The top-down racer is by and large a thing of joyous unbridled fun that transcends all shift’s in what each new generation of player wants their gaming experience to deliver.
As today’s games reach ever deeper and more complex levels of brilliance and immersion the humble top-down racer still has enough about it to parp it’s horn, give a flash of the lights and grab the gaming collective’s attention.
So quite how developers, Supersonic, managed to so monumentally screw things up with ‘Wrecked Revenge Revisited’ is a mystery I’m sure even the razor sharp mind of Sherlock himself would have a job unravelling.
You see, here’s the thing, my first experience of the genre came in the mid-80’s via the brilliant Super Sprint, a game that by todays high standards looks as dated as it undoubtedly is. I was a mere child, obsessed with games and toys and Star Wars and Indy and, and……yeah, nothing’s changed. And that includes the fact that I’m hugely confident if I was to relive those heady days of space hoppers and Pannini stickers, Super Sprint would still be just as much fun. Unfortunately it’s that little big word ‘fun’ that Wrecked seems to have avoided altogether.
What players have been given with this release is a single player game that comprises of a number of dull, repetetive challenge stages, a grand total of six tracks and a multiplayer experience that, despite being the jewel in the crown, is far from polished.
The monotonous single player game places a big red tick in the boredom box. It begins to grate within the first ten minutes (I’m being generous) and feels more pointless than Andy Carroll’s football boots. There are four avenues of challenge for the player testing speed, skill, weapon technique and your overall ability. After completion you are awarded gold, silver or bronze depending on your performance and it’s that simple. With a high quality of gameplay it could have been a sure-fire winner.
Disappointingly with the gameplay here, it’s an outright loser. Dodgy camera angles, mundane tracks, mind numbing challenges and the fact that there’s never really any genuine sense that you’re even breaking the speed limit makes this less Mad Max and more Chitty Chitty Bang Bang………oh, without the fun of course and all this can be yours for the hefty price of 1200 MS points…ouch!
The challenges sent to test your skill can be overcome within a couple of hours play, in fact the biggest challenge is probably playing for two hours, two minutes can be a struggle. Said challenges include such tasks as collecting mines and placing them within circles or avoiding any contact with the scenery or towing a caravan round the circuit and well, you get the picture, the imagination has almost certainly never been less stretched.
But I’m being overly harsh here as there are one or two good points as well. The weapons are wide and varied and add vital entertainment, particularly in multiplayer, the cars have a number of little customisations to add that feeling of bond between gamer and machine while the graphics are vibrant and detailed. Erm, the sound’s functional, although the engine whine can shred nerves in seconds.
So what might keep a player coming back for more?
Here’s where you thought I was going to say multiplayer right?
Well unfortunately not. As I mentioned, the multiplayer is the high point here but when a game is otherwise devoid of any real bright moments it says little. To be honest if the game came in a retail box that may well have been the high point instead.
The multiplayer side is good for a while but when content is so limited it quickly heads down that well worn path into Dullsville.
Initially it’s quite engaging and a bit of a laugh to boot. Mayhem personified as races whizz by in a blur of colour, explosion and debris, but, connection problems and a combination of the issues that dog the single player soon bring the whole experience crashing back down to earth. It’s such a shame as it could have been something special for the part of the Live community aching for a taste of arcade racing doused in petrol and lit up with an RPG shot.
In a room of friends the game holds the attention slightly longer but it’s so slight that it almost doesn’t merit a mention..but I did anyway.
Overall then Wrecked is an opportunity missed. Following on from the much loved cult hit, Mashed, it should have been so much more but instead suffers from a lack of imagination, longevity and enjoyment. Rather than tearing up the track Wrecked ends up stalled on the starting grid. Although it’s name is quite apt.