BUMP AND GRIND.
AS CONSOLES HAVE become more capable technically and gaming has become a far more serious affair, the idea that we might play just to have fun is fading and, instead, it seems we’re always requiring some imagined reason to press start. Racing games have suffered the most in that regard. That’s in part what makes Wreckfest so refreshing. This game doesn’t ignore the fact that the average racing game player is looking at opposing racers not as rivals to bypass but as tools for ricocheting their own car around a sharp bend without slowing down. It harkens back to a time when Destruction Derby was the game to beat.
The star of the show is the physics system. This adds weight to the driving itself, and as you’re careening around the track, colliding into things, you’ll certainly feel it. Too many shunts and you’ll find you’re steering ever so slightly to one side. While hitting immovable objects does seem to punish you excessively, for the most part, it is well balanced especially considering the availability of various vehicle upgrades that offer up a little progression.
Admittedly, that is where the game suffers a little. A series of uninventive menus are all that tie the disparate circuit race or derby events together, and while the Driveclub- style bonus objectives provide enough within each race to get you playing in a certain way, they mostly feel tacked-on. For a game that’s as celebratory of the chaos and excitement of this breed of racing, a set of staid menu clicks and unoriginal in-event objectives and XP gains shouldn’t be all that’s used to push proceedings along. We’re not asking for much, but Dirt 2 eschewed its suitable X Games vibe masterfully — even that would have been enough to tie everything together. Instead, it becomes apparent that this is just another racer where all you’re doing is going through the motions: ticking off objectives, filling up arbitrary bars and collecting credits for unlocks. Mechanically, there’s a great racer here and one that is well worth playing, but four years of early access hasn’t resolved a dull progression system and its limited content holds Wreckfest back from being entirely worth its price tag.
It’s certainly got the clout to look great on any sort of machine, with a good amount of variety in the stages.
Nothing beats the visual thrill of colliding (purposefully) with a stack of tyres.