If I could choose one game to be remade from the PS One era it would be Destruction Derby. It’s a title that holds a lot of nostalgia value for me, the one which I remember most fondly. The destruction and mindless action brought a joy that was unrivalled on any other console. Of course, if it was to be re-released now it probably would be nowhere near as good. It was a fairly simple game and therefore didn’t have a lot to it, with no online multiplayer or any of the other options you’d expect from a game in 2020. It’s probably because of these reasons Sony never brought the series back, although that doesn’t mean others can’t have a crack at it, so step forward Bugbear Entertainment with Wreckfest – the spiritual successor to the developer’s popular FlatOut series or as far as I am concerned the spiritual successor to Destruction Derby.
Wreckfest’s Derby Arenas are the highlight of the game for me by far. Line up, start your engines and let the chaos commence. The arena is packed full of cars and it is down to you to wreck every last one of them, although they’ll be trying to do the same to you and each other. Winning consists of trying to keep your car intact for as long as possible, although wrecking others helps too since it’ll bump up your points tally and it means there are less cars to worry about.
There is something ever so satisfying about trashing cars, watching as their wheels fall off, or the metal frame disintegrate from every possible angle. You may find yourself driving around using an empty shell with a steering wheel by the time the event is done, but you’ll just be pleased to have gotten through it.
While I am focusing on the Destruction Derby, there’s plenty more here to keep you entertained. A career mode means you’ll spend a lot of time unlocking everything there is to see and with this comes lots of different events, from the sublime to the bizarre. Different events include the likes of Demolition Racing, Folk Racing, Survival Racing, Lawnmower Deathmatches, Harvester Deathmatches and even a race to the finish line using modified sofa’s…. yes you heard that right.
The Lawnmower Race Challenge is particularly bizarre, seeing you race around the track trying to get into first place, all while trying to dodge the racers lying on the floor, as well as their wrecked rides. To make things worse, there’s a combine harvester (or something of that nature) speeding around the track mowing everyone down. This was especially annoying for me since I was in first place, about to reach the finish line and then ended up under it, which as you can imagine cost me the race. There are all sorts of races, some normal, some not so much, but they are all fun to take part in and unlock.
As you take part in career mode or even one-off custom events, you’ll unlock vehicles, vehicle parts and money, the latter of which you can use to buy new vehicles from the garage. This allows you to upgrade your ride, offering more speed, durability or just a mean looking aesthetic to intimidate other drivers. You can also change the look of your ride thanks to the availability of various skins, as well as being able to change the bumper, tyres and other parts of your vehicle. I would have liked the custom skins to have offered more options, but it’s not really a game-changer.
Whatever mode you play in the action is fantastic. There doesn’t seem to be any lag, no matter how many cars are on the screen (even on Xbox One S) and the handling of the vehicles is top-notch. Wreckfest is a pretty great looking game too, sure it is no Forza Horizon, but you can tell a lot of effort has gone into making it as realistic as possible and it has really paid off.
One thing I am a little disappointed about is the load times. It can take a few minutes to get into the games sometimes and I’m not really known for my patience. In fact, it’s not unusual for me to not bother playing at all if things take too long, although this generally relates to patches rather than loading times. Still, I’d like the developer to try and improves these if they can, although, having tested both, I have to say the PS4 Pro loading times certainly seem to be a lot faster than those of Xbox One S.
If you fancy taking on other players, then Wreckfest also includes a comprehensive multiplayer mode. Here you can take part in the events from single player such as Racing, Demolition, Specials or a mix of all three. These take part on a wide range of arenas and tracks, which you’ll no doubt have gotten to know from your time with the single player experience. The multiplayer is a lot of fun, mainly because it’s a lot more challenging, but whatever way you choose to play you are in for a good time.
Wreckfest is an excellent racer which offers a diverse range of events, chaotic action and well thought out gameplay. It’s looks and plays fantastic and will no doubt tug on the nostalgia strings of those, like me, who have been hankering for the return of Destruction Derby. Considering you can pick up Wreckfest at a lower price, it seems a no brainer to give it a try. There’s plenty of meat on the bone here, well that is until you grind it down to the metal.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*