Obliteracers is the newest entry into the chaotic party vehicular combat genre, think Mario Kart meets Twisted Metal, but with 16 players and rockets instead of turtle shells or more open maps layouts, but with a few welcome twists. While the PC version supports up to 16 players via couch co-op, the PlayStation 4 version is limited to four local players; still with the amount of chaos that generally ensues with each race, 4 players can get quite lively.
Rather than simply racing around a track, completing laps, you essentially drive around a track trying to blow things up. In truth I often felt like it was a linear interpretation of one of the PlayStation One's best games ... Twisted Metal. Obliteracers is a great addition to a gamer's library, especially if that gamer is one that regularly hosts game night. A refreshingly chaotic twist, if a bit repetitive after a handful of games, even with the various game modes and match tweaks.
Do not get me wrong, Obliteracers is fun, it can just become tedious after a handful of rounds. Mind you, that could be because the majority of my game time was spent in either the single player "career" mode, or playing with random yahoos via online play. In truth it is far, far more fun when you are playing with gamers that are sitting in the same room as you; the online play or the career modes just feel ... empty. Maybe it is the fact that while you have 3 or 4 others in the same room, there is a certain level of chaos that is missed with standard online play or single player career/match play. There are a few things that you can do ti increase the case, specifically while playing Survival mode (last racer "standing" is the winner) if you add the Pinball modifier (which cause racers to comically bounce off of each other) and happen to be playing on a snow/ice map, things get real bonkers, real quick.
Since some of these modes do not allow for respawning there is a gimmick that you can keep turned on that allows dead players to continue screwing other players. When you die and are in a non-respawning game, and if the option is turned on, you take control of a targeting reticle (that racers can see) and can lock onto living racers and fire missiles at them. It is, frankly, cheap, as it normally takes two hits from the various weapons to kill a player, while lock-on missile takes only one hit to kill a player. In some cases it can speed up long matches, but it is incredibly cheap and can certainly result in some low-level griefing. Needless to say, I am not a fan. Speaking of weapons things can get a bit ... strenuous if you have a full game, as there are only 4 pickups at a time.
When you have 16 people fighting for those 4 pickups people are bound to get left out and will not be getting weapons. That can be mitigated by turning on the modifier that allows users to ram other players to steal their weapons, but still ... only 4 items displayed at a time means everyone bunches together and the first player to get an AOE (area of effect) weapon can, and will take out the majority of the players. Another fairly odd, and at times utterly infuriating aspect of Obliteracers is that if you fall behind far enough, you die (think those old 2D sidescrollers that auto-scroll; if the screen "passes" you, you die), with 16 people piling together it is incredibly easy to fall behind, especially if you start in the back row at the starting line.
There is not much depth to Obliteracers, though there are dozens of modifiers, a healthy number of different racers to chose from (all racers are equal, they are simply cosmetic changes), and plenty of maps to race on. While it can be a good time playing single player with bots, or even some limited chaos with other online players, where it really shines is in its couch co-op ... and even then, that is only for short bursts. While there are a few dozen modifiers that you can add/remove before a match, many are slight iterations of eachother and once you have experienced about a dozen of them, you experience them all. However, that does not lend itself to why Obliteracers feels repetitive as a 'party' game; it lies in the fact that the core concept of every. single. match. is the same. Party games like Mario Party have short mini-games that vary and can be played in quick succession and while matches are quick in Obliteracers, the objective is the same; blow everyone else up. Sure, Counterstrike is a similar concept, except it is not based on the chaotic party style, but true competitive gameplay.
Obliteracers, while fun, seems shallow in a handful of departments; for one, there is the fact that there are about 10 or so weapons, which all get really old, really fast (most matches devolve into trying to "push" racers off of the map). Another is that there is no real "race" in the game as these are essentially linear, track based arena-style matches. Essentially what a MOBA would be if it were one circular lane where all you do is go forward and hit the attack button. As an on-rails racer, Obliteracers fails (or really as a racer at all), but where it excels is in the fact that you and three friends can sit at the same couch, scream and yell at each other for about an hour or two, and then move onto different things. While shallow, Obliteracers is a quick fix for chaos and short spurts of fun.
Article by Robert