Wreckfest has been given a next-gen update and it’s being doled out as an exclusive to PS Plus members. Are you missing out?
Wreckfest is not a gentleman’s game, not by any stretch. Instead, it’s a place where arseholes like me can prosper. Destruction is welcome and encouraged, with fun being the order of the day, not “sporting behaviour” like in GT Sport, where the slightest nudge of a fellow player will get you a voice message from a middle-aged man about how to play the game properly. Yeah, I never really got into GT Sport and for that very reason. Wreckfest, though? I’m all over it.
Previously, I’ve only dabbled with Wreckfest and that’s because it was on the Xbox Gamepass program. I did a few races and nothing more. But now that we have the remastered version for PS5, I’ve given it another look and I’m hooked on its crazy fun gameplay.
Wreckfest is this generation’s Destruction Derby and it wears its influences all over its battered and broken vehicles. That’s fine by me because as a kid, Destruction Derby was one of a handful of games that would be in rotation during weekend sleepovers. Sleeping bags would be thrown out of the window due to battles spilling over from the screen to the bedroom floor. It was good fun and Wreckfest feels like a natural evolution, though it is missing local split-screen multiplayer. However, given that I’m 30 and I don’t have sleepovers anymore, online multiplayer is good enough, providing I can get The Lads together. So far, I haven’t been able to, because we’re all old and have proper lives now, but that’s a me problem and it’s not the game’s fault.
Wreckfest is best played alone, anyway, or so I’ve found during my first few hours with the game. I’ve tried the online offerings but I didn’t really enjoy it. The time it takes to get into a game can be upwards of a few minutes. In my tests, the quickest I was able to get into a game was in just over two and a half minutes, with the longest wait being well over five, at which point I stopped counting, backed out, and tried again.
Single-player is the place to be then. You get a robust campaign mode with dozens of different events to play through. You’ve got standard races, except you’re allowed to smash opponents off the track. You’ve got Destruction Derby, which puts all 24 racers in one arena and lets you duke it out until the last car remains. I really enjoyed this and I had a great time smashing my car up. Over time, the arena would become a graveyard of broken down motors, making it more difficult to get a line on the remaining cars. Online, this was great as it offered some tension and tactics.
Among the races there are some special events, too, like lawnmower racing and even sofa car racing. These are ridiculous but good fun. My favourite special event so far, however, was the Survival Race where I had to take a supervan, which is basically a Reliant Robin, and try to finish first in a race against a couple dozen school buses. Naturally, this took me a few tries as I got pancaked repeatedly, but I had good fun losing. I actually laughed at the ridiculousness of it all, something I can’t remember doing in a racing game since those sleepover nights.
It’s all good fun then and I can’t really find much to moan about. If I had to stretch, I’d say the music is not my taste but I get why it’s got the heavy metal tunes. Stretching further, I’d have to pick at the remastering of the game on PS5 and the upgrades it has.
While it looks decent and plays really smooth – it’s a solid 60fps on PS5 against a shaky 30fps on last-gen – there are some inconsistencies with the presentation, with roads often looking quite flat and low detail. The cars look great, though, and the deformation is a great touch in an age where racing games are restricted in what damage they can do to the cars they license. This isn’t a problem here, and smashing up yours and your opponents’ vehicles on the crisscrossing tracks is encouraged; many tracks are laid out in such a way that t-boning and head-on collisions are inevitable.
The DualSense controller is, unfortunately, not put to good use in Wreckfest on PS5. The support is there but it’s the bare minimum. Some audio pops out of the controller’s speaker, the L2 trigger offer a little resistance when braking, and there’s some standard rumble, but it’s lacking any real haptics like DIRT 5 or WRC 9 did. It’s a shame, but it’s hardly a game-breaker and I’ve gone through 30 years of life without such features, so I can live without them. It’s just a shame to see the controller not being put through its paces.
Wreckfest on PS5 is a superb game that ditches the pretension in favour of pure silly fun. I’ve enjoyed it so far and I’m going to keep on enjoying it until I’ve smashed my way through to the very end. I might even arrange a sleepover next year for The Lads.
Wreckfest PS5 Review
Overall - Fantastic - 8.5/10
Wreckfest on PS5 is a clear improvement over its last-gen origins. The core game stays intact and offers some ridiculously fun gameplay throughout its extensive single-player campaign. The DualSense is under-used and the graphics could have been clearer in some areas, but it’s still a great game and it’s the perfect introduction to Wreckfest if you missed it on last-gen consoles.
- Ridiculously fun gameplay that sticks to the basics
- The increase to 60fps is a great touch and helps with responsiveness
- Plenty of content with championships and cars to unlock as you progress
- Multiplayer can take a long time to get in to
- The DualSense controller is under-utilised
- Some blurry roads throughout the game are a bit of a distraction, but only because the rest looks so good
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game bought at the expense of the reviewer. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Primary version tested: PS5. Reviewed using PS5.