The WipEout series has always stood out amongst its peers by offering unique, fast-paced, and varied racing. Although fans won't get a new experience here, is being treated to a graphically superior collection good enough to tide them over?
WipEout Omega Collection features all of the content included in WipEout HD, its Fury expansion, and WipEout 2048. If you haven't played these before, you'll be surprised by the amount of content here as this collection consists of three campaigns that include over fifty races each in the form of three cups in one campaign and eight events in the other two. That's over one hundred and fifty races to spend your time mastering, each one with a unique twist.
The types of races include: time trial (beat the clock for an entire race), speed lap (keep racing until you beat the clock for one lap), eliminator (gain the most points for exterminating competitors and completing laps), zone (survive for as long as possible as the speed of your ship increases), zone battle (same as zone but with a points system), detonator (blow up mines before you hit them), and tournament (a collection of races against opponents). Eliminator, zone battle, and detonator are three modes that were introduced in the WipEout HD Fury expansion and it is the only campaign where they are featured in the Omega Collection. As you progress through the campaigns, the speed classes of each race increase. You'll find yourself wondering if WipEout was always this slow to start with but by the time you're only halfway through, it will start getting difficult to maintain control of your vehicle.
Other differences between the 2048 races and the WipEout HD ones include the fact that you can only be awarded either a Pass or an Elite Pass grade for finishing a 2048 race whereas the WipEout HD races allow you to collect a more traditional bronze, silver, or gold medal depending on your performance. Each medal corresponds to a certain amount of points and once you gain enough points, you unlock the next event in the given campaign. In contrast, 2048's progression system is quite simpler. Essentially, upon passing a race, you unlock any connecting races on a grid menu, eventually making your way to the major events. Upon completing the major events, you unlock the next cup. 2048's menu system definitely does a better job than HD at making things exciting as it feels so much more fulfilling to get an Elite Pass on a level, especially when it is so difficult to do so.
As far as vehicles and tracks go, 2048 is lacking with only sixteen vehicles and ten tracks (with no reverse options). When 2048 first released, I appreciated this as it allowed me to focus on a smaller collection of difficult races and feel a larger sense of accomplishment. The fact that 2048 soon included the HD and Fury tracks and vehicles as DLC actually makes Omega Collection a graphically superior version of 2048 and its DLC so if you already own it, there is little reason to buy Omega Collection other than the fun of playing it on your PlayStation 4. That is, unless you're craving the one new ship and the new soundtrack (which I'll discuss later).
Anyway, HD and Fury bring in ninety two vehicles and twenty four tracks in total. That's a ton of content. However, the crazy number of vehicles available feels a little excessive considering once you've picked your favourite vehicle for each type of race, you're probably going to stick with it. Each vehicle has its own stats and visual style and you can feel the difference when you're switching between them but I still find it hard to say that all ninety two are completely necessary.
All three campaigns have their own unique visual flair including menus, tracks, and the in-race HUD itself. 2048 definitely looks more current-gen than the others but it's neat to see how they changed over time. The tracks and ships for all three campaigns look great on the big screen (as I would expect from the WipEout series). The developers poured a lot of love into the tracks with so many tiny details whizzing by as you race to the finish line. Overall, the graphics have been improved to ensure that the overall collection looks stunning on a PlayStation 4 and even better on a PS4 Pro.
With the visuals looking better than ever, it's disappointing that the soundtrack has been changed in Omega Collection from the original games. The music selection is the same throughout the entire collection and the only track that was included in the original games is Prodigy's "Invaders Must Die". I distinctly remember enjoying most of the music in the original releases but it quickly became clear that the music in Omega Collection doesn't quite live up to the same standard. One can only assume that they had issues with licensing. Why else would they have thrown away perfectly good soundtracks and replaced them with mostly generic electronica from artists such as Swedish House Mafia and David Tort? However, it's not all bad with the likes of The Chemical Brothers being included but when a generic track comes up, it automatically makes me open the menu and switch it right away.
Apart from the main campaigns, Omega Collection includes a Racebox mode that essentially allows you to freely play anything from the collection. You can select any track, race type, and class, choose whether you're allowing weapons or not, and change the AI difficulty to whatever you're comfortable with. This is the only mode that allows you to play split-screen local multiplayer. Of course, there is online multiplayer as well. With WipEout being arguably the most intense racer out there, you likely won't be playing with your chums on a couch anyway as it's hard to socialize while you're in the middle of such an engrossing racer.
Some of the other features of note in this collection include a records section that shows you a leaderboard of all races, a pilot assist option that helps you with avoiding the walls as you play, photo mode that allows you to change the composition of the visuals such as the exposure and focus, and the option to use motion controls. All of these were available in previous iterations but it's great to see that these elements were kept in this compilation. Controlling your ship is as intuitive as ever as the controls change slightly depending on the type of race you're playing. Barrel-rolling in mid-air to get a boost, dodging walls and weaponry at the last second, and doing a 180° to hit an opponent are just some of the cool abilities that are as entertaining to pull off as when you first got to use them.
The WipEout series is a shining example of how to keep racing exciting with many variations and an awesome visual style. The classic gameplay holds up beautifully so if you're craving some fast-paced races then Omega Collection is more than enough to satisfy.
- + Classic varied futuristic fast-paced anti-gravity racing at its best
- + Awesome graphics pop off the screen
- + Huge amount of content to master
- - Soundtrack doesn't live up to previous games in the series
- - There isn't much new for those who already own HD, Fury, and 2048