When you're screaming around hairpin corners in an anti-grav bullet car on a futuristic race track set against some of the most breathtaking scenery imaginable, it's almost shocking to think that WipEout Omega Collection is a remastering of games with their origins on PSP and PS Vita.
Packaging together 4K remakes of the Vita's WipEout 2048 and PS3's WipEout HD (plus its beefy expansion pack, Fury), which itself was an upgrade of PSP's WipEout Pure and Pulse, this crams in a huge amount of material for racing fans. The fact that the original handheld versions were likely missed by a lot of WipEout fans, and are now tricky to find, only adds to the appeal of this PS4 compendium.
Every track, vehicle, and mode of the originals makes an appearance here, all lovingly recreated in Ultra HD. You'll only get the benefit of that if you're playing on a PS4 Pro with a 4K TV, but even on a slovenly 'regular' PS4 and 1080p screen, this looks astounding, with a richness and detail that has to be seen to be believed. Factor in the trance-inducing EDM soundtrack – a definitive part of the WipEout experience, with a playlist that wouldn't feel out of place in some unspeakably cool east London club – and the 60fps frame rate, and racing around around Omega Collection's dozens of tracks becomes almost literally hypnotic.
However, the more recent 2048 feels sharper and more precise to control than HD or Fury, benefitting from smoother handling where the latter two offer jerky corners and volatile air braking that shunts your vehicle uncontrollably from side to side. This can only disappoint when the series demands rapid reflexes and should offer vehicles that respond in turn.
Thankfully, and perhaps surprisingly for newcomers, WipEout isn't just about racing. Alternate modes add variety, and test player skill in ways other than merely beating the competition. Zone offers endurance tests, a sort of one-man Le Mans where you zoom through sections at increasing speed for as long as your ship's energy holds up. Each knock against track walls diminishes it, making boost pads an increasing menace rather than a boon, as they are in races. Combat races see you pick up weapons and earn points by blasting the competition rather than out-pacing them – arguably the only time weapons serve much purpose, as the incredible speed of actual races renders them largely redundant on the track. Throw in the likes of Time Trials and speed targets and there's plenty to keep even the least competitive player's interest.
Whether this lives up to its title and proves the final WipEout game remains to be seen – Sony closed down original developer Studio Liverpool, formerly known as Psygnosis, in 2012; the Vita version of WipEout 2048 was its last original project. If it is though, Omega Collection is a hell of a victory lap.