Pedal to the metal and steel on steel action comes your way in Next Car Game: Wreckfest. This impressive little driving simulator puts you behind the wheels of demolition derby vehicles and participating in all sorts of matches. From free-for-alls to team based deathmatches, you slam and crash your car into your opponents –aiming to get the most number of takedowns and of course, the be the last man standing. It is an impressive game with great physics work as well as tight driving controls. If all you are looking for is blazing speed, sit this one out, Wreckfest is designed for players who have absolute 'carnage' in mind.
Enough Bad Puns
With a pretty long title, Wreckfest sounds like a game with a level of a b-side track. Except it isn't. The cars handle quite well and the visual details you get in-game are downright magnificent. Simply put: this delivers exactly what demolition derby audiences want to see, the demolition. Plenty of time and effort has been done in order to depict realistic damage to vehicles. Anything and everything on a car will receive realistic amounts of damage –and it will be very visible throughout whole match. Expect to see car noses squish flat from head on collisions and body frames deformed from rolls; all that, and the joy of watching everything happen in real time.
More Than Just Speed
There is nothing that says mayhem more than two car charging at high speed towards each other –but it is also a quick way to get your own vehicle taken out. Demolition derbies may seem chaotic for the viewers (and moreso for the competitors), but there is actually a rhyme and reason to the system.
Driving skill comes into play as you push your car's maneuverability to the limits. The dirt floors are not exactly high on traction and there will always be other vehicles aiming to smash you up. So players have to keep driving smart –staying safe while constantly finding ways to damage opponents; and there is nothing like good old practice to get you used to it all.
Balancing safety with scoring is a pretty hard mix. On one hand, avoiding the bulk of the action and staying on safer areas of the field will help you stay alive –but a match cannot be won just by trying to dodge attacks. Scoring counts, and the only way to get points is to score takedowns on your opponents. This means that you will have to constantly dive in and out of the action –and make sure that each attempt counts.
Obviously, the amount of car damage that gets visualized in the game is one of the key reasons why Wreckfest is such an eye-candy. But it does not stop there, the arena and tracks are excellently detailed. The textures and lighting look incredibly realistic –not only for the backgrounds but for the vehicles as well. No matter what kind of vehicle you are driving, the game presents it all in an impressive manner. The dirt that gets kicked up when you drive, the rusted side panels, the rattling of the rollcage –small graphical details and animations brings the game to life and makes each event exciting.
Despite the great graphics on this game, the hardware requirements are surprisingly last-gen; even 32-bit rigs can run this. That's a major point for this game, as not having high requirements makes it very accessible for players and more importantly, it allows the game to have a larger online community of players (after all, Wreckfest is way more fun with other players).
The Verdict: Get Slamming
Like many other PC games, Wreckfest has its share of ups and downs. And by downs we mean bugs and incomplete content –sometimes the controls just do not work right, sometimes the cars just spawn wrong, and sometimes, the game just doesn't do what it is supposed to do. But considering that all it takes to fix these little issues is a quick reboot of the game (it doesn't even take that long to load), and the fact that there have been no game breaking bugs; these issues are, at most, tolerable.
As realistic as the physics in this game is, Next Car Game: Wreckfest is not designed for players who want a realistic driving-sim (go play the latest version of Gran Turismo for that). This is a game for people who just want a few rounds of car-smashing fun and nothing else. And with that in mind, this game delivers what is expected of it almost perfectly.