Game: Wrecked: Revenge Revisited
Developer: Supersonic Software
Publisher: 505 Games
Available on: Xbox LIVE Arcade & Sony Entertainment Network (Reviewed on Sony Entertainment Network)
I really wanted to fall in love with Wrecked, the people behind it were responsible for the decent Micro Machines V4 and, of course, the slept on Mashed, to which this is something of a spiritual sequel. Playing the super Motorstorm RC had really whet my appetite for some more stylized isometric racing, this time with the added spiciness that weapons bring. Sadly, Wrecked is something of a disappointment.
Racing little cars around short, twisty tracks is the order of the day. There are six tracks, fashioned straight out of Racing Game Clichés 101 (ice level, desert, jungle, etc). The tracks look nice and visually pleasing, to be fair, and some of them feature obstacles and ramps and different pathways, but they just aren’t long enough or memorable enough to make you really care. You think of the classic videogame race settings, the SEGA Rally mountain stage, the Rainbow Road, the night racing stages from Gran Turismo, and you soon realise that Wrecked just features fairly unimaginative scenes with a choppy frame rate and an at-times bonkers camera.
The racing itself is fun to begin with, until you realise just how little variety there is, and how short the single player experience truly is. Solo racers get a series of trophies to compete for. There are four categories, which cover speed, weapons, skill and a special “elite” set of challenges. Speed trials feature races against three ghost vehicles representing bronze, silver and gold, with the simple aim of going round each track as fast as possible. Weapons modes introduce the in-game arsenal of toys, which range from a woefully inaccurate and underpowered machine gun, to the virtually useless plasma cannon. Some of the weapon trials require you destroy the three opposition cars within two laps of the circuit with whatever weapons are collectable in that stage. There are some variations on the theme, such as a level where certain areas of the track will trigger a missile air strike, and almost certainly a game over for you. Skill and elite modes feature stuff like collecting as many items as possible within a set number of laps, and there is even one level which places you in the Keanu Reeves-esque predicament of having a bomb strapped to your vehicle.
The 24 challenges on offer are fun, and you will pick the game up very quickly, the problem is, they are too easy, and once you have beaten all of them, that is it as far as single player mode goes. That’s right folks, even after you are teased by the fact that you can lay your hands on weapons and barge the opposition cars off the track, there is no dedicated single player battle racing mode.
There is a multiplayer though, right? Well, yeah, there is local and online multiplayer, but there are issues. Rather than sensibly split the screen up, locally, all players use the same screen. You fall behind at any time, and you are eliminated. This also happens during online mode, which is crazy. Once you get eliminated, you can then idly call in missile strikes on the remaining players, which is an annoying and grating idea that spoils what is already a lag-filled mess with poorly populated leaderboards.
I mentioned the camera earlier. When it sticks to a straight-up, overhead viewpoint, it is fine. You look at the brilliant Motorstorm RC, or even one of my retro favourites from yesteryear, Neo Drift-Out. They didn’t have to mess around with the camera to give you a good view of the action. Wrecked has a camera which behaves like a miscreant schoolchild, ripped to the gills on blue Smarties. One minute you are happily negotiating a bend, then all of a sudden, ZOOOM, the camera suddenly changes the viewpoint, which throws you out of sync, even once you become more familiar with the tracks. The worst offender is the second stage, where the camera goes snooker loopy on the very first bend, leading me to drive straight off the edge of a cliff for the first few goes. You cannot alter the camera in any way manually.
Controls are also an issue. Accelerating and cornering are fine, as are brakes, handbrake and weapons, the black sheep is the turbo. You will need the turbo in order to beat the game, and will need to use it frequently. So you would think that a face button, or unused should button would handle the turbo duties, right? Wrong. To activate your boost, you have to tap brake once followed by a double tap on the accelerator, surely the most idiotic command ever conceived in a racing game, particularly when playing on a console with a controller that has ten buttons to pick from. Amazingly, one button has been wasted on a completely useless “taunt” command, which will set off one of a clutch of pre-recorded insults, one of which is a crude boast of having undertaken sexual relations with the mother of your opponent. I expect these were included for the online mode, but seeing as nobody would have any idea who had triggered an insult, their silly inclusion is baffling.
VERDICT: Limited is the best way to describe Wrecked: Revenge Revisited. For the high price being asked, it simply doesn’t represent value. I conquered the 24 challenges in under an hour. The online mode is poor, and if you want local multiplayer racing thrills of this ilk, you would be better off digging out a Mega Drive and a copy of Micro Machines II. Camera issues, annoying sonic touches, dopey control scheme and some crap weapons just add to the annoying mire.