I was just recently idly questioning whether we’d ever see another real WipEout once again when I chose to download the Omega Collection by means of in reverse compatibility on PlayStation 5. This caring collection of Studio Liverpool’s last 3 entries in among PlayStation’s the majority of renowned series may be revealing its age – you can trace the roots here back to the series’ PSP trips, and sometimes they definitely reveal – however that does not stop it from being as superb to play today as it’s ever been, specifically in all the Omega Collection’s 4K/60fps splendor. It’s practically as excellent as futuristic racers get.

Apologies for beginning an evaluation of one video game while speaking about another, however there’s no other method when it concerns Pacer actually; this is a futuristic anti-grav racer that heads out of its method to stimulate memories of WipEout. As it has every right to, viewing as a few of the initial group behind its advancement, back when it was still called Formula Fusion prior to its 2019 rebranding, dealt with WipEout 3. Pacer leans into the golden era of Sony’s series, recruiting The Designers Republic and Warp Records, 2 names as associated with the bleep scene of the 90s as WipEout itself.

So yes, Pacer feels familiar, which is no bad thing at all. You’re running deliver to ship at speeds in excess of 1000kph, developing to the near-impossible-to-handle elite class from the beginning ranks of the F3000 class. There’s a good little nod there, if you’re of an age to feel a rush of fond memories when listening to Autechre, to the F1 feeder class that utilized to pound the streets of Birmingham through the late 80s, and the SuperPrix circuit seems like it’d slot well into Pacer someplace. This is a scuzzier, downbeat view of the future, more in keeping with the similarity WipEout 2048 than the more beautiful earlier entries.

Take Hyderabad’s stomach-churning rollercoaster of a trip, dipping rapidly from the bronzed paradises down into below ground street markets. It’s thrilling things, and the track style here is generally exceptional, the 14 circuits available dishing out a cool balance of circulation and friction. Flow’s something that Pacer succeeds, in reality – 60fps is a basic throughout all platforms, and the numerous crafts, when you acclimatise yourself, course like liquid through the difficult cambers and stomach-turning dips and climbs up. In the hand, this is a great example of the futuristic racer.

It’s not precisely peerless, mind – Redout can summon a much better sense of speed, and there’s more depth to be discovered in WipEout Omega Collection’s handling. So much of that is down to how Pacer’s anti-g racers are disappointingly beholden to gravity to a higher degree than their peers, the crafts remaining adhered to the track and successfully cutting the pitch control that offers WipEout its subtlety. Pacer’s never ever rather as pleasing, then, though you’ll discover its twists somewhere else.

Like its weapon system, for example, which gets rid of the randomised Mario Kart design pick-ups and changes them with customisable loadouts, with those on-track pads being utilized to charge your products. It’s a cool concept, a little weakened by its execution – Pacer’s front-end is an unwieldy thing, with a little handful of bugs included to boot, which can make customisation a discomfort instead of satisfaction, and on-track the weapons do not rather bring the thunder, with limp cannons and rockets leading to weak surges that make the battle side of Pacer rather underwhelming.

The range of modes, nevertheless, is anything however. There’s a profession mode (which is generous albeit weakened by some wooly style that can make it tough to track goals), served by straight races, speed laps, removal occasions, even a remarkably reliable spin on the fight royale in Storm Mode, where you’re racing to keep in the eye of a fatal tempest. There’s Flowmentum, too, a riff on WipEout’s Zone mode where your ship gets much faster every gate you pass. It’s where I’ve typically discovered the heart of WipEout, and where I discovered the heart of Pacer – where its speed and smoothness comes forward, and where you’re gradually pressed into your own zone, assisted along by pulsing beats and whipcrack 303 basslines (if there’s one location where Pacer peacefully surpasses WipEout its in its soundtrack, which is different, deep and likewise as customisable as the crafts themselves).

2

It’s where you’ll discover the heart of the category, even, and Pacer provides on that front and after that some. It’s slightly aggravating that on one a lot of events it fluffs its lines, that it can never ever rather discover its own voice, and there’s no questioning there are much better futuristic racers right away to hand. None of that stops Pacer being a great example of the kind, though – even if it can’t surpass WipEout, it at least does its memory justice.