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Wreckfest (Xbox Series X Update) Review

Wreckfest (Xbox Series X Update)

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Release: //03/16/2021
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Developer: Bugbear
Genre: Reviews, XBox One Reviews, Xbox Series X Reviews
PEGI: 12+
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It’s the hidden gem of the bus smashin’, double-decker car ridin’, lawnmower racin’ genre – and now Wreckfest has got that shiny next-gen glean to go along with it.

Why aren’t more people talking about Wreckfest? It’s not only an awesome game, but it’s right there on Game Pass. Play it on PC, play it on Xbox – but play it.

With a new 4K/60FPS patch on Xbox Series X, it’s worth taking another spin around the block. Ready for a hoot and a holler?

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Stick on your seatbelt and get ready for the best bumpy ride you’ll ever have.

Wrecking Wreckfest

It’s only every so often that a game like this comes along. It was Destruction Derby on the PS1, and Driven to Destruction on PS2. Since then, the great American racer abandoned enthusiastic crowds of rednecks for shiny cars in exotic places. Not a motorised couch in sight (and yes, you read that right).

Wreckfest occupies a niche that shouldn’t be a niche. Destruction AllStars and the constant call for Twisted Metal proves there’s a demand for a less polished driving experience – preferably the kind where a stiff drink behind the wheel feels almost encouraged. You get in, you bash your opponents and, hopefully, you get out in first place. That’s how I play Forza too, but here it’s encouraged.

On top of destruction derbies and novelty events, there are also traditional races. Some of these are on courses in the shape of a figure of eight, meaning you’re likely to be in a few crashes. Others are on courses you’d expect in other games, although here bonuses are rewarded usually based on how much damage you cause.

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Point being, getting first here isn’t necessarily about making it over the finish line the fastest.

You know what helps with this kind of second-by-second smash action? A higher framerate, and luckily this latest next-gen patch allows for just that. The smooth 60fps kicks Wreckfest into another gear. It’s fun, and now it feels appropriately fast as well.

Upgraded

Wreckfest is an awesome game in its own right, and I’m surprised that isn’t more apparent in online conversations. Its 80+ Metacritic score has done nothing but get it a bit of a cult following, it seems. Hopefully this patch will propel it to the level it deserves.

On Xbox Series X, this game runs at 4k and 60fps. It’s not at the level of some of the flagship sims graphically, but it’s high enough up there that it’s not at all out of place on a top-end Oled. The 4k really makes everything sharp and clear, while the increased framerate gives it an energy it lacked before.

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The game’s “story” mode – a curated series of events – is the best way to see these upgrades. There’s plenty to do, and going through this will net you a good 13 hours or so of entertainment and 600+ gamerscore. There’s also online modes, cars to collect and tinker with and more to see, so serious racing fans could easily get more mileage out of this than I did.

On that point, I think the next-gen effect on racing games is worth mentioning here. It’s something I wrote about pretty extensively in my Dirt 5 review, and I keep getting reminded of it time and time again.

The faster loading has made the racing genre worth looking at for non-fans. Wreckfest took about a minute to load a race on last-gen consoles, and that’s been reduced to about a quarter of that on Series X. Your menu and loading times are no longer almost equal to your racing times. Paired with Quick Resume, that makes this an irresistible title to play when you have a few minutes to spare.

Wreckfest (Xbox Series X Update) Review

That’s true for a lot of games and all genres, but few suffered worse for it than racing games. Shadow of the Tomb Raider might have had 90 second loading times, but once an area was loaded in you might be in there for 15 minutes. Not true in Wreckfest.

There’s never been a better time to play this game. It looks and feels great, and is free to download with Game Pass. Pull out your Lynyrd Skynyrd pyjamas, open an ice cold beer and turn up the sound. It’s time to wreck some folk.

As of writing, no PlayStation 5 version of the game has been released.

 

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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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