Wreckfest – Derby Distinction

To conclude my trilogy on Demolition Derby games, I’m going to do things a bit differently. My final entry is Bugbear Entertainment’s Wreckfest which was originally released in 2014. But for those of us that waited for the game to arrive on consoles, we didn’t get our hands on it until the summer of 2019.

Being a very recent release, in a world of endless online gamer reviews, there are hundreds upon hundreds of discussion surrounding this game online, so I’ll skip the details on game details or how it is played. What I’ll focus on is how it compares to demolition games of the past and introduce a new feature to AutoLobotomy.com.

As I mentioned last week, Test Drive Eve of Destruction was a nearly flawless demolition derby game. It had a few short comings, but overall, it captured the grass roots unsophisticated world of smash ‘em racing. Wreckfest is a true spiritual successor that took many elements of Eve of Destruction and improved upon them.

Newer, Better

For starters, the game featured dozens of cars, that like the old Test Drive game, are based on real life cars but with made up names. The cross section of cars is fantastic. There is the usual assortment of ‘60s and ‘70s American iron that are the staples of demolition derbies. But sprinkled in are classic Volvo and Jaguar doppelgangers as well as spitting images of the Honda CR-X and Toyota Supra Mk III.

The number of tracks are numerous, cover everything, and are still growing. There are traditional demolition derby pits on grass, gravel, mud and tarmac. For more serious racers, there are speedways, city circuits, off-road races and rallycross courses. For the arcade player, there are ridiculous fantasy courses like Madman Stadium with huge walls that could be driven on, as well as the appropriately named Deathloop and Hellride tracks.

With the advances in technology over the years, the car modelling and crash physics in Wreckfest are much more realistic than demolition games from the past. The way vehicular impacts damage certain portions of the player’s car, or how parts freely fall off (I’m looking at you flimsy Motorhome), is fantastic. Not so great though is how the cars, after enough huge collisions, sometimes get overly compressed and are contorted into shapes that defy physics and would not be drivable (or in some cases even survivable for the driver).  

One Drawback

Still, the speed, racing and impacts are as close as any game has ever come to replicating what its like to race in a series where carnage is just as important as finishing position. But not so great was the Career mode.

It features a great variety of races and challenges, requiring players to own a somewhat diverse garage of vehicles, but it lacks any depth. Unlike Test Drive Eve of Destruction where players lived in a virtual town and had to buy new junkers, sell off used up plies of scrap and challenge rivals to advance, Wreckfest offers none of this. It is just a wall of racing challenges and/or series where the ultimate goal is to earn money to buy more cars.

With that in mind, I did beat the entire career mode and continued to grind away at cash in an attempt to buy all of the cars – a testament to the replay ability and fun of Wreckfest. It wasn’t until months later, as I decided against buying all of the downloadable content, that I began to drift away from the game. Still, over a year after its release, I still grab my wheel and go in for a little mayhem every now and then.

Moving Pictures

By now, my three or four regular readers may have noticed that instead of images in this article, there are videos. That’s because starting today, I have launched the official AutoLobotomy.com You Tube channel. No, I am not getting into a lucrative career of hosting a gaming channel, this is just a place to post gaming capture videos and whatever else works for the site.

A thought is to have a weekly challenge video involving one of the many games I own, such as the challenge below ‘Can I survive a five-lap suicide race on a riding lawnmower’ against competitors driving vehicles like hearses and pick-up trucks. Full disclosure on this race – in the real world, I would have been decapitated at the end of lap 1, but somehow in the game I soldiered on.

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