When you talk about futuristic racing games, there are really only two that come to mind, F-Zero and Wipeout and while Nintendo seem fine to let their series fade away, PlayStation are keeping theirs alive, sadly not with a new entry, but with a very well put together remastering of three incredible games.
While the Wipeout games have always been great to listen to, whilst playing, the original look does not hold up well today, I mean the music is still great, but the visuals are horrible, but that is where Omega Collection shines, not only does it improve upon the already fantastic music, it updates the visuals into something truly special. Included in the collect are Wipeout HD, its expansion Wipeout HD Fury and Wipeout 2048, each a fantastic game on their own, but here they add just a little bit more. If the entire package was only Wipeout HD, it still would be impressive, given that there are two more as well, the mind boggles at the amount of content.
For those new to the series, Wipeout is not a forgiving game, sure the first few tracks are easy enough to get around, you might even score a podium finish or two, but once you get 5 or 6 tracks in, things get vastly more complicated and require some more advanced controls. Making the wider turns is easy, but on the sharper turns or the sections where it feels more like a slalom, you will need to make use of the air break, either the left or right side, to help you pull the vehicle in tighter, it is a skill that does take a lot of practice to get right, but once you do, you can feel like you are drifting around those turns. The downside of course, is if you hold it too long, you can find yourself steering right into the wall, not an ideal scenario in any event.
The game does offer an assisted control method, basically keeping you on the track, if you get to close to the edge and are not actively trying to avoid it, the game will help you get back in the right direction. While it does a respectable job, there are times when it gets confused and has no idea what it is meant to do, this usually happens if the track splits, the game will try to get you on the track on the other side, when it did this, I would have to pause the game, turn the option off and then resume, get myself righted and then turn the option back on. When in a time trial, its better to reset and in a race, unless you have a significant lead or have time to catch up, you will want to again catch up. The battle modes can vary, if you can pick up some of the good powerups to help you along.
While of the games offer up the same modes, the one part where the game fails to deliver is in its consistency in presentation, not with the visuals of course, but the overall cohesiveness of the theme. Menus are presented in the same manner, from the one where you select the game you want to use, to the internal menus contained within, they are all the same, where it fails is in the events. Wipeout HD and Wipeout Fury both have similar, albeit slightly different looks, but 2048 looks completely different and it is strange and confusing. I get that the game was made at a different time, but why they are not the same now, when everything else is.
Outside of that, the game is stunningly beautiful, however it looks better when you are really moving along, the best part of this of course is that it runs just as well, I never noticed any hiccups in the framerate. Each of the tracks has a wonderful look to them, the updated textures really do help make things stand out and while there are a few strange item placements, for the most part, its simple enough to determine track direction. The vehicles themselves are ok, they don’t really have any special look to them and because you will spend most of the time staring at the back of them, I can understand the lack of effort on the overall look.
Where the game shines however is with the sound, the music is really good, the tracks are inspired by and occasional remixes of the original tracks, each one suits the game perfectly, but the best news is that, you could listen to them outside of the game and not have a single issue. The announcer voice is your basic announcer, nothing bad about it, nothing too good either, just there and while they only announce the menus and vehicle selections, it is just the right amount.
What I feel is missing from the collection though is any form of gallery or classic mode, given the name implies a collection, any sort of Gallery feature, where we could look at designs of the tracks, vehicles and even the brands that populate the world, well that would have been great. I would have like to have seen the ability to play the games as they were originally made, swapping between old and new would have been a real treat, heck they could have gone one step further and let you race old school vehicles around the new look tracks, you know anything really.
Wipeout Omega Collection is a game that really brings the best of the series to PlayStation 4, it offers up a massive roster of vehicles and tracks across the three games, but its steep learning curve is going to turn many people away. Once you can get through those first few hours, you will find a game which is a blast to play and it thankfully looks and sounds just as good.