Review: Wreckfest

About this Game

Publisher

THQ Nordic

Developer

Bugbear Entertainment

Release Date

August 27th, 2019

Console

PlayStation 4

How long does it take to unlock all trophies in Wreckfest?

20-25h

How difficult is it to unlock all trophies in Wreckfest?

Easy (3/10)

Does Wreckfest have online trophies?

Yes

Does Wreckfest have difficulty-specific trophies?

No

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The American Dream

While browsing the PlayStation Store, looking for something new to play after my crushing defeat at the hands of Ride 4’s Platinum Trophy, I found myself looking once again at PlayStation Now. A moment of mulling later, I decided to finally go for it and see what they had to offer.

Despite everything I’d been through with Ride 4 and even Car Demolition Clicker, I somehow still wanted to play something vehicle-oriented, as though I had an itch the other games refused to scratch. Weighing my options between Wreckfest and Crew 2, I decided I’d like the least-serious option possible so I could finally have some fun this month…

Wreckfest Platinum Review

First Impact

I began my time with Wreckfest by diving straight into their Career mode. I have no shame in admitting that I immediately set everything to easy, I really just wanted to have fun, and this seemed like the place to do it.

Before long, I was sat on a ride-on lawnmower in a large muddy enclosure, surrounded by at least 20 other stig-looking racers mounted upon their own grass-grazing steeds.

A collision. Another. And another. There was a cacophony of metal-on-metal crunches and scrapes, over a backing-track of lawnmower motors as every single dumb-looking rider in the podunk arena smashed into each other with reckless abandon. “This is exactly what I need right now,” I thought to myself, joining in.

On to the next event, where I was placed in a larger muddy enclosure, only this one was bowl-shaped. I revved my cartoonishly american muscle car and looked around at the ridiculously meaty-looking vehicles lined up at either side of me. Directly ahead, another line-up. It was clear what would have to happen here…

Like crashing waves of scrapmetal and oil, our line-ups met in the center of the mud-riddled arena and I was immediately wrecked. In a foolish endeavour to experience the center of that motor-powered mosh pit I’d forgotten to consider the consequences. I did this two more times.

Once I’d had enough and felt fully satisfied with the carnage I’d experienced, I pulled on some cowboy boots, placed some dip in my lip, and prepared my best Foghorn Leghorn impression, just to show I was serious.

Yeehaw

Not really, but I was genuinely ready to start playing properly.

For the next few hours, I had a delightful time breezing through the game. I didn’t have to repeat any events or spend hours scrutinizing over how well I’m turning every corner (yes, I’m still upset about Ride 4), instead I could just have fun. I could knock my opponents around like pinballs, drive wildly off-track just to see what happens, recklessly drift around mud-laden corners, and still finish in 1st position.

To mis-quote Anakin; “Now, this is console racing.

The Nitty-Gritty

There are two main event types in Wreckfest, which are then varied in a few ways, but the basic principles are the same. The first is a deathmatch-style game mode where you need to wreck as many opponents as you can. Sometimes you’ll need to stay alive for the entire event to avoid being eliminated, but other times you can respawn as much as you like and just need to get the most wrecks to win.

Other events are more traditional race events in which you complete laps of a course while staying at the front of the pack. The tracks make this more interesting by emphasizing on the wrecking mechanics of the game. Many courses will double back on themselves and see you driving head-first into the racers who are lagging behind.

The destruction mechanics which helm this title’s gameplay add stakes and chaos at a level that you don’t find in any other racing game. My aggressive driving style fits perfectly with the unpredictability of each event. Dust and debris are kicked into the air as I drift violently around each corner, using the flank of my rival to stop myself, ready for the next straight.

Struggling to get past the opponent in first place? Spin them out. Slam them into the next wall. Push them off the track. There are so many options for aggressive play, but you need to keep an eye on your own vehicle’s wellbeing; there’s a price to be paid, and you need to find the balance.

In career mode, you work your way up through 5 championships by completing events to gain score. Once you have half of the available points in a championship, you can proceed to the next championship and try to reach the points threshold there to progress again.

Given that you only need half of the available points in each championship, as long as you do well in a handful of them, you can really pick and choose which events you want to do, leaving many of them untouched. Even the trophy list is extremely lenient about this, asking only that you reach the end of each Championship and complete all Career Challenges.

Career Challenges are specific events in each Championship that have a goal you must reach for a unique reward. There are 23 in total, none of which are all that difficult, and by completing them all, you can unlock 15 of the 20 vehicles required for the Platinum. Meaning you only need to actually purchase 5 vehicles—4 if you win the bonus car in the last Career event.

The Career Challenges set up some fascinating and very fun scenarios, such as a 24-man free-for-all where everyone is driving a motorhome. Or pitting you against 23 three-wheeled “Supervan” vehicles while giving you a School Bus to dominate them with.

Vehicles can be upgraded, and there’s a fascinating balance in the game between strength and speed. If you apply a lot of speed upgrades to your vehicle, they’ll obviously have a higher top speed and acceleration, but will be vulnerable to being wrecked, so you can add armor to the vehicle to improve its strength.

Of course, adding armor to your vehicle will then increase its weight and slow it down, undoing your efforts in the speed department. So with each vehicle, you need to weigh the benefits of every upgrade you apply and consider the best loadout to match your playstyle.

You can also customize each vehicle’s paint and decals and add some visual flair that won’t affect its stats, such as a great big bloody shark on the roof. However, these options are limited depending on the vehicle you choose. So, if you’re a big fan of vehicle/decal customization, you may be a little disappointed by this editor.

Miscellaneous Fun

Aside from trophies which asked that I complete career mode, complete all challenges, and unlock 20 vehicles, there were a handful of pretty interesting miscellaneous trophies which got me into some excellent situations.

One which I particularly enjoyed asked that I destroy 50 vehicles with a School Bus. I set up a custom match against 23 opponents using ride-on lawnmowers on a figure-8-shaped map. There, I parked my School Bus up in the center and watched as 23 hyper-moronic AI smashed head-first into the side of my Bus.

One after the other, like Lemmings they cascaded into the seemingly-unfazed goliath of a School Bus. Once all 23 were wrecked, I’d simply restart. About 4 attempts later I’d finally unlocked the trophy and, with a little sadness, retired the School Bus.

Another trophy asked me to get wrecked 100 times. Again, I set up a custom match. Me on a Lawnmower versus 23 AI rivals driving Big Rig trucks around an arena. All I had to do was drive into any of them and I’d immediately be wrecked, whether they were trying to hit me or not.

I kept at this for a while, eventually setting myself the goal of trying to actually wreck a couple of these Big Rigs using my pathetic little Lawnmower. In the end I had taken out 4 sorry excuses for Big Rigs, at the cost of getting wrecked over 50 times per match.

There is also one Online Trophy, but it’s not as tricky as it seems as long as you have someone to play it with. You’ll need to win 20 matches, which is going to take some serious doing if you’re playing against random players online, but if you can get a buddy to boost it with you, it takes just 10 minutes.

I set up a custom match with MrZhangetsu on the smallest, most circular map in the game where laps take about 15 seconds. We repeated this over and over for about 20 minutes until we both had the trophy. Easy!

The Final Stretch

Admittedly, the reason I had been dipping in and out of Career Mode so often to complete miscellaneous trophies had been because I’d occasionally get a little bored with Career Mode.

I just don’t think the standard races are as fun as all the other events. And there’s a lot of Career Groups where you need to complete 4 or even 8 races back-to-back and I was using miscellaneous trophies as a way to avoid the chore of doing that.

That isn’t to say I wasn’t greatly enjoying the game, it had so much to offer that you just cannot find in other racing games, but I just liked to shake things up a bit between races.

Eventually, though, there was nothing left on the trophy list for me to do except complete the Career events and challenges. So, I buckled up, sat forward, and ploughed my way through Career Mode.

It took quite a few hours because, with each Championship, the points threshold got higher and the amount of events I’d need to complete increased.

Some of the Challenges I needed to complete for the platinum were pretty tricky, but nothing I couldn’t overcome with a few attempts. One of the hardest was a challenge called “The Convoy”. In this Challenge, I had to outrun a convoy of suped-up Big Rigs in a three-wheeled Supervan.

On paper, the concept is great, and I was well up for it, but when it came down to it, the Big Rigs were somehow faster than my Supervan, which cannot be upgraded. Plus, if I went around a corner too fast, the Supervan would tilt very easily, and I’d lose control. Then again, if I went around a corner too slow, the Big Rigs would catch up.

I basically just had to practice and practice until I could beat all three laps while staying on all three wheels through every corner.

Eventually, Career Mode hit a point where every race event was 6 or even 12 laps long. That was far too much. By that point I’d completed every challenge and still had about 1,200 points to collect until I had finished Career Mode.

I completed every Destruction/Deathmatch-type event available and all that was left was three groups of 8 back-to-back races and I ended up having to do two. In one of those, every race was 12 laps long. The whole event group felt like it went on for an eternity. The tracks were shorter to be fair, but this gave me very little comfort, it just made the whole thing seem all the more tedious.

It was really squeezing the life out of my poor character.

Still, once I unlocked the Platinum Trophy I still felt that same sense of satisfaction and pride that I had come to know so well. Wreckfest’s Platinum Journey was a great time.

Time Breakdown

Career Mode

Miscellaneous Trophies

Online Mode

Wreckfest Trophy Guide

To accompany this Platinum Review, I’ve also prepared a Wreckfest Trophy Guide, which will help you have the most streamlined journey to the Platinum Trophy. Check it out if you’re hoping to do this one too!

If you enjoyed reading this review, please do let us know, it means the world to us when we hear feedback, and we love engaging with people over the game we just reviewed!

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Verdict

Plat

Wreckfest's Platinum is quite easy; even the most grind-filled trophies are barely laborious. But I wouldn't recommend it based on how easy it was. I'd recommend it based on how much fun it was. It's quite rare that a platinum journey stays fun from start-to-finish but I can safely say that wreckfest was enjoyable 99.9% of the time.

Pros

  • Fantastic destruction physics shake up typical racing gameplay
  • Events are very intense with up to 23 rivals
  • Doesn't take itself too seriously

Cons

  • Game sometimes freezes on loading screens on PS5 but no progress is lost from the resulting restart
  • The cars drift very easily so they can be a little unruly and hard to control

Gold Trophy

Taking me completely by surprise, Wreckfest is one of the best racing games out there just for what unique features it can bring to the table. Gameplay is consistently fun and the vehicle damage doesn't cause frustration, rather it adds a new dimension to every race; a new scale to balance while you play. If the controls were just a little bit tighter this could be the perfect racing game.

About the Author

More fond of single-player experiences and story-driven games than anything else, TheDblTap has a keen eye for secrets and collectables, a skill which serves him well as a Trophy Hunter. However, with little patience and poor timing, he can struggle where MrZhangetsu would succeed.

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