The Racing Game for Today’s Troubling Times

As the virus forces many into their self-made couch-forts made out of bottled water and toilet paper one needs to find activities to keep cabin fever low. For gamers, forced to stay indoors is a relatively easy, and familiar, situation. Racing video games like Forza Horizon let us to live out our constant day-dreams of cruising at 170 mph in a Bugatti Chiron.

However, things are tense at the moment. The world is in a frustration position with growing paranoia as to what’s going to happen next. We need a different kind of racing game to cope with this. A game that can bring the sensation of hitting a punching bag with the skill of a racing simulator – we need Wreckfest.

 
Developed by Bugbear Entertainment and published by THQ Nordic, Wreckfest is a demolition derby racing video game that rewards road rage. A racing game where coming in 1st is often a second priority. These are the same creative minds that brought us nostalgia gems like Flat Out and Demolition Destruction. It is a straight forward game that doesn’t have an open world layout, doesn’t care about ranking, or caters to loot boxes. This racing game is all about causing Mad Max levels of mayhem. Every race is a dog flight where rivalries are formed, tempers flare, and vengeance is sweet.

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The secret to the game’s playability comes from its soft-body damage modeling that gives vehicles realistic crash physics. Unlike other car-related games were vehicles crash and tumble like Lego boxes, in Wreckfest vehicles slice through the air like Nitro Circus and land on impact like Jackass. Anyone who has ever played an online racing simulator has dealt with players who purposely try to spin out drivers or use other vehicles as bumper guards in the turns. Annoying in Forza, but encouraged in Wreckfest!

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Drive Hard. Die Last

Revenge becomes a more satisfying victory than winning during online racing. The joy of avoiding a Pit maneuvers by hitting the brakes and spinning out your rival instead. You’ll learn to dodge “torpedoes” which are racers who cry out Bonsai as they charge at you in hopes of slamming you into the wall at 90 mph. You’ll see racers driving the wrong-way playing chicken with the entire grid because if they can’t win – nobody can.

After months of playing, seeing the game improve with added tracks, vehicles, and updates, Wreckfest has prove to be a racing game capable of swallowing hours of your life. The great thing about a demolition racing game is that even if you get bumped into last place the odds are still in your favor. People will crash each other out and you will catch up. Savor those moments when you see that rival who spun you out stalled the middle of the straightaway as you line up the front end at full-speed.

The vehicle’s handling feel like the great Hollywood car-chase movies of the 1970s. Fast, loose, and mostly sideways in tracks that range from rally-cross, figure 8’s, dirt tracks, and stunt arenas. The vehicles range from the cool to ridiculous. Muscle cars, imports, hatchbacks, sedans, limos, pickup trucks, RV’s, a riding lawn mower, and even a motorized out-house.

Wreckfest finds a perfect balance between being a racing sim and a good old fashion arcade racer. The realistic handling adds to the difficulty. One overcooked drift, badly timed crash, or spin-out can result in being trampled by a stampeding herd of derby machines that’ll turn your car into a cube of your former glory within seconds.

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It’s not a perfect game. The in-game music is not what one would typically expect. It sounds like royalty-free music offered in a free video editing app. People have complained about servers being buggy at times. Vehicle offerings and customization is limited compared to other racing games. But, you can tune you vehicle to your driving style. But these are merely details that don’t distract from a very satisfying gaming experience overall.

This is the racing video game we need during these stressful times. When people are fist fighting over toilet paper because of something they read on Face Book you need a place to burn off the worried fueled tension. To get away from the scary news and think about all those four-letter-word drivers you saw on the drive home today. This is a good racing game that offers hours of playability, potential for DLC, and sucks you into heated rivalries. Its Fury Road meets Dirt 3.

Wreckfest is most fun racing videogame I’ve played in the last 5 years.