Let me take you back to a simpler time…Back to the year of 1995…Tamagotchis were running rampant throughout schools the globe-wide, Beyblades tore up many-a-parent’s tables and flooring, and The Animaniacs was still airing, spearheading a generation of gold-standard cartoons…
But we’re not here to talk about 1990’s cartoons, or Beyblades, heck, even Pogs – We’re here for one simple reason.
…To go bloody fast.
Wipeout originally released for Sony’s Playstation 1 back in 1995, ushering in a competitor to the legendary F-Zero and Mario Kart franchises Nintendo had been diligently cultivating and growing (Until they dropped F-Zero for no good reason…); aimed as a direct competitor to these juggernauts, Wipeout adapted the pop-punk style prevalent in the 1990’s, splashed a ton of edge and unique flair onto it, and ramped up the speed to 11..!
Believe it or not, it’s now been 22 years since Wipeout first debuted on our consoles, and it’s about nigh-time the series was rebooted! With the original three PS1 titles (Because for some reason Wipeout Fusion on the PS2 was unloved ;-;), Wipeout, Wipeout 2097 and Wipeout 3 all getting on in age, the Wipeout Omega Collection aimed to bring these three titles fully back to the standards of the modern day, fit with online 8-player multiplayer, the entire single-player mode from all three titles, and every race course, ship and weapon from the originals – I’m happy to report that, at least as far as I can compare, the Wipeout Omega Collection indeed keeps this promise, and even expands with new ships exclusive to the collection!
Possibly one of the biggest worries for the Omega Collection, however, was on the topic of how speed would be handled – How would the Wipeout Omega Collection introduce newcomers into the series whilst also maintaining the hard-as-nails difficulty and speed of the originals? When it comes to newcomers, there are a variety of lower-speed modes to help ease them into the game, an a Pilot Assist that helps to push players away from barriers on the map – Regarding speed, fortunately, the title has it in spades, with ships going up to, and even past Mach 3 speeds (From normal categories being E, D, C, B, A, A+, Mach 1, Mach 2, Mach 3 and possibly more), alongside fresh, new gamemodes such as Zone (Which tasks a single racer to navigate a course as quickly as possible, as long as possible whilst damage taken and speed increase at a steady rate) that add a bit of well-needed variety to the title’s multiple race campaigns – Combat too is another focus of the title, with a wide variety of unique weapons such as a charged orb of explosive Plasma, an energy Quake, triple Rockets and homing Missiles, and many, many more; racers eliminated from races are out for good too, giving a direct incentive to be as offensive as possible in weapon-enabled races – To add to this, defensive items are also included, such as Shield Leeching lasers, Turbo boosts, and Autopilot for sticky situations.
Multiplayer too is an absolute blast (No pun intended), with a full lobby of 8 skilled players really driving up the stakes and adding far more chaos than my poor eyes can even keep track of; it may be explosive, fast-paced franticness, but when you nail that boost, get that kill, and ultimately end up in 1st, or even 2nd, my god does it feel good. The feeling of satisfaction you get for finally winning a challenging race can easily be compared as “The Dark Souls of Racing”, if I wanted to be dramatic and create a clickbait-y title to summarise this game.
Courses take place in a variety of challenging and often stunning locales, from spiralling around the top of a skyscraper to racing through an old European town to the bustling franticness of a full stadium; there’s never a boring moment in the backgrounds of these races – My only complaint being that it can be extremely hard to see hazards, boost pads and tight corners in these lavish environments.
One thing to note with the Omega Collection is how well the original in-world brands and promotions have been recreated in full 4K, 60fps glory – Brands like Piranha, Qirex, Tigron and more all have distinct styles, colour pallets, and designs, with each “sponsoring” large events in the campaigns of each title.
Speaking of ‘each title’ too, it’s interesting to note that, surprisingly, the Wipeout Omega Collection doesn’t just have one UI style. The game’s UI and style changes according to which ‘series’ you choose, be it the tracks from the original Wipeout, Wipeout 2097, or Wipeout 3 – Each has their own course designs, themes, interfaces and more, which really drives in that feeling of nostalgia – Didn’t like Wipeout 1, but loved the style of Wipeout 3? The Omega Collection has you covered. Gold star for you, Clever Beans and EPOS. Gold star…!
Well, after all that’s said and done, what else really is there to say on the Wipeout Omega Collection? The collection is one of the most faithful remasters I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing, scales up to 4k and 60fps on PS4 Pro perfectly, and plays like an absolute dream, arguably bringing Wipeout back into the mainstream light it once was in; my one and only complaint with the collection is the lack of PSVR support, which, if it were to be included later on down the line, may just bring Wipeout back as one of Sony’s mainstream racing mascots.
A boy can dream, eh?
The Wipeout Omega Collection gets a 9.5 from myself.