The racing scene on consoles and PC is a congested sector right now. Gamers have a large selection of arcade, simulation and futuristic themed racers to choose from. What we have not had in a while, is a good ole fashion destruction derby style game where chaos and mayhem are king. I believe we finally have a spiritual successor to the Destruction Derby series that I put countless hours into on the original PlayStation. Dare I say, this might very well be one of the most enjoyable racers this gen.
Hellions, Start Your Engines
Two signs of a great game is when you find it incredibly difficult to put down and when hours go by like minutes while playing. Both of these boxes were checked from the very first race in Wreckfest. The developers at Bugbear must have poured their heart and soul into this release, as its so finely tuned and the variety of tracks are exceptional. There are no licensed vehicles here, but its not needed. What we have are huge muscle cars, 4-bangers, coupes, vans, wagons , hatchbacks, trucks and much more. In the end, they are still modeled in great detail and in the likeness of some of the most iconic automotive vehicles in history. There may not be a badge in place, but you’ll know what it is when you see it.
Players can race in the career mode, against others online or select specific events that’s great for picking your favorite tracks. I really enjoyed the latter. I would warm up by going head to head in a crop field, where the last car running wins. After a few rounds of that, I’d hit some of the road courses, particularly the ones that intersected. Blowing through these or jumping over the intersection via a ramp never stopped putting a smile on my face. On the Xbox One X, performance is fantastic. It’s pretty impressive when you factor in the dizzying amount of physics and effects taking place at such a frantic pace.
I can’t recall where losing a few spots in a race was as equally rewarding due to the carnage displayed. Smoke, tires, debris and sheet metal fly through the air and the sound produced by each impact are equally felt. Speaking of sound, the game’s soundtrack is one of my favorites this year. The mixture of hard rock and metal featured in Wreckfest pairs perfectly with the automotive violence on screen. Crank it up and smash some fools.
Different Terrain and Tuning Options
The variety continues here with different types of terrain and locations to race at. The car will feel different as you powerdrift into and out of a corner on a dirt track, compared to when winding down the tarmac of a road course. You can tune your car prior to each race for improved performance. Gamers can adjust factors such as suspension, differentials, gear ratios and brakes.
The controls are simply on point. Utilizing your brakes initially for an upcoming turn and then hitting your e-brake for a controlled slide never gets old. There is a science behind it though and strategy is required to win races. The tracks are demolished by the final lap, showcasing the battle scars of each hit, roll and impact taken during the race.
“And yes there is a Death Loop in place. Why you may ask…(first off how dare you), because it is freaking awesome and we need more of this in our lives.”
Conclusion and Score
Wreckfest is one of those games that until I got my hands on it, I had no idea how much I missed this style of white knuckle racing. Bugbear absolutely nailed the physics, controls, effects and track design. Every race and event is a ferocious free for all. It’s like driving through a tornado of metal, smoke and debris where the only option is to keep your foot floored, regardless of what’s ahead.