Welcome one and all to a very special Christmas episode of Ian's VR Corner where I'll be going over my top ten best PSVR games of 2018. The following list is completely my opinion and it only features games I've played, so if I've missed out on one of your favourites it may just be that I've not had a chance to give it a go. Well, it's either that or I did play it and I just thought it was a bit poo. Either way, please do share the love for your favourite PSVR games in the comments below and hopefully you can inspire others to try them out too.
The PS4 Pro original vs its new VR companion.
In-depth comparisons showing how Sony transformed a classic for the 4K generation.
29th March 2018
9th December 2017
10th June 2017
5th June 2017
WipEout and virtual reality should be a match made in heaven - and Sony's new PlayStation VR upgrade more than delivers. While there have been some changes to the visual make-up of the game, the sheer quality of the original release remains in place, making VR a genuine upgrade here with few drawbacks. The stark cutbacks we've seen elsewhere in other titles in terms of content, visual quality and shading don't seem to apply to WipEout VR - it's still a beautiful experience. More than that though, this isn't just a straight port: genuine effort has gone into enhancing the experience specifically for the VR medium.
But let's tackle graphics first. What we know about WipEout Omega Collection from the outset is that the developers have overhead here. PlayStation 4 Pro renders the standard game at full 2160p with a faultless 60 frames per second, so there's more than enough GPU fill-rate and compute power to handle PSVR's 1080p display. Indeed, Pro delivers a super-sampled 1620p experience, dropping just a touch to 1512p on the base PS4. Essentially, right off the bat, WipEout is a great candidate for a VR port - there's no need to double frame-rate (as required in DriveClub VR) and little need to pare back the visual feature set. Indeed, both PS4 and Pro versions even retain the 4x8 EQAA hardware anti-aliasing of the original release.
Perhaps the most daunting challenge is in doubling geometry throughput, required for a true stereoscopic output, but more importantly, we get the idea that a fair amount of work has been carried out in adapting a visual design aimed at today's living room flatpanels for a very specific VR display: an OLED panel no less, mere centimetres from the user's face. There are two major visual differences between the standard Omega Collection and its VR off-shoot; one that's easily explained and another that is a little more of a mystery.
WipEout Omega Collection gets a free VR update early next year, Sony has announced.
Sony executive Shawn Layden announced the update for the sci-fi racer on-stage during the PlayStation Experience. It launches early 2018.
Sony said you can race in every track, across every game mode, off or online, with this free PS VR update. It's created three new ships for the PS VR version, featuring a special cockpit view for PS VR that includes head tracking, so you can check out the interiors of the new ships. And you can now listen to WipEout's sound in full 3D audio.
22 years later - long after the sad closure of Studio Liverpool - the iconic WipEout series has a first UK chart number one. Ironically it's a collection of old games, in the WipEout Omega Collection on PS4, that achieved it.
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.
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.
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.
22 years on from the PlayStation original and over five years since the last instalment, WipEout still feels like a taste of the future. Carbon-scorched ships skimming across impeccable brushed concrete tracks that loop beneath futurist skyscrapers, 100-foot maneki-nekos and pulsing Tokyo neon; style like this never really goes out of fashion.
WipEout Omega Collection
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Gamers of a certain age will remember well the soundtrack to the WipEout games. Its dance-fuelled music help define WipEout's 90s cool, with banging beats powering the super fast sci-fi racing. I loved listening to the likes of Cold Storage, Orbital, The Chemical Brothers and The Prodigy while playing the original WipEout on the PSX back in 1995.
WipEout is one of the most fondly-remembered PlayStation games around - and based on this wraparound for the upcoming WipEout Omega Collection on PlayStation 4, Sony is well aware of this.
WipEout Omega Collection comes out on 7th June on PlayStation 4, Sony has announced.