To be honest, I came into this as a Wipeout newb. But everyone I brought in to experience this with me seemed to say, “Oh yeah, I know this game.”
So WipEout was a significant addition to the PlayStation line-up in 1995. With its anti-gravity races (slightly akin to podracing in Star Wars) and high octane soundtrack, it’s no wonder it carved itself a spot in a lot of gamers’ memories. The Omega Collection combines all the content from three WipEout titles – HD, 2048 and Fury – and spits it out in 4K, HDR and 60fps glory. Packing in 26 circuits, 46 unique ships, a ton of game modes and a revamped soundtrack, it also features 28 hits from a mix of WipEout legends, like The Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers, through to unreleased tracks from breaking artists.
Even today, it feels like a new game that could legitimately be released for the first time. Provided you have at least a large-screen TV and a great sound system (very important), the game feels slick and immersive. The controls are pretty intuitive and it’s the kind of game that would fit in perfectly in a party atmosphere where people could drop in and drop out on a casual basis.
Mind you, when I played it with friends, there wasn’t a whole lot of dropping out because inevitably, at the end of a race, we all wanted to try again. We all had the urge to see if we could do that turn just a bit better or not miss as many power-ups. It’s a mad dash from start to finish as the opponents and tracks fly by at breakneck speed. One slight mistake can drop you down several rankings but that does mean that you can just as easily make up for lost time. Power-ups and weapons litter the track, which give it a slight Mario Kart feel. If you like that sort of thing, the other game modes are definitely worth exploring and most of them are able to stand on their own as modes you’ll want to keep coming back to.
Multiplayer options include going online with friends in eight-player races or local two-player split-screen. I was hankering to have four-player split-screen. No joy there. But to be fair, with the amount of eye dexterity that you have to have already, the developers must have figured that having only 25% of the screen to yourself would have been asking too much.
My one real gripe was that in order to unlock more vehicles, you need to grind your way through single-player mode – which, to be honest, probably isn’t why you’d play this game. And if you can’t be bothered, then your multiplayer experiences will probably involve you and local opponents all driving the same car.
If you can get past that, then the Omega Collection is a pretty solid racer. Combine that with an adrenaline-pumping soundtrack and slick graphics and there really isn’t too much more you’d want out of a racing game.
As for us, we came away with the weird feeling that we hadn’t blinked in awhile. Only to come back for another round later.