Plenty of big-name releases have seen next-gen upgrades over the last few months, whilst some have seemingly come from nowhere. Wreckfest falls into that latter category, with developer Bugbear’s frantic and destructive racer an unlikely (but very welcome) addition to the PlayStation 5 library. It was made available for free as part of PlayStation Plus’ monthly offerings back in May, but is now available to purchase – is it worth the price of admission for those who missed it as a freebie last month, though?
Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:
I won’t go into too much detail about Wreckfest’s gameplay because it’s a title that’s been around since 2019. There are plenty of reviews out these that cover the ins-and-outs of its racing action, so I’ll keep it pretty simple.
The game’s single player campaign will keep you busy for some time, with its abundance of racing modes adding a destructive twist to the formula with its emphasis on damaging and smashing up other drivers. In fact, there’s a Destruction Derby-style mode included that’s all about twenty-four car smash downs, with the winner being the car that actually survives the brutal crashes. There are also special events that aren’t afraid to be a little bit silly with their vehicle choice (you’ll see what I mean when you play), whilst the online multiplayer allows you to duke it out with your buddies. Given that it was available for free on PlayStation Plus, there’ve been a decent amount of players to face off against online, so you shouldn’t struggle to find a race.
It all makes for a really fun racing experience that doesn’t take itself too seriously, with the wealth of events to compete in over the career each offering something a bit different to the norm. You might already know all that though, especially since Wreckfest has been available on the PlayStation 4 since 2019. This is the PlayStation 5 version though, which means it brings with it plenty of nice and shiny goodies that help make the frantic racing stand out even more.
“There’s a Destruction Derby-style mode included that’s all about twenty-four car smash downs, with the winner being the car that actually survives the brutal crashes.”
Firstly, the game looks bloody impressive throughout. You can see that the lighting and particle effects have seen a real improvement over the original, whilst the improved textures bring extra detail to both the vehicles and tracks. Whilst it naturally makes races look more realistic, it also adds a bit more authenticity to the way that vehicles respond to the track… you know… leaving tire trails, extra destruction, and getting filthy. It’s a minor detail, but it’s the sort of thing that makes Wreckfest’s action all the more impressive.
It also runs at a silky smooth 60fps in a 4K resolution, ensuring there’s a smoothness and fluidity to all of the racing fun. It’s clear that a lot of effort has gone into making Wreckfest both look and feel wonderful to play, with the next-gen version of the game acting as more than just a simple face lift.
It has also taken advantage of some of the PlayStation 5’s hardware features, with the loading times feeling almost non-existent when playing. Whilst I’ll admit that I don’t really remember the PlayStation 4 version of the game having substantially long loading times, the five or six seconds that it takes to get into a race here is astounding. What’s even more impressive is the fact that the game supports Activity Cards, with players able to get right into the action from the PlayStation 5 dashboard in almost no time at all. I always wondered how much advantage I would take of the PlayStation 5’s Activity Cards when they were revealed, but they suit games like Wreckfest perfectly.
“What’s even more impressive is the fact that the game supports Activity Cards, with players able to get right into the action from the PlayStation 5 dashboard in almost no time at all.”
Whilst it takes advantage of some features blissfully though, the DualSense’s haptic feedback is underutilised. I was hoping to feel the clanging metal of the chaotic crashes in the palm of my hands (especially after being impressed by its use in Dirt 5), but everything just felt a little bit ordinary – especially with the adaptive triggers, which were underused. It’s not a deal-breaker because I know the feature can prove bothersome for a lot of players, but it feels like a bit of a wasted opportunity given how frantic (and crash-filled) the racing action of Wreckfest is.
Still, it doesn’t stop it from being a really impressive next-gen port and one that feels like it actually builds off the base game. There are enough improvements to justify checking the game out, even IF you didn’t manage to grab it for free, whilst returning gamers will certainly want to see the improvements that have been made. It should be noted that it isn’t a free upgrade though, with a £10 fee to see all of the new additions for owners of the PlayStation 4 version of the game. It’s a bit of a shame that it couldn’t be free, especially given the age of the game, but at least players won’t feel short-changed given how much better it feels to play.
Wreckfest offers a mighty impressive next-gen upgrade, with almost all facets of the PlayStation 5 taken advantage of to make the game better. It looks slicker, it plays smoother, it’s packed to the brim with extra detail, whilst the faster load times make it easier to dive right into the action. It also just so happens to be a whole lot of fun to play… what more could you want from a chaotic and destruction-filled racer?
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Platform(s): PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC
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