The remastered Wreckfest for PS5 is an absurdly fun, destructive title that disregards the idea of “friendly competition” for a more chaotic experience.
Developed by Bugbear Entertainment and published by THQ Nordic, this is no ordinary racing game. Whilst fundamental racing rules are there in terms of the objective being to win the race (or being the sole survivor), the game’s focus on vehicle combat provides a distinct experience from other renowned series such as Need for Speed.
The upgrade itself is fairly modest – perhaps a tad disappointing – but for new players there is a lot of content and a ton of fun to be had.
Wreckfest wastes little time in throwing you head-first into its many chaotic collisions. Upon starting the game, the player is presented with an impressive number of gameplay modes and layers of customisation. From custom tournaments, multiplayer (no local, however, which is a disappointment) and career mode, there are plenty of options to immediately capture the player’s attention.
The lack of hand-holding is refreshing – and wholly necessary – for a game with such a simple premise.
I spent the first hour or so just messing around with the various maps, and experimenting with the many vehicle types; from the most intimidating buses I’ve ever seen all the way down to a sofa-bed (yes, seriously, it is amazing). The satisfying feel of the gameplay – which is further enhanced with the introduction of haptics on the PS5 version – and the ability to just pick up and play had me hooked. The amount of options in the settings to customise the gameplay is also impressive, and can really change the feel of the game.
From the basic difficulty settings, adjusting the intensity of vibrations, and more dramatic changes such as changing the type of damage your car receives, I had a great deal of fun fine-tuning the experience. Changing the setting to “realistic” adds an extra level of intensity to the game, and makes encounters feel more tactical. Conversely, switching back to normal provides that classic arcade experience, with cars able to take a greater deal of damage – which encouraged me to gleefully ram into other vehicles without care.
The diversity of offerings in a game with such a simple premise is commendable. Vehicle movement strikes a fine balance between being arcade and simulator, and the various modes all offer something different. Career offers more typical races, where the demolition derbies highlight the game’s signature selling point: absolute carnage.
Wreckfest knows where its strengths lie, and wastes little time in shining the spotlight on them.
A few shortcomings:
I had a ton of fun with Wreckfest. The gameplay is so addictive and there are enough options that provide varying escalating challenges. That said, there are a couple noticeable issues that I had with the game.
The absence of local co-op feels criminal in a game as fun and ridiculous as Wreckfest. This game would’ve been one of my go to party games. Online multiplayer is a lot of fun, but I found it tricky to find games consistently.
As a paid upgrade for existing owners I’m also unsure how impressive the new offering actually is.
The haptics introduced are subtle, with the triggers providing additional resistance when making certain manoeuvres, but for those that already own the game the implementation of haptics might feel a bit lacklustre. The solid 60fps is definitely the more impressive enhancement with this upgrade. The game looks good in 4K, but some of the environmental and road detail looks noticeably dated.
Those issues aside, Wreckfest provides a strong offering full of content that will appeal to both casuals and fans alike. The gameplay is innately fun and with the addition of unlockables and a wealth of customisation options, there is plenty to keep you interested if somehow the allure of absolute carnage wasn’t enough.