As someone who is not necessarily drawn to the genre of racing games - most likely due to the fact that I’m just not very good at them - any games with racing features are, by default, compared to the races of Grand Theft Auto Online, or even Mario Kart 64. Fortunately, Wreckfest comes as a delightful surprise that successfully toes the line between a classic racing title for racing enthusiasts, while catering to a more casual audience more interested in wreaking havoc on opponents.
Start Your Engines
Originally released for the PC in June 2018, Wreckfest couples racing with demolition derbies, allowing players to return to the good old days of the fast and wild arcade racing genre with over-the-top crashes and fun destruction. Porting the game to consoles was always part of the plan, but was delayed from late 2018 until August 2019 to allow developer, Bugbear Entertainment, more time to polish off the game for the higher benchmarks required by consoles. The good news is that it was well worth the wait.
Wreckfest is downright fun on the PlayStation 4. A variety of game modes await, with a single-player career campaign that is surprisingly robust, including five championship circuits with different types of events to take part in, such as lap-based races and demolition derbies (the very first of which features riding lawnmowers, which is far more fun than it might sound). As you compete and earn points, additional challenges and races become unlocked.
Racing in Wreckfest feels great, too. The overall physics of the game make each vehicle’s handling easy enough for casual racers, while being delicate enough for well-versed racers to take advantage of while on the track. Don’t get too comfortable, though. After all, this isn’t Gran Turismo.
The focus on destruction carries over from the derby to the racetrack, adding a new dynamic to players’ racing strategies. Sure, you could do your best to avoid the other racers, but you likely won’t get that same respect from your opponents, who would love nothing more than to see you spin out of control off the track thanks to their “loving” nudge. Your best bet is to use your opponent’s position to your advantage. Sideswiping the rival car next to you while taking a turn at full speed is much more successful for staying in control and in position - not to mention hilarious to watch your opponent barrel roll off of the track in the rear-view mirror.
Vehicle customization options are pretty in-depth, allowing players to upgrade the internal guts of their engine, outside armor, as well as purely cosmetic attributes.
There are a few minor misses with Wreckfest, such as long load times and the occasional screen freeze here and there, but these are issues that could more than likely be patched in future updates.
Back To The Derby
It’s really no surprise that Wreckfest was the top-reviewed game in the month it was released on PC last year. The chaotic fun is great for racing fan and non-fan alike, offering plenty of replayability with its online multiplayer modes. Wreckfest successfully brings the return of the destruction derby racing genre that has been lacking for some time.
4.5 Out Of 5 Stars
A PS4 review copy of Wreckfest was provided to TheGamer for this review. Wreckfest is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
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