Tag Archives: PS3

Review: Wipeout: Omega Collection – Futuristic Fury Road

wipeout omega collection cover

Since the closing of Studio Liverpool back in 2012, fans of the former developer’s long-running racing series known as Wipeout have expressed doubt on the future of the franchise. Despite at least one Wipeout title appearing on every PlayStation console to date, Sony appeared to care little about the Wipeout games after Wipeout: 2048 on the PlayStation Vita was released. After 2048’s release, there was no sign of a new entry coming anytime soon, to the dismay of fans including myself. To my knowledge, the series was never really known as one of the more popular PlayStation brands, and so a future for the franchise was unknown. After several years of waiting, a new entry in the historic racing series has arrived on Sony’s latest and most powerful hardware in the form of Wipeout: Omega Collection, brought to us by the fine folks at Sony XDev. It’s not exactly the sort of package that fans were asking for, but the game is everything that was promised to us. In this collection, players get access to remastered versions of Wipeout HD, Wipeout HD Fury, and Wipeout 2048. To kick off this review, let’s take a dive into what makes Wipeout special.

 

I’m not a big fan of racing games. I dislike driving in my day to day life, and have felt little joy in driving in the digital space, besides participating in the occasional round of Mario Kart. There are only two games, one of them being a recent addition to the list, that are the exception to this mindset – games in the Wipeout series, and Fast RMX, on the Nintendo Switch. I won’t describe here in detail why I enjoy Fast RMX, but the similarities it shares to Wipeout made my time with the game an enjoyable one. With this in mind, I view Wipeout as the undisputed king of high-speed, futuristic racing action.

wipeout assegai

I have not played every Wipeout game in the long-running PlayStation series. In fact, I’ve only played a total of three of them (four, if we’re counting the Omega Collection). Despite this, I’ve felt a love for the franchise ever since I started playing Wipeout HD on the PS3 some several years ago. I was enamored by the fast ships, tight turns, heart-pounding music, and dazzling visuals that sparked across the screen when I played. My time spent with Wipeout was more exciting to me than any other racing game I had yet played, and that was due in part to the high speed thrills that Wipeout HD provided. I spent many hours in my high school years attempting to earn gold medals on each and every course offered in the game’s single-player mode, which include challenges such as time trials, speed laps, and traditional races. Offering multiple levels of AI difficulty, the game presented players with a fair level of challenge that asked for racing course knowledge and a deep understanding of the game’s core mechanics.

 

Some of the core mechanics that distinguish Wipeout from other racing games include the barrel roll, health system, and unique power-ups that can be used against opponents. Every racer’s ship has a level of health attached to it, totaling at 100 hit points. When a barrel roll is performed, the racer’s ship will spin in mid-air, consuming around 15 points of health, and grants them a speed boost upon landing on the ground. It’s a risk versus reward system that favors players who keep a close eye on their ship’s health, and when combined with the risk of being hit from other players and the ability to regenerate their own health by absorbing collected weapons, is a system that I find works very well. Certain weapons do more damage than others, and knowing when to attack or defend is key to your survival on the race course. Lose all of your 100 health points? You’re eliminated from the race, and you earn zero points in any tournament standings. Wipeout can be a brutal game, especially with pilot assist off, and players have to be mindful of the weapon pickups as well as their health pools if they hope to achieve victory.

wipeout harimau

The game is aware of its steep difficulty curve, and starts the player off with slower races and weaker opponents. Pilot assist, an in-game feature that aids racers in avoiding walls, is also recommended for newcomers. For veterans of the series such as myself, the difficulty level can be tweaked to my satisfaction to provide a satisfying challenge, while still feeling fair. This degree of control is flexed across all three games in the Omega Collection, providing a complete package of gameplay across a variety of stunning courses.

 

One of the best parts about Wipeout: Omega Collection actually isn’t the included Wipeout HD and Fury games, but instead Wipeout 2048 is the most exciting part of this package. 2048 was originally released on the PlayStation Vita, and while it is a visually stunning title on the handheld, those visuals would not translate well onto the living room screen. With this in mind, the folks over at XDev completely remastered the original game’s visuals into a native 4K resolution running at 60FPS, and the result is simply spectacular. The frame rate of all three games in the Omega Collection has suffered no noticeable dips, even with the high-speed action in full force. Pulling off sharp turns on corners has never felt so good. Despite these games being a retread in the franchise, it’s a technical marvel on PS4, and a great addition to any owner of a 4K display. This level of eye-candy can only be found on the PlayStation 4 Pro, of course, but the game also looks stunning on the base PS4 at 1080p resolution. The work that has been put into a full remaster of 2048 is greatly appreciated, as well as the solid ports of Wipeout HD and Fury.

Wipeout EGX

Featuring a solid career mode across three separate games, there is a ton of content to choose from in this collection. When you are finished with the game’s offline content, how does the online portion stack up? Unfortunately, I think it could do with some tweaks under the hood. I’ve played at least a couple dozen online races in Wipeout: Omega Collection, and I have experienced very little lag in any of the races I participated in. So what’s the problem, you ask? Well, the answer is unfortunately the lack of players available to race against. I mentioned earlier that the Wipeout series is not one that I ever knew to be very popular among the PlayStation crowd, and this appears evident the moment you navigate the online multiplayer menu. To find an online race, players scroll through a list of lobbies that are created by other players. There is a high level of customization offered, allowing up to eight people to engage in every sort of multiplayer content on any in-game track, at whichever speed class they desire. The problem arises when you notice the lack of available rooms to play in; the last time I logged in to play Wipeout online multiplayer, about a day ago of this writing, I found only two available rooms to join. I could create my own room for other players to join, of course, but who knows how long it would take to have other racers notice and connect before quitting? Simply put, I think racing games are among the few multiplayer genres that benefit from matchmaking, as opposed to player-created lobbies. I know this is usually disagreed upon in the gaming community, but in the case of Wipeout, there simply aren’t enough players to encourage the effort needed to play online. I love the game enough that I am willing to wait a minute or two for other players to join an online race, but not everyone is that patient. If a matchmaking system were in place, it would be even more simple for players to find each other quickly and effortlessly engage in online races. Perhaps this isn’t an issue that can be fixed by the developers, but is instead a fault of the small player base. This is a shame, because I have found the online experience to be fun and, in regard to online connectivity, reliable.

 

Playing this game again on PS4 has reminded me of the fun that I had all those years ago on PS3, and the Omega Collection continues to provide new thrills each time I sit down and play. If you are someone who enjoys slick, futuristic vehicles that fly at incredible speed on higher difficulties, don’t let this one pass by. Also, the community needs more people playing online, so please help out, if you pick up the game. Just like Titanfall 2, this game is a gem that deserves a large player base, but has instead suffered from a general lack of interest/poor release date.

wipeout zone

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading my review. Feel free to follow my work here on Word Press, or check out my Twitter page. I talk there about anything, usually gaming, but also retweet pictures of adorable animals. Have a great week!

 

  • Matt
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Persona 5 – I’ve Played 70 Hours, Here’s My Impressions So Far (No Spoilers)

  • Just for reference: I am currently about 70 hours through the main game, and am halfway through the sixth palace.

Man, I’ve been waiting for this game for quite some time. This year marked the release of a ton of fantastic games, but Persona 5 is a title that has been on my most-anticipated list for years. Remember the initial release window that Atlus announced?

P5 initial release date

My, how time has flied by.

Waiting for this game was not quite so painful for me as it was for other fans, because my only other Persona experience is in Persona 4 Golden released for the PlayStation Vita. It is a fantastic game, and left me wanting to see more from the series. Since the announcement of Persona 5, I have been avoiding any and all online coverage of the game beyond the intro cinematic trailer that debuted what feels like years ago.

After sinking 100+ hours into P4G, I knew what I was getting into when I started up P5. The crazy premise for the protagonist to begin his wacky adventure, the enjoyable and fun cast of characters, the stylish menus – and man, are those menus stylish as hell – are all present in this latest entry. Even though the core formula is the same – level up your protagonist through battles, build your relationship with friends you meet along the way, and fuse collected personas – it does not feel at all repetitive, thanks to the simply astounding menu design that takes place. From the battle selection all the way to managing inventory items, pressing the directional buttons to navigate your way through boxes never before felt so satisfying.

P5 wallpaper

Characters and enemies all have a satisfying pop to them that helps their appearance stand out and give weight to each battle, and every action performed is straightforward and quick. The loading times outside of the initial game load are extremely short, and I have yet to run into any bugs or glitches, as expected. This game is polished to a fine sheen, and it shows very quickly upon starting up.

The plot device for the game’s narrative to progress forward is both captivating and very different from the quiet introduction of Persona 4’s story; as someone who thought that the pace of P4’s beginning was a bit sluggish, seeing P5 start out strong is an exciting change. Having played P4G before this game, working with the persona fusions is easier to understand and still a lot of fun. I can definitely understand where confusion for newcomers may lie, and it is good to see that the game does an even better job of explaining persona fusions this time around.

P5 steelbook cover

I wish I could say that I have been taking my time with this game, but that is not entirely the case. Upon Persona 5’s western release on April 4th, 2017, I dumped a disgusting amount of time playing the game within the first week. Since then, I have taken a step back and done other activities to step my life forward, but I’m still steadily trucking through this (so far) fantastic new entry in the Persona series.

“This is a really amazing time for video games.” I’ve heard that phrase uttered a few times during different podcasts I listen to over the past few weeks, and it could not be any more true. There’s truly something for everybody; and if you like Japanese games, this is a dream come true. I still have to make time to play (and save up money) for Nier: Automata, Resident Evil 7, Gravity Rush 2, Yakuza Zero, and Mario Kart 8: Deluxe. I’ll be posting here in the near future about my thoughts on other games that I’ll be playing, but if you want to let me know your thoughts on what you’ve been playing, I’d love to hear it. Or, if you want to give me your thoughts on my writing, that is also appreciated. I always look for new ways to improve.

Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful week.

  • Matt

Soundtrack Highlight – Persona 4 Golden “Snowflakes”

The recent surge of snow in my home town has me listening to some of my favorite gaming tunes focused on a Winter theme. One recent song that immediately came to mind is one of my favorite tracks from the soundtrack of Persona 4: Golden, known as “Snowflakes”. This is the music that plays anytime the player character walks around the game world during the Winter. It’s relaxed, smooth nature calms me down every time I start to hear the lyrics pop in. I could go on to mention the other stellar songs from this game’s soundtrack, but for now, I’ll leave a link to listen to Snowflakes, if you’re at all interested in hearing what I’m talking about. Try listening to it as you walk down the cold windy street, or drive along the snow-filled roads as your car heater starts to warm up.P4G

YouTube link is here. Enjoy! Thanks for reading.

Nostalgia Piece – Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune

Uncharted Drake's Fortune

It feels a bit odd to put the word “nostalgia” alongside the Uncharted series, doesn’t it? The first game released just seven years ago (technically eight, seeing as we’re in the beginning of 2015).

Wait a second. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune released seven years ago? Wow… It still feels like a relatively new game series, to me.

Anyway, I wanted to give some quick thoughts on Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune.

So! The first Uncharted game released on November 19th, 2007, exclusively on the PlayStation 3. This was back during the time when exclusive titles on the PS3 were slim-pickings, so the arrival of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune was a breath of fresh air to many PS3 players. At the time, I hadn’t picked up my own system yet to play this game, and it surprisingly didn’t intrigue me until an entire year later. In late December of 2008, I decided to buy my own PS3 and a copy of LittleBigPlanet and Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. LittleBigPlanet was the first game I booted up so that I could play a few levels with my family, but once I popped in Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune and heard that awesome up-lifting, adventure-themed menu tune, I knew I was in for something special.

The game starts off wonderfully, with a short cinematic to set up the scene. Nathan Drake and Elena Fisher are alone aboard a small boat in the ocean, holding the coffin to Sir Francis Drake’s remains. The premise is immediately similar to stories from the Indiana Jones series, one that focuses on history’s fortunes and how the enemies of Indy can suffer the consequences of these fortunes if not careful. The story of the first Uncharted game is one that I hold very dear, filled with memorable characters and a cast that performs spectacularly in each scene. As far as cinematics and storytelling go, I’m a huge fan of the way Uncharted 1 handles its script.

Now, on to the chunk of the game’s experience, and the one that most people nowadays have an issue with: the gameplay. Now, you may immediately wonder: How could a game like this, with semi-decent gunplay and platforming elements, be one of someone’s favorite titles from the last generation of gaming? Well, the answer is rather simple. “Nostalgia glasses”, as they call them. I recently went back and visited Uncharted 1, to relive the early gameplay scenes of the title. I was a bit surprised to find that the gameplay isn’t quite as engaging as it was back when I played the game in 2008; controls are a tiny bit sluggish, with shooting enemies feeling a bit… Off. Enemies duck and dive quite erratically in this game, as opposed to their not quite as frantic counterparts in future Uncharted titles. At first, it takes a bit to get accustomed to these enemies, but it doesn’t take long to predict their patterns and finish each battle.

Despite the mediocre gameplay by today’s standards, I greatly enjoyed my time with Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, both years ago and recently. The dialogue and cinematics are just as enjoyable as they ever were, with characters that I truly care about. While the gameplay leaves a bit to be desired, it still holds up well enough to keep me going through the adventure.

For anyone looking forward to the release of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, more often than not I’d assume you’ve played previous games in the series. If not, then I would definitely recommend playing through the trilogy. Despite the fact that many people recommend skipping the first game and jumping right in to the second, I think the journey through Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune is well worth it. Thanks for reading!

  • Matt