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.
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.