There was a choice of racing game to keep you amused over the summer months. F1 2019, Dirt 2.0 and Wreckfest all had their merits, but in the end, Wreckfest won out for me and for once it looks like I have chosen correctly. The game is a blast. If you ever fancied yourself as Cole Trickle from the classic Days Of Thunder then look no further than this.
Created by the developers of the PS2 classic Flatout, Wreckfest is deceptively simple, race your car around a series of tracks and try to win the race by being the fastest or staying out of trouble. Neither of these tactics is the easiest.
Divided simply into championships where you have to accrue a specific number of points to progress to the next. That’s it, no complex story, just pick your car and get into the most unpredictable and pure racing available on consoles. This is racing that you could legitimately do if you were placed in the same situation and that’s what makes this so special. There is no learning curve, just jump in and experience handing that makes sense. Not to labour the point, if you can drive a normal car you can excel at this game, it feels like the handling in GTA or other games, forgiving yet realistic.
But we are burying the lead here. The star of the show here is the damage models on the vehicles. Using soft damage tech, every bump scratch and fender-bender has a cosmetic effect on your vehicle. Up the difficulty settings and this becomes a game-altering effect.
Because of the nature of the game, there isn’t much more to say. Tracks are well designed but have horrific crash points and apex obstructions. If you see a tree in the distance don’t be fixated on it as chances are you will end up wrapped around it. The game is the antithesis of other unpredictable and simulation racers. Your AI opposition is brutal and ruthless and will not hesitate to put a pitt manoeuvre on you going into a corner. The best tactic on many occasions is to brake early with a wide approach then hit the gas and take the inside line as the opposition shatter each other taking the normal racing line.
Championships can include, destruction derbies, and specialist races on combine harvesters, lawnmowers and even couches with engines in them, these are particularly challenging as a heavy impact can throw you off your mount.
There are a few minor gripes. Load times are above average, and it is unclear how to buy new vehicles and if you should even be buying them. If you stick with the standard car you can keep winning and upgrading until your heart is content. The customisation, while extensive could be easier and menus are unclear and handled in a carousel manner. The final complaint is the most grating. The game hasa the worst soundtrack known to man. I apologise to any of the bands on this, but the fact that it is si loud and out of place in the game means the first quality of life improvement is to turn it off during races. The roar of the V8 engines is more than enough.
Despite these small issues, Wreckfest lands at a perfect time and for a reduced price. My advice is to ignore F1 and Dirt and enjoy yourself for once.