Wreckfest Review - Satisfying Destruction

 

Wreckfest is a satisfying, destruction-based racing game that gets held back by long loading times, inconvenient multiplayer, and an underwhelming progression system.

Game Modes & Maps

Wreckfest provides three distinct game modes to choose from, banger race, elimination, and team race. A banger race consists of going around a track in a certain number of laps, like any traditional race. Team race is the same idea just with an interchangeable number of teammates. An elimination race is similar to a banger race, but opponents slowly get eliminated based on how far behind they are. Wreckfest also allows you to manipulate many of the game’s settings like driving difficulty, match rules, and the amount of opponents in the race.

Although there aren’t many maps in Wreckfest, the ones that are there are quite fun. The level selection is designed to provide a solid balance between acceleration and drift races, gravel and tarmac tracks, or destruction and speed matches. You can also get quite ridiculous with how you utilize these maps, like racing using lawnmowers or wrecking tiny soapboxes with gigantic school buses. It certainly would’ve been nice if there were a few naturally bizarre tracks in the mix, but thankfully, that’s where Steam Workshop comes in.

Wreckfest gives you the ability to customize the game however you like. This includes creating new vehicles, building a track from scratch, and changing core game mechanics. For example, I tried The Very TrackPack by Steam user The Very End, which had over 40 unique races, and it was an absolute blast to go through. Some of these races were designed in silly ways, providing me with what I had hoped to see in the actual game. One track had me speeding up a grassy mountain and every turn put me at risk of sliding off into the ocean. Certain hills acted like ramps, allowing me fly ten feet into the air and the goal was to land without crashing.

Vehicles & Progression

Driving in Wreckfest is not only immensely satisfying, but the destruction physics are incredibly detailed. Depending on how your vehicle gets hit, its performance will become affected. While trying to knock opponents off the road, constant crashes caused my suspension to become damaged, significantly impairing my vehicles handling. The demolition aspect of the game goes in depth in pinpointing the use of each part of a car and how they’ll react under pressure, which adds an incredible, yet ridiculous challenge to each a race.

Wreckfest boasts a large number of vehicles, which can be unlocked through purchase, leveling up, or completing career missions. Additionally, leveling up gives you the opportunity to upgrade your vehicles by purchasing better parts. However, Wreckfest’s customization system is painfully linear.

The only choice I could make is whether to make my vehicle fast or strong. Whenever the I had the opportunity to purchase an upgraded car-part, I mindlessly entered the garage to purchase the next best thing, which got frustratingly repetitive.

You can choose to put armor on their vehicle, which will make it slower and resistant to damage, but it’s not hard to balance this out with speed. However, this progression system isn’t very satisfying, and it’s definitely the most underwhelming aspect of the game.

When it comes to racing, the bonus for winning against more difficult AI is insignificant. There’s no incentive for anyone to try and race an expert opponent aside from the satisfaction that comes from winning. At one point, I had picked a very fast car for a speed-based race, and because I knew it wouldn’t be hard to win, I set AI difficulty to expert. The bonus I received was barely noticeable, only providing a bit more experience than I’d normally get. Getting first place is what provides the most bonuses, and risking that to battle expert AI is not worth it.

Tuning

The ability to tune your cars fills the void of an underwhelming progression system. Before starting a race, there’s an option to increase or decrease four sliders that consists of the suspension, gear ratio, differential, and brake balance.

Suspension changes how the car handles on different surfaces, whether it be tarmac or gravel. Increasing gear ratio gives the vehicle a higher max speed but decreases its acceleration, while decreasing gear ratio has the opposite effect. Differential impacts how the wheels of the vehicle turn, which determines how tight the handling is. Brake balance determines whether the front or rear wheels have dominance when braking.

With these four options, you have to carefully strategize which to use before each race. Not only that, but taking damage can cause parts to become partially or completely broken, greatly changing vehicle performance. During an arena match, the front of my car was completely decimated, causing my right tire to bend inwards.

Multiplayer & Loading Times

Wreckfest is perfect to play with friends, but it’s quite inconvenient with strangers. My first multiplayer experience was not pleasant, as it took 3 to 4 minutes to find a game and start a race. It was great once I actually started driving, but the amount of time it took to get into a match was annoying.

Wreckfest desperately needs a “quick play” option to speed up the process, especially since the game has a decent number of players.

Whenever I feel like jumping into Wreckfest, the long loading times make me think twice. Being able to quickly jump in and finish up a race is important, and waiting a couple of minutes between each race takes away from that experience.

Verdict

Wreckfest is fun to play, but tiny hiccups make it harder to enjoy. It’s definitely worth playing for people who love high-speed chaos, especially if you’re with friends.

Score

Good Bad
Vehicle Variety Long Loading
Satisfying Chaos Inconvenient Multiplayer
Detailed Destruction Underwhelming Progression
Fun Game Modes and Maps
Steam Workshop
Tuning Cars

- 7/10 -