If there is one weakness I have when it comes to racing games, it is the top-down variety. I was a huge fan of the Micro Machines series on the original PlayStation. Now, anytime I see a game like that, I immediately want to play it. This is likely why Wrecked: Revenge Revisited caught my attention. Aside from having the most unfortunate name in recent memory, the game looked like it was boatloads of enjoyment just waiting on my download. Sadly, after spending some ’quality’ time with the game, my love for the genre can’t even overcome its issues.
Wrecked is actually a pseudo-sequel in some fashion. Developer Supersonic is actually no stranger to this genre, having created both Micro Machines 4 and cult classic Mashed, to which Wrecked is a spiritual successor. The team knows how to make this type of game fun. How that didn’t translate into this iteration, we may never know. You get six tracks out of the box (one of which is a blatant remake of one of Mashed’s most iconic venues) and a paltry single player that simply consists of challenges to train you for competitive play.
As I said, there are six tracks, and in single player they all consist of the same challenges. They sport generic names and locales that all feature various archetypal environments. Some of the challenges are amusing at first, but a lack of AI opponents for standard offline racing experience seems absurd to me. Every title in this genre should come packed with a simple race mode. It’s like creating a fighting game without an offline versus mode; it simply boggles the mind.
There is also combat to contend with in the game, adding some Twisted Metal style battles. I admit I had more fun in these races, but taking them into competitive mode is just downright frustrating. Unlike games like Mario Kart, where balance is everything, Wrecked instead hosts a stable of weapons that are simply overpowered, making it more about luck than skill. For example, the shocker weapons can completely turn the tide of any battle as it simply knocks racers off course, and usually off the track. Once you figure out which weapons dominate, there is little reason to utilize any of the others.
This would all be fine and dandy if the issues didn’t crop up. The most annoying is the camera. Top-down racers are designed for hairpin turns and quick reflexes. Wrecked handles the controls just fine, but when the camera spins around to attempt to give you a better look at the action, things get messy. You lose direction and wind up falling off the track. In this game, going off course is an instant loss.
Of course, the meat of Wrecked comes in its multiplayer mode, which can be played with up to four players both online and off. This is what it was built for, and to be fair, it is much more enjoyable when you get a group of players together that are of equal skill. The game reeks of chaos, which is definitely fun at times; unfortunately, it doesn’t come without issues.
The engine struggles once four players are onscreen at the same time. Frame rate takes a dip, and if you are online, lag persists to dampen your good times. Wrecked is also a proprietor of one of online gaming’s worst offenders: kicking you back to the menu after a match. The inability to just keep playing is something that irks me to no end, and it simply piles on to the other problems plaguing Wrecked.
Wrecked: Revenge Revisited is spattered with moments of enjoyment, but not enough to warrant its many problems. Factor in the hefty price of 1200msp, with day one DLC weighing in at another 400msp, and you have a barrier to entry that is already hard to surmount. Combine that with the fact that the game fights your enjoyment at almost every turn, and you have a game that is hard to recommend, even to fans of the genre. Try the demo first if you are still intrigued, but Wrecked simply doesn’t have enough to warrant its admission fee.
Review copy of game provided by publisher. Primary play on Xbox 360.