Wreckfest launched on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, bringing its over-the-top brand of destruction derby racing to consoles. The game brings physics bending crashes and destruction to racing fans looking for some carnage in their ride. By most accounts, THQ Nordic and Bugbear have designed a pretty great game if Steam is to be believed.
That said, Wreckfest isn’t the only game letting us destroy our vehicles or the world around them on our way to the finish line and it got us thinking about the good games that came before. Here’s some of our favorite destructive racing games alongside Wreckfest.
You can’t really go wrong with classics. As games entered into the 3D arena, Destruction Derby was there in 1995 to give us our first taste of vehicular car combat. Coming out of Reflections Interactive, Destruction Derby was exactly what you’d expect. Players were dropped into an arena and their goal was to do more damage to the other cars than the other cars did to them. It wasn’t much more than that, but Destruction Derby did set the table for a lot of great games that would come after it. In a world that hadn’t even seen its first Twisted Metal yet, Destruction Derby is the grandfather of modern vehicular destruction games.
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Burnout was zany in a lot of ways and hands-down one of the best arcade racers of its generation, with many of the games still standing up to the test of time now. Where Need For Speed and Gran Turismo was aiming to give players some of the most realistic racing sims possible, Burnout flew in the other direction with car tricks and wild tracks that reminded of some of the best parts of games like Cruis’n USA. That said, when Burnout 2: Point of Impact introduced Crash Mode, the game took on a whole new level. Here were these vehicular puzzles where the goal was to do so much damage or destroy very specific things by using your car as a battering ram. Crash Mode made for some of the most ridiculous fun you could have in a driving game and would become one of the focal points of the Burnout series for fans everywhere.
Eventually, Crash Mode was taken out of Burnout, much to the chagrin of many fans. And so indie developers Three Fields Entertainment – a studio of ex-Burnout developers – banded together to give the people what they wanted. Danger Zone isn’t exactly a racer. It’s Crash Mode from Burnout expanded into a whole game. Across dozens of scenarios, players are tasked with taking their car and executing the most decadent vehicular destruction possible. The sheer spectacle of Danger Zone is a delightful cornucopia of explosive metal and rubber. It’s limited in its experience, but if you were playing Burnout for Crash Mode, Danger Zone was made just for you.
If we’re going to talk about Wreckfest, we of course have to talk about what led up to Wreckfest. FlatOut was Bugbear’s long-running series before they turned their attention to Wreckfest and it shows in many ways. Through the years, the FlatOut games brought us an evolving level of destruction derby racing that ran the gamut from vanilla sprints to the finish line and went as wild as mini-games where you crash your car and launch your driver out of the vehicle at target spots. One of FlatOut’s sheer claims to fame was the fact that drivers in vehicles were as much apart of the experience as anything else, so ragdoll physics were applied to the person inside the car and reacted accordingly when high velocity crashes would happen. For years, this made FlatOut gameplay a cavalcade of ridiculously destructive and wild moments and paved the way for what we now have in Wreckfest.
Developed by Black Rock Studios of the MotoGP and ATV Offroad Fury games, Split/Second is maybe one of the most ridiculous games on this list. On the surface, it’s a passable arcade racer with some solid visuals and flair. You can race a race clean and get across the finish line in first place if you want, but… then you’d be missing out on half the game. You see when you raised a meter in Split/Second, you could activate Power Plays to wreck other racers. These had every effect from single explosions to toppling over whole buildings on the track. By timing it right you could unleash swaths of destruction on your opponents if they were unfortunate enough to group up and be caught in the wrong place. As far as destructive spectacle, you can’t get much more wild than Split/Second and the outrageous car wrecking opportunities it offered.
These were some of our favorite metal twisting driving games from over the years, but there’s no sleeping on Wreckfest either if you liked any of the games above. It’s been out on Steam for PC for a while and as of August 27, 2019, you can grab it on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 as well. If you want racing, but just want to enjoy some physics-bending destructive fun as you chase the finish line, then Wreckfest is a good culmination of the great games that came before it.
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