If you’re a fan of racing games there hasn’t been the biggest variety this generation to choose from. The Forza franchise has been the leader for sure and you have Gran Turismo and Need for Speed still going as well. But let me ask you, do any of those racing games let you race on a lawnmower while trying to wreck your competitors? No they most certainly do not and that is just one reason you may want to check out THQ Nordic and Bugbear Entertainment’s newest game Wreckfest. The Finnish developer is the same one who brought us the first two FlatOut games and Wreckfest further builds on what those games were doing back in the day.
Wreckfest has been available for some time on PC as an early access title but the game is finally complete now and has fully launched on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One as well. The general premise of Wreckfest is to wreck and destroy the other cars while avoiding having yours destroyed. I first dove into the Career mode where you can play through five different championships: Regional Juniors, National Amateurs, Challenges, Pro Invitationals and World Masters. It’s in this mode where you’ll first encounter those lawnmowers I mentioned at the start of this review. I honestly wasn’t expecting it and it just made me wonder what other kind of crazy events this game might have in store for me. As you complete events you’ll earn points that then unlock the next set of events. Some events are just about destroying the other vehicles in the arena while others are more straight up races.
You can also earn credits to unlock more cars and upgrades for them as you play. You can customize the look of the vehicles and tune them as well with the upgrades you unlock. There are over 20 vehicles in total and it’s really up to you to decide which is the best to take into any given event. Want to roll with your stock car that is a bit faster or would you rather opt for a bigger truck that can dish out more damage at the expense of its speed. Wreckfest gives you choices instead of limitations. When you get done with the Career mode and you want more, you can set up custom races on all of the tracks in the game. Wreckfest also has online multiplayer support but no local multiplayer sadly. You can use the Quick Match feature to jump into an online match or pick from the modes yourself. There is Special that consists of some of the more wacky vehicles like the lawnmower, Mixed Events, and Derby only or Racing only. You can also take the vehicles you have upgraded in the Career mode into the online modes which can be both a good and a bad thing. For instance someone just starting the game that may jump into the online mode could find themselves at a disadvantage to those who have put significant time into their vehicle upgrades.
I’m kind of repeating myself a bit here again but what I really like the most about Wreckfest is just how different it is from most other car games this generation. No other game lets me compete against 20+ opposing vehicles with the goal being to wreck them all. Plus you get to drive school buses, lawnmowers, sofa’s with wheels on them and other crazy and out there vehicles you wouldn’t expect to be in control of. The game is challenging too with sometimes being a little too much I feel. The AI here is very good and one moment you might find yourself doing really well only for one of them to deliver a blow to you and ruin the entire event for you. Of course when it’s you doing it to them you end up feeling pretty good about yourself.
The graphics aren’t the best in the game but it is kind of understandable given the amount of cars on the track and the amount of destruction going on. While the environments could look better the cars themselves and the damage models are great and the in-game Photo mode can be used to capture some really great moments of destruction. In terms of performance it held a pretty steady framerate on the Pro but the load times can be a bit long. They really stand out when taking part in some of the events that are quite short as you’ll finish the race quickly and be forced to endure another long load screen. Hopefully maybe these can be shortened in a post-launch patch. For music the game features some pretty good rock music which is exactly what I would prefer to listen to playing a game such as this. The trophy list for the game is doable with 21 of them in total to earn. You’ll have to conquer all of the career challenges, reach rank 50, earn a bunch of money, win 20 online races, and drive a certain amount of distance on the lawnmower to earn that Platinum.
Wreckfest isn’t the prettiest racing game around but it is certainly the most destructive. The cars and damage models are very realistic and I really never got tired of trying to smash apart all of my opponents. The long load times are a bit of a bummer and I wish the game had local multiplayer support but I wouldn’t let either of those faults steer you away from smashing your way to victory in this game.
*Wreckfest is out now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Reviewed on a PlayStation 4 Pro. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.