We’ve seen off-road games take on many styles and forms over the years, but Wreckfest seems to have a little more foot on the gas than just your average racer. And it should, rightfully speaking, as it’s been in the development phase for approximately four years now. Conceived by “Flatout” developer Bugbear, Wreckfest brings something special to race day sure to leave any enthusiast’s appetite satisfied.
From the top down, the game looks fantastic and well-polished, arguably capturing the true soul of good ole’ American track racing better than most other racers in its genre. Featuring everything from loud junkyard rides with spirited low-budget paint jobs to crude winding tracks and courses heavily outlined with used tires and old traffic barriers, Wreckfest breeds the type of atmosphere race-goers love so much.
You can jump right into the fray of things via exhibition and experience pretty much all the game has to offer or opt for a more in-depth experience putting your driving skills to the test in career mode where you’ll be pitted against the most unruly, disrespectful, and demented bunch of AI drivers you may have ever faced in a series of championship races, derbies, and demolition style competitions.
You can even compete on lawnmowers! While there will be slight variances and vehicle-types between events the universal rule of thumb seems to apply across the board: Go hard or go home, cross the finish line respectably, or be the last vehicle running in one piece…preferably.
With enough success in career mode, you’ll begin to rack up experience and revenue which will ultimately unlock new circuits and put more options on the table for you in the form of performance enhancements, vehicle customizations and new rides.
The game has a pretty strong online presence too allowing you to take your race online and compete against other players on dedicated servers. The experience is equally as gratifying and rewarding as solo play adding some serious replay value to things. Outside of online competition players can also earn a few kudos by utilizing the Workshop to upload and share their custom paint themes with the community.
A superior physics engine is absolutely the defining staple of the game, bringing a perfect balance of realism and arcade style racing. Scattering car debris flies all over the track as you beat and bang it out with your rivals frantically trying to avoid being slammed into walls, fences, or exploding tire barriers. Your ride can take a pretty good lickin’ during the mayhem but excessive contact can do massive damage to brake systems, suspension, and gearboxes drastically reducing handling and potentially dashing hopes of a strong finish or win. It’s a gritty and straight-up smashfest from the time the signal is given all the way until the checkered flag or last man standing!
Ultimately, Wreckfest has what it takes to go the distance and is a must-own for any type of hardcore race fan. The final product was not only well worth the wait, but is also well worth the investment. The game is aesthetically beautiful, featuring top-notch controls and physics shipping with a sizable amount of modes and features to keep fans entertained for quite some time.
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The guys at Bugbear have really captured something special here. Look for this racer to be in the mix for best in genre when the fan votes are tallied come year’s end. In the meantime, it’s certainly earned our respect here at GiN, easily racking up 4 ½ gems.