Wipeout may have been around in some form or other since the beginning of time (22 years), but that misplaced capital E still annoys the bejesus out of me. It just makes it read like it’s saying wip-E-out, and I for one am not ‘whipping’ my ‘E’ out for anyone. Especially not in VR, when I can’t see what’s going on around me and could be accosted while unawares by a passing deviant.
Also: what is that singular ‘E’ even supposed to represent? It could well be ‘egg’, and whipping an egg out would require a level of biological dexterity I’m not sure I’m capable of. At least not without major interspecies transplant surgery and a significant amount of strong hormone tablets. So yes: please fix this, Sony.
Typographical oddness aside, Wipeout Omega is neither a new release, nor is it even new stuff – it came out in June 2017, and is a cut-and-shut of Wipeout 2048 (a launch title for the much-neglected PS Vita) and 2009’s Wipeout HD/Fury for the PS3. So why are we looking at this dusty pile of well old antiques, guv?
Well the clue is the aforementioned VR. Thanks to a free update, you can now play the game via the PSVR headset for an ‘in cockpit’ view. And this is no token gesture bonus VR level: this is absolutely everything from all 3 games in the collection in full, now re-tuned for immers-o-vision, for absolutely zero pence.
Given you can blag the base game for under £15 new, and many PSVR games are upwards of 30 quid for experiences so short that you miss 10% of the content while blinking, this is ridiculously great.
Frankly, it’s the sort of bargain that’s usually associated with buying something that still has security tags on it off of a dodgy bloke out of the back of a dented transit in a pub car park at midnight.
But a bargain is only truly a bargain if it’s something worth having – I’m sure you can get season tickets for the local sewage works remarkably cheaply, but watching people literally polishing turds every weekend is hardly a substitute for a Disneyland annual pass even if it does cost less.
Thankfully, there is no excrement buffing here: Wipeout in VR is simply fabulous.
I have no idea what digital witchcraft has been deployed, but the sharpness of the graphics, level of detail and smooth movement seem a cut above most PSVR games I’ve played. And that’s on a regular PS4 rather than a Pro. It looks as cool as the original Wipeout probably did to our crusty 16-bit eyes all those years ago.
Most astonishing of all, in a game that can make you feel a bit wonky playing normally because of its undulating tracks, vertical drops and loops, I experienced almost no VR sicky feelings. The only time I did feel slightly rough was after trying a max speed ship on a complex track, but even that was still far less than I’ve had in other VR games and could well have been down to my erratic driving.
To be fair, the game even pops up a motion sickness warning before you start on any particularly bonkers circuit that looks like it’s based on a pile of tagliatelle you’ve fished out of a bin, so you can’t say you’re not aware of what’s coming.
This isn’t all lovely visuals but no substance either, as the game is just as playable in first-person view as the traditional behind-the-ship stance. It is harder on later stages though: it’s way easier to get disoriented in VR because of your whole world going slantways if you’re hit by opponents or you drive into the walls.
Equally, it’s a little trickier to spot shortcuts and line up on powerups because of the low-slung stance. But in turn, having your eyes scraping along at barely more than ground level gives you a greater sensation of speed as well. And as an added bonus, in VR view you get to stare at your digital knees, should you wish to.
Other than that slight bump in the difficulty curve though, there’s almost nothing here not to like.
Weaving through the pack, guns blazing and turbo…er…turboing is a massive buzz. It feels like you’re getting a go on a go-kart track someone built on the set of Blade Runner, and then they threw in laser tag for good measure.
Like the original Wipeout was for the PlayStation, this is nothing short of a system seller for PSVR. Yes, it really is THAT good – and I’m sure the timing of its release to coincide with a permanent price drop for the hardware is absolutely no coincidence.
An essential for PSVR owners, a massive digital carrot dangling for those still undecided, and all for free. Good work, Sony. Now sort that E out.
SCORE: 2048 out of 2048