We're going to start this otherwise glowing review with a complaint. Why? Because we really wish that this was a new Wipeout game. Since Sony shuttered Studio Liverpool - formerly known as Psygnosis - there hasn't been anything new released in the much-loved racing series. This is nothing short of a shame as it's one of our favourites, and the absence of one of the genre greats on PlayStation 4 has left a hole in the console's lineup that this remastered collection is looking to fill. Wipeout Omega Collection thus brings a huge amount of high-speed content to Sony's console, and if you've got a PS4 Pro and a suitable screen, then you can even enjoy this futuristic racer in 4K/60FPS.
But before we get into what this collection has to offer, and even how it looks and feels to play, let's get the basics out of the way. Wipeout is an anti-grav racer where players pilot ridiculously high-powered ships around twisting tracks, picking up weapons and blasting their foes, zipping between speed boosts, and generally trying to keep it together as the races get progressively more intense. One element that perhaps represents the series better than anything else - beyond the setting and genre - is the pumping soundtrack, with the original PSOne game capturing the attention of a new generation of gamers thanks to pulsating tunes that tapped into the rave culture of the '90s. The music, the setting, the violence: it all combined to give Wipeout an edge, setting it apart from the competition and leading it to the cult status that it still enjoys to this day.
The core elements that defined the series endure, and Wipeout Omega Collection does a fantastic job of accentuating its qualities, and it does so with shiny versions of the most recent releases in the series. Wipeout 2048 launched on PS Vita back in 2012, and it's the first thing you're invited to play when you boot up the game. Then there's Wipeout HD, which is almost a decade old and first landed on PS3, and included tracks previously seen in PSP games Pure and Pulse. Alongside the already remastered tracks of old came the then new tracks found in expansion Fury HD. Simply put, there's a lot here for players to get their teeth stuck into.
The way it has all been pulled together works really well. 2048 is a great starting point as the in-game action pre-dates the rest of the series, and there's a really nice blend of futuristic elements and more recognisably contemporary backgrounds. We then fast-forward a few decades for Wipeout and Fury, and things look altogether more metallic and futuristic. All told, it's a great collection of content that does a fantastic job of summing up what the whole series is all about.
The Omega Collection might offer a generous assortment of tracks and racers (with 26 reversible circuits, and 46 ship variants), but the first thing that will strike you is just how good it looks on PS4. Epos Game Studios and Clever Beans have done a fine job of modernising the game for a new generation. That said, nostalgic fans will also enjoy the work that has gone into updating these tracks, and it's no exaggeration to say that it all looks freshly-minted, a true modern-looking racer packed full of interesting details and eye-catching effects that you're going to be too busy to take in any way. Still, it's nice to know that they're there.
There are multiple game modes across all three parts of the game, and you won't get bored quickly, and that's whether you're racing against AI-controlled opponents, yourself and your previous personal bests, or even going on endurance runs and staying alive for as long as possible while the pace quickens and you're thrown into hard left after hard right. The constant change of focus keeps things fresh, then, and because you're frequently faced with new challenges, it's easy to get lost in the moment and the time can really fly by (pardon the pun).