I wasn’t planning on buying this game. I’m a big racing fan, and I’ve always enjoyed the Wipeout series (except for Fusion) but, the thing is, liking this series has made me do something really strange which is… buying its games. I happen to own Wipeout HD and Fury and also Wipeout 2048 for the Vita already and they both looked and played fenomenally on their original systems so I didn’t feel the need to double dip and get them again for the PS4.
The problem is that I walked into a retail store the other day and I saw this case next to a very tempting reduced price tag and I couldn’t resist.
I usually hear people comparing this series of games to Nintendo’s F-Zero because of its futuristic setting and its breakneck speeds but I’d argue that gameplay-wise this is actually more similar to Mario Kart. A more strategic and driving-focused Mario Kart though.
You have these futuristic hovering machines going super fast in these crazy tight circuits, throwing missiles and dropping bombs at each other. It is very chaotic but it also feels very refined. These ships aren’t road going cars, they float above the track so the physics reflect that. It can be very tricky for newcomers but once you get the hang of it, it feels so good. The power-ups are very well balanced and being able to absorb them to replenish your shields give the game an extra layer of strategy.
So that’s what the game series is mostly about but what does this game offer in particular? Well, this collection includes Wipeout HD, Fury and also Wipeout 2048. That’s three games in one or more like two games and what you could call a very meaty season pass (Fury).
Content-wise it’s almost like they just glued the three components together. The campaign mode will let you select any of the three and all of the seasons and different trials from the original releases will be there. Some of the objectives on some challenges have been tweaked and a new ship (Tigron) has been added to the roster, but the content here is mostly the same.
Wipeout HD’s portion is kinda like a remastered collection of the Wipeout PSP titles. Its tracks are more clean and kinda simpler and the whole campaign is more focused around driving (or piloting) itself. For that reason, this is the campaign where I’d advice people to start from.
Wipeout Fury however is more about being aggressive. The unique modes they added like Detonator are all about blowing stuff up with your ship. It’s a good change of pace and it certainly gives the whole package variety.
The remake for Wipeout 2048 is where it’s at though. This game is some prequel of sorts regarding the Wipeout series. It had a less futuristic look (on the track designs specially) and plenty of nods to other titles of the series while it also added some interesting features not present in other titles. The fact that you can pick defensive or offensive weapons in different pods is quite neat.
Graphics have been improved. They’re 1080p at a rock solid 60fps on base PS4 while can be played in native 4k while retaining the 60 frames per second. The game really looks gorgeous, it has a great lighting effects and in movement looks spectacular.
Also the audio has been improved. Most effects are essentially the same but the engine noises on your ship have now a deeper punch. They sound better and more powerful now which is a change I wasn’t expecting but it’s very welcome.
The music is still very electronic which isn’t really my cup of tea personally but it’s hard to argue on how fitting it is for a game like this.
Things I liked
- Fast & responsive: Never 60 frames per second have been put into a better use. The game goes fast, during the later stages in Zone mode, insanely fast. But you won’t feel hampered by the controls or the game in general in any way. Getting a perfect lap in sebenco climb at Phantom Speed feels so good.
- Addictive: Maybe it’s just me because I like arcade racing games so much but I just couldn’t put the game down. The game has a lot of different challenges and ships and unlocking them is really satisfying. Each different challenge is kinda short and the load times are short too so you never feel like stopping.
- Modes: The meat of this game could be considered its weapon fueled races but there’s so much more than that. Each game introduced its own game modes and now they’re all in this package. Zone, Tournament, Speed Lap, Time Trial from HD; Zone Battle, Eliminator and Detonator from Fury or the Combats and Prototype challenges from 2048.
- Challenging: Piloting supersonic ships in those corridor tight circuits while avoiding rival fire isn’t easy. Unlike some other games in this genre, winning in Wipeout will require you to really master the physics of these ships and manage the ever rotating inventory of weapons and other power ups you’ll be gathering around the tracks. It is very intense, but that’s what makes it fun. You could also play on easy but then you’ll probably suffer online.
- Multiplayer: I’m not the biggest online junkie out there but even I could enjoy my time playing wipeout multiplayer (online and splitscreen). There’s plenty of options and rooms for you to join at the moment and I haven’t ecountered a single “hiccup” during the whole experience online.
Things I didn’t
- No mixing: This is pretty nitpicky but it’s the only thing I could find that kinda bothered me. The three campaigns are just glued together but they’re not integrated into each other in any way. If you think you could race with Wipeout 2048 ships on HD’s tracks or using one of Fury’s own modes, you won’t be able to do that nor any other combination.
Things that eh…
- Nothing new: Apart from the game looking slicker than ever, the only major inclusion into this game is the Tigron ship. I played this game before, a slightly worse version, but I’ve already played it. It’s to be expected on a remaster but it kept reminding me on how much I’d want a brand new Wipeout game.
Who’d like this?
If you like arcade racing games, specially the ones with power-ups involved, this is a no brainer. For a reduced price you’re getting a lot of content and the gameplay and the graphics has been polished to perfection.
However, if you’re like me and have already these games in your collection, this is a tougher sell. For the asking price it’s a very sensible offering and who knows? Maybe if this game sells enough Sony will think about developing a new game in the series.