Review | Wreckfest (Console Version)
It’s been a lengthy six year residence on Steam’s early access. A year and some considerable changes with its official PC release. Bugbear Entertainment’s derby racing game, Wreckfest has finally made its way over to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It comes at full speed with an incredible physics engine to boot, and a whole lot of destruction to experience.
Wreckfest’s career mode consists of a variety of championship racing cups and demolition derbies. Progressing through each one make them available to you, much like other racing games. The end of each event provides you with XP and shop credits to upgrade your vehicle or to purchase a new one.
The cars in the game are nothing to go crazy over, but each provides different advantages tailored to your driving style. The starter cars aren’t very fast or durable (in my first derby of the game, I drove a lawnmower), but that will give you something to work towards. The first couple of cars were easy to obtain after about three to four races. With that in mind, upgrades for each car is what really spends your credits. You can upgrade your tires, suspension, engine, brakes, etc. If you really want to have the best vehicle to take on the competition online, you’re going to do a lot of the career events multiple times.
Where Wreckfest shines is in its soft-collision physics system and realistic driving. What Bugbear has done here is depict real-time damage to your vehicle that affects your driving as it progresses. Part of the in-game HUD allows you to see what parts of your car are damaged. This is paired along with a health bar to notify you when your cars about to be totaled so you’ll know whether or not to go after other players. Dealing damage to other player vehicles is incredibly satisfying. You’re notified every time you destroy someone else’s vehicle with an XP boost.
There’s a slight learning curve as the vehicles are a bit difficult to handle in the beginning due to the realistic driving. However, after playing and learning to hit the brakes efficiently, winning became a lot more feasible. Players also have the option between two damage settings; Normal and Realistic. Normal grants players a little more leeway as far as car damage and durability. While realistic mode allows players to experience damage to their car that’ll react and function in real-time as it takes a beating. I found that the less conventional vehicles were a pain to handle. It’s safe to say that I wasn’t driving the school bus around a whole lot. It feels clunky, but the novelty was always there.
The AI in the Wreckfest career mode is nothing to underestimate. The drivers in Career mode don’t really allow much room for error, so thinking on your feet and doing your best to minimalize car damage is optimal. Even on the easiest difficulty, I found myself finishing in 9th place because an AI decided to veer me off of the road at the last second. The game is difficult but nowhere near enough to the point where it invokes frustration or affects the gameplay quality. The game’s online connectivity is a lot better than what I’ve experienced with racing games in the past. Minimal connection dropouts and no ghosting through other players vehicles, which really made me happy.
The game’s UI is efficient in the sense that everything is where it needs to be and is easy to access. Sadly, it’s just not very pleasing to look at. The game’s soundtrack is decked out with a variety of over-the-top EDM, Hardcore, and Ambient pop tracks. They really compliment the game’s fun yet dangerous vibe.
Wreckfest on consoles does its job decidedly well, with a slew of different races, derbies, and cars to choose from. Fans of the Flatout (Bugbear’s spiritual predecessor to Wreckfest), Need for Speed, or literally any racing game, in general, will need to check this one out. Realistic racing with a brilliant learning curve and destruction as far as the eye can see. No other racing game on a console that’s dropped this year so far has what’s been put together here.
Final Score: 8.5 out of 10