and varied, and each style takes advantage of a superb personalised colour pallette, letting that 4K technology accentuate every neon blur and metallic shimmer. This is a game that truly takes advantage of the PS4 Pro’s capabilities, so if you’re fortunate enough to own one, get on this shit, man!
The three games, although set up separately on the menu and offering individual campaigns, aren’t especially different in practice. You may see this as a negative, but I wouldn’t say this was the case. Heading online, I found myself a little bewildered with all the race types and class types that were showing up on the lobby room. A,B,C,D class. Flash, Rapier, Venom class?! I am but a simple man! There’s a lot to take in for newbies, but due to the games’ similarity to one another, you’re able to quickly jump in and adjust to whatever event is going on.
Don’t get me wrong, unless you’re Anakin Skywalker you’ll still get your shit kicked in… I was playing the day before release and there were already players moving well up the ranking system that were leaving me in the dust to soak up all the explosive ouchies they were leaving behind…
This brings me nicely on to combat. The game’s combat works well overall. There is a large variety of offensive and defensive weapons available such as rockets, machine guns, lock-on missiles, mines, plasma strikes, shields, turbo boosts, auto-pilot and many many more; although not all will be available in every race. As you’re finding your way round the tracks for the first time (or few times), you’ll probably find yourself relying on weapons a lot more in order to gain any sort of advantage against the seasoned competitors. A good hit with rockets or a plasma blast will significantly slow down your opponent (or even destroy them), and give you a chance to get ahead. Often you’re given a choice of hitting a speed boost or a weapon pick up, and you have to make the decision which you go for (if you can’t hit both). If you’re going to rely solely on hitting speed boosts rather than weapon pick ups, good luck to you. I got the impression that this is the way the pros do it, but until you know the maps like the back of your hand, there’s just no way you’re working this to your advantage without repeatedly smashing into corners.
Unfortunately the weapon system can feel a little manic to begin with. As you pick up a weapon, a voice tells you what you’ve picked up, but for some reason the game also tells you when anyone else picks up a weapon as well. This can lead to a lot of confusion resulting in you trying to fire weapons you don’t have or not realising you have any when you do.
The soundtrack is as electronica heavy as ever, and this may not be to everyone’s taste, but regardless there’s no doubt it’s the perfect soundtrack to the game and I’m glad that this iteration hasn’t steered away from this classic vibe, although anyone with a keen ear will pick out the few more modern additions to the game; Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy and Swedish House Mafia to name a few.
Whether this collection has enough hold for newcomers to the series en masse, I’m not so sure. I get the impression that the incredibly steep difficulty curve may put off a lot of players more used to the fast food satisfaction of other racer titles available right now, but for those with experience with the series, an awareness of how it operates or at the very least a willingness to work at something new, there’s a huge and quantifiable amount of fun to be had here. I’ve only been playing for 2 days, but I’ve already noticed a significant increase in my performances online. It’s a slow and gradual process as you master the subtle air-brake controls, learn the advanced maneuvers, get a sense of when to use the weapons, and most importantly of all learn the maps. However, as you do these things, and see yourself slowly creeping up the finishing roster, you’ll get a sense of satisfaction that can’t be achieved in any other fashion than hard work.
It’s great to see a series so faithful to its original design and yet still so completely at home in living rooms in 2017.
22 years, and not a pixel out of place.
WipEout Omega Collection is available exclusively for PS4.