Wreckfest Review: You’re Gonna Wreck It

A Wreckfest review for the PS5: spiritual successor to Destruction Derby, or should it be sent to the scrap heap? Find out, blah, blah, blah...

Wreckfest landed in my inbox to review just recently, but as a PS+ subscriber, I picked this up as part of the membership, as I’m sure you did if you’re a member too.

However, this prompted me to revisit it as my first impressions after downloading it a month ago weren’t great. They weren’t bad, it’s just that there wasn’t anything that stood out that demanded my attention.

Since revisiting it, I’ve got a bit more involved in the game. My initial frustration was the lack of local multiplayer. As dads tend to do, I was lecturing the kids about how good Destruction Derby was on the PlayStation and wanted to show them a next-gen example. Unfortunately, it was online only (unless there’s a hidden feature).

Wreckfest Review – PlayStation 5

Despite the flippant thoughts that banger racing is just a bit of fun, Wreckfest, from Bugbear and THQ Nordic, proves that it’s a legitimate sport, that is, it has proper campaigns and milestones to set out and achieve.

Wreckfest Review - Gardener's World
It’s a gardener’s world. Source: PR

Starting in the junior classes, you work your way up to the more rigid beasts that grace the top-end of the sport, unlike the lawnmowers you begin with. The premise is often simple: come first, or try to keep your vehicle running until the end.

The latter is fun, but there’s not much longevity in it, and it feels more like a novelty. As for the racing element, the tracks were initially figure of eights or speedways reminiscent of IndyCar. While I adore driving in real life and gaming, repeating laps shaped like an egg bores me.

But this is where the wreck in Wreckfest kicks in: the collisions. The feel of smashing into one another and seeing the impact is reminiscent of Burnout boners. Crashes are pretty epic, without being too over-the-top, or slowing down gameplay.

Check Yo Self Before You Wreck Yo Self

Naturally, the biggest hits will occur in the arenas where you simply need to takedown your opponents and wreck them – hence the namesake, Wreckfest. However, you’re not going to get enough speed, and if you go so long without interaction, you’ll end up not finishing.

Wreckfest Review - Front row
Front row seat. Source: PR

That brings are to the ‘boring’ figure of eight races. In the early stages, getting enough speed and a significant lead isn’t that hard on the tarmac, but the revelation with one of these tracks is you end up going back on yourself and passing your rivals at full speed!

The sheer adrenaline of being at the front, but then having to avoid a head-on or the debris left behind (worse when they’re buses), is just brilliant

By the time you get balls deep in the later races, you wish for the leaders to take a hit so you can catch up.

In that respect, Wreckfest is like real-life UFC: it can take a turn at any minute – no pun intended. I’d like to say that means you just need to concentrate, but there’s an unpredictable nature as you take a clean hairpin only to get hit by another car on a jump that meets.

Next-Gen Carnage

Wreckfest is available on other platforms, including the PS4, but this experience was solely with the PS5 version, so I don’t have a comparison to make or can confirm any of the differences in improvement. What will be said is this is a really nice looking game.

Wreckfest Review - Ruckas
Ruckas. Source: PR

Not the kind of choice words for banger racing, but it’s on par with the superb WRC 9. As a driving fan, particularly rally driving, Wreckfest has the same kind of feel in terms of handling and viewpoints too. I swear I’m better at racing in first-person, and that applied here, but for the big free-for-alls, third-person is the way to go.

The real-time damage is pretty decent, and you can tweak the damage levels in terms of realism. With the racing, because it’s always set to first-person based on my preference, it wasn’t possible to see the impact on the car. However, in third-person, the wrecking events are insane, and it’s a miracle some of the vehicles are still moving.

Haptic feedback is pretty good too. Even when starting a race, there’s something about the triggers that make them feel they’ll break, and you’re driving a lemon. Put your foot down, and it feels and sounds great too. Speaking of sounds, the tunes in the game are fantastic, including some proper metal tracks.

Wreckfest Review Summary

Let’s wrap, or wreck this up. Wreckfest takes a bit of time to get into, but once you scratch past the surface, its features rich with more than enough races, custom matches and online play that you can shake a stick at. Even better, you can fine-tune and customise your cars too. Bliss.

Pros

  • The spiritual successor to Destruction Derby.
  • Lots of vehicles, including novelties.
  • Fine-tuning with parts, liveries and more.
  • Great presentation throughout.
  • Satisfying vehicle damage.

Cons

  • The free-for-alls wear thin.
  • Haptic feedback is good but sometimes a little erratic.
  • Many of the tracks feel a bit samey.