Wreckfest – Review – A Smashing Good Time

Wreckfest has officially released to the Xbox One and Playstation 4 after years of development hell. Which normally would mean the game will be a shell of what it could be. This time around, not so much. If you are a fan of racing games and are tired of following the rules. Wreckfest is where you belong. A racing game that takes you away from the rules and regulations of Forza or GT Sport. You will be driving old beaters around hand crafted courses with no regard for how you get to first. As long as you are the one who gets there.

The Concept:

Wreckfest is a demolition derby racing game. Made by the same studio that brought you the Flatout series. Keeping with the tradition of destroying vehicles and bending bumpers, this version of over the top racing is more grounded then the previous games. Don’t let that make you think for a second this game doesn’t have some serious crazy going on in each and every race. You drive everything from old American muscle cars to school buses or lawn mowers. Working your way through a series of races to earn money and experience. Money buys new cars and parts for your car while XP gets you more unlocks to progress your single player game and unlock free upgrades for your vehicles.

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The Cars:

There is a long list of vehicles to drive in Wreckfest. Mostly you will be sorting though some of the classic banger cars you see in this style of destination derby racing. None of the cars are officially licensed , however any good car guru will know the look of an old Jag or 80’s era Camaro. Each car has it’s own unique handling characteristics. Heavy beasts made to plow through the competition will be slow and hard to manage in the corners. Where the smaller cars are light and nimble. Don’t get caught napping though or those larger vehicles will flex their weight and make short work of your compact ride. The vehicles feel planted yet have the soft suspension you would find in an unmodified old car. Making the cars fun to drive and satisfying to master. Cars can be modified to a higher class with basic vehicle upgrades. You can increase the damage a car can take with armor mods and even throw on some decoration to make it your own.

The cars are just the beginning of the list. There are a whole list of off the wall vehicles that you can take out and destroy! There are School buses, Combine Tractors, RV’s, lawn mowers and ever a couch! You heard that right, you can race a couch. Why? Who cares. These special vehicles come as challenge races. Beat the target for the challenge and the insane vehicle is yours to cause mass destruction with as you please.

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The Tracks:

Nothing says demolition derby like a good figure of 8. This game gives you those and more. Between the oval courses to actual circuit racing. You can find just about any type of track to suit your destructive wants. There are some extra special tracks that I will leave out. Just so you can enjoy them yourself. The courses are well detailed with some coming with multiple versions of the course. Some tracks come in all dirt and other very from some dirt and some tarmac. Each surface handles differently, so you may be sliding in the dirt, but there will be a decent amount of grip in the tarmac.

Then you leave the track and take to the demolition derby courses. Large open areas where the only thing to do is wreck. Each layout is different. Some with jumps and obstacles others just open fields waiting for the death of many vehicles.

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The Physics:

There is no way a whole review can go by without talking about the bonkers physics at work here. The body damage that cars can take is ridiculous. Vehicles bend and give with devastating delight. Parts come off and remain littered around the course throughout the race. There are two levels of damage. Normal, which makes the cars a little tougher, so although your outside looks like complete hell. The car will keep running for a while longer. Simulation damage on the other hand will make cars take damage like the real deal and parts you would rather keep on, come off. Tires are one such part, driving around with three wheels looks hilarious, but losing a second wrecks your car and your race. Damage is given based on how you hit your opponent and XP is awarded for skilled hits, spins and wrecks.

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The Gameplay:

There are the standard game modes, Single player, Multiplayer and Custom. The single player is your simple race/reward system. The more damage you do the more XP and money you receive. This results in unlocking more single player race series and challenges. In the single player, there are many race types. Banger racing is your normal win the race style series racing. Where special edition races can range from being chased by a combine while you are driving a lawn mower to having to destroy as many opponents with a school bus before the end of a race. Not a single race mode disappoints and the races are never the same. Multiplayer is currently comprised of pre-made lobbies of different disciplines. There isn’t much to say here other then it is racing with the general public. Private lobbies are in the works, until then you can invite your friends to a public lobby and raise hell on the track. Custom is a single player make it yourself mode where you can create your own race types. This is what I believe will be the private match layout when it comes out.

wreckfest gameplay

The Judgment:

I played Wreckfest for about two days straight. Both with a wheel and with a controller. The game has a few glitches and needs for a patch or two. There have been some issues with getting the game to load here and there. These are your typical bugs on release. The game overall is fantastic. It’s a perfect fit for a destruction derby game. In a world filled with sim racing games, this takes the serious racing and gives it the fun of stock car racing, without the consequence for trading a lot of paint. Wreckfest gives the nostalgia of great games like Demolition Derby or Test Drive: Eve of Destruction (highly underrated). I say bring on the wrecks!

Final Score: 8.5

Check out the release trailer below:

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