Wreckfest - Xbox One Review

Wreckfest embraces arcade action, spectacular crashes and a whole lot of variety in its quest for carnage. While Wreckfest is hardly the first game to try and capitalize on a combination of crashing and racing, it strikes a better balance than most and has turned into a favorite guilty pleasure of mine since first firing it up.

When I first fired up the game and found myself in a demolition derby using high-speed riding lawnmowers, I knew that this was going to be something different. It was almost immediately clear that the development team put a lot of thought into this title, which makes sense given its long-gestating start (it went by a different name dating back to 2013 when it was a successful Kickstarter). Instead of focusing on hyper realism, or light cosmetic damage, Wreckfest is all about the over-the-top damage.

You earn points from spinning out your opponents, causing them damage and more. Some of the events are set up like typical races where you are pitted against a field of opponents and weave through tracks or long oval routes to see who finishes first. Others pit you in a derby style carnage where you are trying to cause the most wrecks. Fender benders are not only allowed, but highly encouraged. Scraping paint is one thing, but you can see cars go airborne, flipped over, huge chunks of metal torn off and left flapping in the wind and more. This damage is not simply cosmetic however, as there is a very real impact on how your vehicle performs as well. Turning and speed are directly impacted, and if you damage two tires too badly, or your engine, your event is finished.

This kind of arcade style racing appeals to me quite a bit. I have never done well with ultra realistic games like the NASCAR ones where too much contact has you disqualified. I just find them dull and frustrating. While there are no weapons here like you might find in completely unrealistic racers like Crossout or Mario Kart, I appreciate titles like Forza for their willingness to let me race a bit more aggressively.

If it was just about the arcade style racing, Wreckfest would still be a blast - but it would likely be shallow and grow old quickly. Thankfully, that is not the case here as there are numerous types of events (as mentioned above), plenty of different circuits to participate in, and a whole garage waiting to be filled up with cars purchased via your earnings. These cars can be tuned both mechanically and cosmetically, giving a nice sense of ownership over the cars you take out onto the tracks. That these details are then so well translated to the damage, from subtle items such as a hanging side-view mirror, to more obvious and major damage such as a hood flapping up and down in front of me (which makes the first person view both fascinating and annoying at times) as I hit bumps, the carnage is utterly rewarding.

I found the gameplay and the progression systems to be very entertaining overall, and they have kept me coming back for more. Bite-sized bits of action are always easy to jump in and out of and even when I was not doing well (racing games are not my strongest of suits in the video game world), I almost never really found myself frustrated with the results. That is a good sign, because it indicates that I was having a good time along the way.

While the on-track action is so enjoyable, there are a few areas where Wreckfest did leave me somewhat lacking, however. For one, the career mode is a little bland. I am okay with not having a completely useless story I suppose, but it does feel as though a bit more effort could have been put in here. Also on the technical side, I just have to say that the loading of stages takes for-ev-errrrr. I really like the bite-sized events. That makes them quick and fun to play, but seems disproportionate to the loading times, which I have clocked at over a minute sometimes, on my Xbox One X.

Those quibbles aside, Wreckfest is just a good deal of fun. At the end of the year here at Chalgyr's Game Room, we have a variety of awards and one we have had in the past is our favorite Guilty Pleasure. Right now, Wreckfest is easily leading the way for that one in my book.

Game Information

Xbox One
THQ Nordic
Action, Racing
Single Player, Online Multiplayer
Other Platform(s):
PlayStation 4, PC

Provided by Publisher

Article by Nick


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