Ever wanted to have a deathmatch with 24 other players in a field, while driving lawnmowers? What about racing a bunch of sofa cars dressed as the Stig! Even Jeremy Clarkson didn't think of that! Wreckfest, the ultimate next gen demolition racing.
- Entertaining races
- Smooth gameplay
- 24p multiplayer
- Chaotic destruction
- Next-gen features
What' not so
- Volume controls do not seem to work
- Not enough music tracks
Wreckfest: Drive Hard, Die Last
There are serious racing games like the F1 series, Gran Turismo or Forza Motorsport, then there's the casual racing games like Forza Horizon, Need for Speed; and then there's Wreckfest, a fun, chaotic, destructive racing and demolition derby for the modern era.
The very first career race puts you in a lawn-mower, dressed like the Stig, against 23 opponents also in lawnmowers. The objective? Smash! No, really, you score by slamming your mower into theirs. If that doesn't excite you, I don't know what will.
I had not heard of this before Sony gave this game away as part of the May 2021 PS Plus titles. With the next-gen upgrade, this runs like butter, and feels amazing to drive. There is a huge variety of tracks, with a diverse collection of vehicles ranging from the humble lawn-mower to a quarter-million-dollar combine harvester! Now there's an idea for Clarkson's Farm Season 2!
From the team behind the FlatOut series all those years ago, Finnish Studio Bugbear Entertainment; Wreckfest was announced back in 2012, and had a lengthy developmental period, filled with delays and publisher issues, It was stuck in Steam's early access for a long time. But it looks like all that time has finally paid off.
Wreckfest features a full fledged physics engine, complete with destruction mechanics for each side and major components of the vehicle. The AI works really well, especially on the harder difficulties. AI drivers will try to ram into you, make you spin, or just team up to block you from reaching forward. You can't just hit throttle, turn and hope for the best, it will take some skill and practice to understand the AI behavior. I've been spun out, pushed off track, or just plain wrecked a bunch of times, just 500m before the finish line.
And the tracks? Some of them are nothing short of a spectacle. Just take a look at this death-loop.
Most of the races end up with only a few cars actually finishing the race (Even less in extreme damage mode!). If you've survived till the final lap, you'll end up driving through a series of burning vehicle carcasses, with your ride not faring any better then the rest.
The demolition arenas are insane, with wild stuff happening in some of them. There's last man standing as well as team deathmatch events. While majority of the events are the banger circuit races, we occasionally stumble upon some strange races — like surviving in a Reliant Robin in a oval track against 23 SCHOOL BUSES! NUTS!
"Rolling a Reliant Robin on purpose is a bit like putting a tortoise on its back. It’s an act of wanton cruelty." — Jeremy Clarkson
There's a lot of vehicles to choose from — American muscle cars which are strong but harder to control, lighter European models easy on the corner but take a lot of damage, RVs, Combine Harvesters, Sofa Cars — the usual stuff.
There's a huge handling difference between mud, gravel and tarmac, which also takes advantage of the haptics in the DualSense™ controller. The tuning controls work nicely and do what you'd expect them to do.
There's also a realistic vehicular damage mode, which will have you struggling to keep driving with three wheels, unable to switch gears after a few hits. Vehicles also keep track of the damage over time. Even with 24 cars on screen at once ramming into each other, the framerate does not noticeably drop, and the experience is a smooth 60fps at native 4K.
Photo mode is another thing to note here, the interface isn't great, and takes some time to get used to (also no quick launch shortcut :s), but you do get a free camera mode for the entire track (Yes!, you can pause and witness all the destruction with a drone mode)
Vehicles can be customized both visually and performance wise, with some parts unlocking with progress, and some available to purchase via in-game credits. There aren't any tuning presets to quick swap the customizations before a race however, so you'll end up customizing your ride with armor for derbies and speed and power for races.
It also features a choose your race mode with all tracks and vehicles available to pick from the start of the game, so you can jump into any sort of race on any track without having to progress through the career. It also makes good use of the activity cards on the Playstation 5, allowing quick start directly into the event.
There's something for everyone to play here — from a fun way of stress relief by ramming a school bus into opponent's RVs to serious racing that takes advantages of various next gen features. A must recommend, whether you're waiting for Forza Horizon 5/Gran Turismo 7, or just wanting to have some casual entertainment.