Tuesday, 03 July 2018 11:08

Wreckfest Review

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Developed by Bugbear and published by THQ Nordic, Wreckfest is a recent release that spent quite some time in early access. Many wrote it off as just another failed early access title, but with its release, Wreckfest has really turned things around. The title promises a completely unique type of racing experience.

Where most racers discourage collisions and crashes, this game actively encourages or even requires them. As the title suggests, it’s all about carnage, destruction, and spectacular damage. Wreckfest has a lot of different cars and other vehicles that the player can race, dent, and all out crumble into a bent mess of metal.

Wait, Vehicles?

The broad selection of vehicles ranges from common racing cars to rare and beautiful specialty cars. Whether you are a fan of American, European, or Asian cars, there is something for you here. The customization options of the game are more than solid, and include various colors, decals, stickers, and more. Wreckfest goes beyond that and also allows players to upgrade the quality of their car’s body armor and parts.

While the cars are the definite focus of the title and there are a lot of customization options, you can also race and ride on lawn mowers, for example. Offbeat races and competitions like that really set this game apart from others of its type.

Parts, Parties and Wreckage

While this is a racing title, that is only part of the appeal and not a very big part either. It’s all about the crashes. One of the main features of the game is the soft-body physics and crash and damage simulations. Bent metal, crashed glass, scratched paint, and shattered mirrors are all par for the course. Speaking of the course(s), Wreckfest features several of them. While they aren’t the main focus of the game (which is apparent at times, as they are limited), they are well-featured and pose a decent challenge.

The real fun in the game comes from racing others. While the AI itself is all right and better than in many similar games, playing against others is definitely better. Destroying a friend’s (or stranger’s) car moments before they cross the finishing line is extremely satisfying, not only because you watch them spin off the track but also because of the realism and beauty of the crash mechanics.

Destruction Goes Boom, Bugs Go Vroom

Wreckfest uses music and sounds extremely well. Not only is the music itself great, but the engine sounds, environmental noises and, of course, the screeches of tortured metal leave little to be desired. Occasionally, during the beginnings of races, the sounds do stutter, but all in all, the game is solid in this regard.

The game is almost bug-free. While users complained about several issues when the game was in early access, there is now nary a trace left of them. The game runs steadily on the average system, even with the large amount of cars and debris that often fill the screen.

Overall, there is very little to complain about. In its finished state, Wreckfest runs smoothly, is well-optimized, and offers all the fun of destruction one could hope for. Where other games penalize for coming in contact with opponents, many races in this title either have destroying others as a win-condition or at least as a stretch goal. In other words: While winning a race is the main goal, the game may also ask the player to wreck a certain number of opponents. Often that turns out to be more fun and more of a challenge than actually winning the races.

The Price of Destruction

At full price, this title isn’t exactly a steal, but in a genre as saturated as car-racing, it nevertheless manages to carve out its own little spot where it fits well. While other demolition derby-type games do exist, and have been around since the days of the PS2, Wreckfest is a solid contender with few direct competitors.

In addition to offering plenty of replayability with multiplayer mode, the single-player races of the game have plenty to offer. In other words, even with the large price tag, you’ll get plenty of enjoyment out of this racer. This is in no small part because of the customizations that are possible and the unusual and original play modes. If you ever feel the need to race lawnmowers, school buses, or other vehicles, this is the game for you.


The Verdict: Excellent

Wreckfest runs well and doesn’t demand a top-line system; it runs well on lower-end PCs, which is a pleasant change from other, similar games. The title pays a surprising amount of attention to detail and offers unusual gimmicks like special vehicles and interesting customization options.There is little to criticize. Phenomenal physics, fun driving, and a robust soundtrack make for a great racing experience that isn’t about racing as much as it is about causing as much damage and as many collisions as possible.

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Mel Hawthorne

Mel is a London-based copywriter that has been writing about video games for a few years now. After growing up in Vienna, Austria she followed her dreams and moved to London. Said dreams took her through a few different jobs (which included working as a web developer, shopkeeper and translator) before she settled on what she really wanted to do – periodically anger video game fans by expressing her opinions on games through various online publications. When she’s not writing about video games, she’s probably playing them... or walking her dog in a park. Since that depends largely on the English weather, Mel has plenty of time to indulge in her favourite games. These include but are not limited to Ark: Survival Evolved, Skyrim, GTA V, and oddly enough, Amnesia: Memories. She loves Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. She thinks Star Trek is way better than Star Wars and isn’t afraid to admit it – Live long and prosper!


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