There is a number of racing games released over the years. Each have their own quirks, be it ultra realistic simulation like Gran Turismo, high octane and over the top multiplayer racers like Onrush, car combat games like Twisted Metal and the fun arcade style games like Burnout. There are many fans of each of these franchises and some cater to several styles of play, but there has been a noticeable gap in the market for car crunching carnage in recent years. This is where Wreckfest comes in, as it finally gets a console release.
Many games in the racing genre charge the player with coming first in the fastest way possible, while discouraging reckless driving. This is true in your simulation style racers, where damage to the cars can hinder performance or knock you out of a race. The magic about Wreckfest is you can race hard and fast, but ploughing into other cars or parts of the environment is almost as fun as the racing itself. Wreckfest has its DNA from games like Destruction Derby and FlatOut, which saw you compete in races and causing as much havoc along the way as possible. Wreckfest is essentially a spiritual successor to those and benefits from modern technical innovations in graphics and of course, physics!
Starting out as a physics based car project by Bugbear Entertainment, where the world was affected as much as your car was, Wreckfest (known as Next Car Game at the time) was successfully funded on Kickstarter. It then took several years to come together to what it is today, a racer at heart, with focus on vehicular combat and all-around fun. Today you can race on a varying amount of standard circuit tracks, dirt roads, racing bowls, figure eights and of course, destruction derby style bowls. You can play through a hefty single-player campaign, which sees you ride and drive cars, trucks, combine harvesters and even a motorised couch. As you progress, you unlock more vehicles and parts, that you can use to upgrade your chosen method of transport. Points are awarded for your destructive behaviour, be it shunting a car, to running it off the road. These points are uses to level up and gain even more upgrades.
So with all this car craziness, how does it feel to play? Well Wreckfest feels fantastic to control. Cars are varying, depending on the type of car you have, upgrades you’ve added and even the setup you choose to ride with. Make the car a bit stiffer, you can’t turn as easy on those tight corners, but you’re able to take a hit from an opponent. Feel every bump and scrape, as you always feel in control of the car. The different surfaces can see you slide and skid in muck filled tracks, to sticking on tarmac on the more traditional tracks. Your car also has some variables, such as tyres, engine and transmission, which can suffer or fail on you depending on the damage you sustain in a race. Want to go off-road? No problem, as the game allows a certain liberties in this regard. Run your competition through a wooden fence and see it splinter into bits the adorn the track. Plough into a tyre wall and see them bounce around the stage and screen, as you careen off the track and struggle to get back to racing because you’re watching the madness unfold.
Surprisingly, Wreckfest holds up pretty well in the graphics department on consoles. Cars shatter into bits when hit, many of the worlds objects act realistically, with walls cracking, tyre walls bouncing across the screen and wooden signs or fences splintering when hit. The track becomes full of pieces of cars and debris during each lap and I saw little to no slow down you would expect to see with such a physical world. The more taxing destruction derby style events handle great too, with as many as twenty four vehicles hurtling towards each other to cause maximum debris explosions. Online modes can suffer a bit in lag and slow down, but has been getting better with updates.
Overall, this is a game the is fun throughout and a surprisingly good racing experience. Has plenty of variety in regards to tracks and modes, so stick on your favourite tunes in the background and rev those engines. Wreckfest is certainly worth a buy if you are bored of the stern, realistic style racers and has plenty oomph over arcade racers, with its destruction and reputability.
Wreckfest is available now on PS4 and Xbox One, with the PC version getting all the single-player updates available in the console version via a patch.
A Smashing Good Time
Wreckfect injects some hard hitting fun into the racing genre. Fills the destructive gap left by the likes of Burnout. Worth a play if your bored of standard racing titles!