Wreckfest: a brilliant-destructive race video game

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 If there’s anything to be learned from a game like Wreckfest, it’s that thrashing around old bangers, running opponents into concrete barriers, and threading the needle between a group of crashing cars can, even in 2018, be brilliantly fun.

Wreckfest’s career mode is made up of five different championships, each consisting of various events – from multi-race championships to one-off demolition derbys that each gradually unlock as you increase your driver level. In addition, rewards are doled out regularly in the form of performance parts along with credits to buy new cars and parts with, so even a poor finish, which will happen, never feels like wasted time.

The game keeps things very simple: you’re either racing or wrecking, placed into a pool of twisted metal in demolition derby events or into a stream of cascading chaos in races that take place across dusty make shift tracks. And even when you’re in a pure multi-lap race, the truth is you’re always wrecking and racing.

That’s underlined by some deliciously weighty handling – forward-wheel drive cars need some proper coaxing into corners, while the longer, louder rear-wheel drive cars take a more pendulous approach that needs some taming.

Wreckfest offers banger racing with real character, and it’s helped by a car-list that’s brilliantly offbeat. And so there’s a Saab 93, all squat and buzzing like a wasp, or a Jaguar XJS that’s positively languorous in its vision of 80s luxury. Or a pre-facelift Toyota Supra A70 complete with 7M-GTE power unit.

Damage in Wreckfest has two settings: normal and realistic. On normal, you and your opponents can survive more than your fair share of hard hits, making heavy impacts much more forgiving. But with realistic conditions, things get a lot tougher and a bit more spectacular too. Longer races become tests of survival, as all it takes is one bad collision to put a car out of contention.

We really enjoyed Wreckfest. It’s a genuinely entertaining game where you can relax, push down the accelerator, and watch metal spray across the screen. The career mode is well-crafted, the online mode works well, and there are enough cars here (and lawnmowers) to find your favourite ride. A few more tracks wouldn’t have hurt, but apart from that Wreckfest comes with a warm recommendation.