WipEout Omega Collection: remaster, revamp or remake?

In-depth comparisons showing how Sony transformed a classic for the 4K generation.

By Thomas Morgan. 10/06/2017

One of the best-looking games on PS4 and PS4 Pro, WipEout Omega Collection revives a much-loved series for a new generation. Combining WipEout HD, Fury and 2048 in one package, developer Studio Liverpool's memory lives on in this excellent remaster. And thanks to the talent at Clever Beans, EPOS Game Studios, and Sony XDev Europe, we have a release that not only pays homage to a genuine classic, but also stands tall as a fully viable, modern PlayStation 4 release with some impeccable technical credentials.

It's also a fine example of scalability between PlayStation 4 and its super-charged Pro stablemate. Similar to Horizon Zero Dawn, the main difference really is in resolution, and visuals are otherwise the same for both. A regular PS4 renders at a native 1080p with 4x8 EQAA (Enhanced Quality Anti-Aliasing) - a proprietary AMD technology that has been deployed in both PS4 and Xbox One titles, including Forza Motorsport 6. PS4 Pro offers the same solution, albeit at checkerboard 2160p with motion blur enabled, or native 4K with the effect turned off. Despite older marketing suggesting that WipEout Omega Collection renders with a dynamic resolution, we can now confirm that it's native 1080p on base, 4K on Pro. Put simply, the final code doesn't need to adjust pixel-counts on the fly.

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On top of that, not only is the framebuffer locked, the performance level is too. Even on demanding circuits with lots of weapons, neither console buckles from 60fps, even at the congested starting grid. It's a rock-solid line on either PS4 machine, with v-sync always engaged. 60fps isn't to be taken for granted in WipEout, and even the PS3 version struggled to hold that number at times. A weapons-fuelled slice of WipEout HD Fury action could see PlayStation 3 drop sporadically to 45fps. That's all completely ironed out on PS4 and PS4 Pro, and we're also happy to report that two-player split-screen also holds native 4K at the same rock-solid frame-rate - no mean feat bearing in mind that the console is processing two sets of geometry, one for each viewpoint.

So, with resolution and performance confirmed at optimal levels, the focus changes to the actual quality of the remastering work. WipEout HD on PS3 achieved its 1080p60 performance by taking the assets from the PSP titles as a basis, then rebuilding them to PS3 spec in a process that could take up to eight months per circuit (according to our our conversations with Studio Liverpool, back in the day). In a sense, the original PS3 release was a remaster in itself.

The Omega Collection for PS4 feels like the next generation of this work. It's not just the 4K resolution boost that takes this title to the next level. On top of the new textures and geometry, a form of tone-mapping is in place to give those colours extra punch - plus new effects like heat haze, and bloom make the cut. It's also great to see weapon effects like missiles use higher quality, sharper alpha this time. By cutting out the dynamic res, and fixing to 4K, everything looks sharp even when firing on all cylinders with all racers on screen.

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Clearly though, it's WipEout 2048 that benefits most from the remastering work. PlayStation Vita was a technical marvel for its day, but it still operated within a highly constrained mobile spec. Looking at the comparison shots and video, the Vita version doesn't really hold up - but bearing in mind that 4K resolution amounts to something like 16x the original resolution of the title, that is to be expected. The game was designed for a five-inch mobile screen, and at the time it looked stunning, but clearly a lot of work was required to transform handheld-optimised assets for the 4K era.

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