WipEout at 4K 60fps is PS4 Pro at its best
The full resolution, full frame-rate showcase we've been waiting for.
WipEout's Omega Collection revamp has already scored a Eurogamer Recommended badge, but here at Digital Foundry, we simply had to weigh in. This release is sensational and for PS4 Pro owners especially, we consider it an essential purchase. Whether your Pro is hooked up to a 4K screen, or whether you're still gaming at 1080p, the experience delivers.
And this is important. While there's no doubt that PS4 Pro offers a palpable upgrade over base hardware on most titles, we have a number of niggles about the system. Whether it's the lack of 1080p SSAA support on many releases, or the proliferation of good-but-not-great 1440p implementations, there's the sense that PS4 Pro has not been as well looked after as it should have been.
Wasn't Sony's super-charged console supposed to be PlayStation hardware built for the 4K generation? If so, how come so few titles actually get close to the 1800p/2160p targets set by Sony? And how come titles like Prey can launch with no support at all? But then you get a game like Horizon Zero Dawn or WipEout Omega Collection and faith is restored. In fact, this release - a collaboration between Sony XDev, Clever Beans and EPOS Game Studios - is the best ultra HD, 60 frames per second game available for Pro owners.
Curiously though, there are actually two 4K modes available. With motion blur enabled, the Omega Collection defaults to a 2160p checkerboard presentation. However, turn off the effect and WipEout moves to a full, native 4K output. Previously, PR from Sony has indicated that a dynamic resolution framebuffer is in effect, but thus far, our measurements have yet to find anything other than a full-fat 8.3m pixel output in effect at all times.
So, which mode to choose? The checkerboarding solution isn't bad, but the motion blur effect isn't that attractive or refined (perhaps not surprising bearing in mind the sustained high level of performance here) and there's a definite softness to the presentation. Meanwhile, turning the motion blur off reveals a super-crisp, pristine image that pops beautifully. While the differences diminish during the full force of gameplay (mostly down to reduced motion resolution on today's flat-panels), WipEout's less frenzied moments simply look clean at native 4K. Pristine, even.
On top of the native 4K output, there's an additional pass of 4x8 EQAA - a proprietary AMD anti-aliasing technique that looks to improve upon traditional MSAA without the same memory footprint. Coverage isn't perfect, but overall image quality remains sensational. On top of that, we can confirm that regardless of the rendering mode you choose, if you're gaming on a full HD screen, you get full down-sampling (base PS4 operates at 1080p with the same 4x8 EQAA anti-aliasing).
We'll go into a little more depth on the enhancements made to the three games in the pack in a future article, but the bottom line is that the Omega Collection isn't just a 4K rendering of the existing titles - the whole engine gets a revamp, additional effects are in play, a full HDR pipeline is in place, and core art assets are redrawn from the ground up. The jump from PS3 to PS4 is impressive enough, but the leap from PlayStation Vita with WipEout 2048 is particularly striking. However, despite the massive revamp, the upgrades hare handled tastefully and gameplay feels the same, just smoother and more responsive. And of course, WipEout 2048 benefits from a full-on 2x boost to performance, the Vita original's 30fps now operating on par with WipEout HD and Fury.
And it really is a locked 60 frames per second. We've spent a couple of days looking for any weakness in the throughput of this release, but the Omega Collection has remained solid on all fronts - even when really putting the game through its paces in HD Fury's most intense battles. Both PS3 and Vita titles employed dynamic resolution scalers, but still managed to fall short of their respective performance targets back in the day. On PlayStation 4, despite the rich visual upgrades across the board, we've yet to break this title's dogged lock on its target 60 frames per second - the action remains silky smooth no matter what we throw at it.
The only criticism you can level at the package concerns just how authentic it is - just like the original releases, you'll reach a point where seemingly only superhuman reflexes and tons of luck can propel you through to the next level. But at its best, the Omega Collection delivers on two fronts. First of all, it reminds us that Sony doesn't cut corners on its remasters - there's the same level of care and attention to detail here as in the likes of the Nathan Drake Collection and Gravity Rush. And secondly, if you're looking for showcase piece of software that really shows PlayStation 4 Pro at its best, the Omega Collection is the game for you.
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