Video Games Review: Wipeout Omega Collection (PS4, 2017) punches the nostalgia button but still can’t keep pace

The year was 1995, I was sifting through my Australian PlayStation Magazine demo discs after playing a couple of hours of Spyro the Dragon on my PlayStation, I decided I would finally give the ‘PlayStation Demo Disc’ a good go! The disc came with the console at the time it launched, I just hadn’t had any real reason to pop it in the drive until now, the infamous PlayStation start up sound vibrated my TV and I was given the option of WipeOut, Destruction Derby and Total NBA (alongside that awesome T-Rex Dinosaur and Manta Ray 3D simulation video), of course I chose WipeOut!

Looks Stunning!

From the moment the soundtrack started up to the time I held down that X button and drifted around my first corner, at the time I knew I had found something special. This new 3D racer was in town and I wanted the full version right away. When I finally got my hands around it I enjoyed it’s extremely tough learning curve but hated the tight corners and disastrous set-backs the moment you hit a wall. I still persisted and for the most part I enjoyed it and maybe it was more because of the licensed Chemical Brothers and Leftfield soundtracks among others at the time, this was new to gaming, a REAL licenced soundtrack that wouldn’t see its match till the later Tony Hawk games and Need for Speed titles. It was new, it looked slick and I felt like a bad ass playing it.

Now here we are in 2017, 22 years later and we are getting remasters again in WipeOut Omega Collection for the PlayStation 4. This collection takes 2008’s WipeOut HD (which was basically also a remaster of the original WipeOut) and its subsequent expansion pack Fury and its 2012 Vita release WipeOut 2048. The game consists of over 60 courses to choose from and even with the extra 4K textures for those who are lucky enough to have a PS4 Pro.

I have seen some great reviews for this title and most of them ride on pure nostalgia, but  I’m sad to say, as gorgeous as this now looks, you cannot bring back the same mechanics, the same levels and the same soundtrack and say ‘Hey, look how new this looks, play it!’. At least not for WipeOut and not for me.

Most of this racing sim here feels like it did 22 years ago and as amazing as it can look and feel speeding through a futuristic metropolis at 200 Kilometres or more an hour, at the end of the day there is no longer any substance to what you’re doing. I want a living breathing world to race in, I probably cannot ask for a story (it is an arcade racer after all), but some kind of meaning for me to keep playing tracks over and over again other than unlocking the next shinier hood or weapon on my vehicle.

This is it, not much more to it!

In a time when we have racers like Forza Horizon 3 and we have had games like Motorsport that set the benchmark for how current gen racers should look and feel, it is just too outdated for me anymore, at least when having an hour or so prolonged playtime sessions. This bad boy can be picked up for a solid ten or so minutes with mates, reminisce, have a laugh and a race and then go back to something meatier.

The collision detection is still quite some way off from being perfected here as well as needing some form of commentary or audience for you to feel like you’re not alone while racing, It just comes across as a little hollow. My favourite track was and has always been SOL 2 and it still holds a piece of my heart. It all comes down to this, if you loved WipeOut back in 1995 and you still loved it in 2008, then nothing will change for you here and you will appreciate the decent port as it doesn’t misstep in any of the gameplay, it isn’t broken in anyway and there really is not much to fault if you are into this genre of racing. For anyone else, even newcomers to WipeOut’s Anti-Grav racing I am not sure it can offer anything worth investing in here!

Score: 5.5 out of 10
Highlights: Beautiful and crisp visuals; Over 60 Varied versions of all the tracks; Nostaglic Soundtrack (The Prodigy for example); Rollercoaster tracks!
Lowlights: ; Hasn’t done anything different,  Lack of any real depth outside of holding down an X or an R2 Button and unlocking the next shiner anti-grav racer.
Developer: Psygnosis/SCE Studios Liverpool
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Platforms: PlayStation 4
Available: June 6, 2017

Reviewed on PlayStation 4.