Once upon a time, there was a game called WipEout. It screamed in to our homes in 1995 as a launch title for the original PlayStation, assaulting our senses (in a good way) with its ridiculously fast-paced gameplay and pulsating techno soundtrack, and proved so popular that it spawned eight sequels.
The last two of those sequels, WipEout HD and WipEout 2048, arrived in 2008 and 2012 respectively, but there the story ended; it seemed there was to be no happy ending for this series.
Well, until now - because Sony's only gone and bundled up those two titles, plus WipEout HD's Fury DLC, and remastered them for the PS4 and PS4 Pro.
So, can the Omega Collection revisit the glory days of zero-gravity racing? Let's find out...
With our brief history lesson out of the way (though you’ll have to guess why the name of the game is stylised in such a fashion), the uninitiated may be wondering what kind of racing game WipEout actually is. Put simply, the WipEout games are futuristic, fast-paced arcade games that get you to whizz through cityscapes in the anti-grav racer of your choosing, shooting your opponents with a variety of power-ups, all while listening to an absolutely stonking soundtrack.
Acceleration is on the cross-button, while the triggers control air brakes, so you’ll need to get used to double tapping them for a kind of insta-shift if you need to get out of danger quickly. You grab power-ups by flying over them, and that’s pretty much the basics covered.
As a collection, Omega feels like Sony are testing the waters, putting what remains of WipEout’s best foot forward and seeing if people care enough to warrant a new title in the series, and let us tell you straight: the world needs a new entry in this series.
VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE
Since it’s basically two games in one package, there are small differences in how the campaigns play out, but it’s mostly window dressing, and you’ll still get to experience the variety of modes on offer across both games.
Starting out simply enough, you’ll have to win a few races before power-ups are introduced. Then you’ll get to have a go at time trials (standard), and speed laps, then the incredible zone mode.
Speed laps are fun, but they can also be over incredibly quickly if you’re half decent. The idea is that you have to beat a lap time to get the gold medal, and you can do this on the first lap if you’re good enough.
DON’T STOP ME, I’M IN THE ZONE!
But the best of WipEout is on offer in zone mode. Here, acceleration control is taken from you, and you just have to steer your way through safely. As you hit each new zone on a repeated course, the laps get more frantic and scary.
The first time you play zone mode is usually early on when you’re just used to the lowest speed class, so it’s here you get an early indication of just how fast WipEout can be. These are extreme speeds and you’ll likely be bouncing off the walls before you get anywhere near the top end.
It feels brilliant, and in many ways was before its time: it's all about getting in-sync with the music and clicking with the twists and turns the tracks present, making it almost akin to a modern rhythm games such as Thumper. These are pure tests of skill and are utterly exhilarating: zone mode is the quintessential WipEout experience, and looks just as impressive today as it did back then.