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Gaming: Wreckfest is a worthy Destruction Derby heir

This is what Mad Max sees when he shuts his eyes at night...

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With many modern racing games dishing out penalties for track limits violations, avoidable contact and other tedious motorsport infractions, it’s refreshing to find one that actively encourages you to use the other cars as a high speed cornering aid. Wreckfest, which debuted on PC last year and has just arrived on Xbox One and PS4 in a confetti-like shower of metal, is exactly that game. This is what Mad Max sees when he shuts his eyes at night.

Rather than supercar exotica, Wreckfest serves up a selection of authentically pre-distressed vehicles for you to crumple further in races and destruction derbies. These are the sort of cars for which a windscreen is a frivolous luxury that would be reserved for the options list. That’s not to say there aren’t some recognisable shapes in there, with panel-beaten tributes to the Ford Mustang and Jaguar XJS amongst others. When the fastest car in your game is a Mk3 Toyota Supra with the tail-lights punched out, you know you’re in for a good time.

While we wouldn’t call Wreckfest a simulator per se, every one of those vehicles handles in a convincingly lolloping fashion as you launch them over muddy berms, raised kerbs and, occasionally, the rear quarter panel of the car in front. It does mean that in all the chaos of a banger race on a figure of eight circuit, the only thing you can blame for your early demise are the cruel, unfeeling laws of physics.

If even racing is a bit too structured for you, there’s also the Destruction Derby mode, perfect for fans of the classic PlayStation games whose bloodlust hasn’t been sated in decades. It presents you with an arena, 23 opponents and the best advertisement for wearing a seatbelt you’ll ever see.

The stuff you’ll actually be doing is patently ludicrous, after all there are few other racing games that palm you the keys to a combine harvester, but Wreckfest is never less than beautiful to look at and utterly engrossing to play. This is a game that takes something quite silly very seriously and there’s a lot to be said for that. Good, not-so-clean fun…

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