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Review

Wheels Of Destruction Review (PSN)

A right pain in the class.

The car combat/battle racing scene may have experienced a recent surge in popularity thanks the acclaimed return of Twisted Metal, though casting an eye on the niche genre’s digital offerings tells a different story altogether.

Supersonic’s Wrecked: Revenge Revisited veered off in a number of keys areas with Version 2′s Smash N Survive barely managing to claw its way past the starting line. Despite being the most promising of the lot, Wheels of Destruction from Gelid Games proves to be just as flawed; it may not be a complete write-off, but the misleading premise and mind-numbing gameplay warrant a one-way ticket to the scrapyard.


You won’t find us rushing the to defence of the two previously mentions car combat games, though even at their worst, they still have something Wheels of Destruction does not – a comprehensive, albeit uninspiring, single player component. Gelid Games has made the textbook error of clumsily tossing all of its eggs into the rather battered-looking, unstable multiplayer basket, the game’s success thereby hinging on its already dwindling playerbase.

That’s not to say Wheels of Destruction is completely devoid of any single-player content: you can still set up any of the three match types across the five available maps with bots, though it feels primitive, the game’s shameful “class” system only adding to the disappointment.

The notion of adopting a specific class or role in a team is one that likely appeals to any online gamer worth his/her salt. However, if you were hoping to start popping up sentries, sniping foes from afar and healing team mates, then you’re barking up the wrong tree, no matter how misleading Gelid’s pre-launch promotions have been.

The studio has even gone as far as comparing Wheels of Destruction to Unreal Tournament and Team Fortress 2, bold claims that are made completely transparent the moment you hit the throttle.

There are five different types of vehicle but to say there are any real distinctions between them is preposterous to say the least. There are no unique abilities here or nuances in the gallery of weapons available; this so-called “class” system simply boils down to the two following statements:

  • Some cars go faster than others.
  • Some cars can take slightly more of a beating than others.

In the field of battle, things only get worse. Instead of sticking with the tried and tested control schemes its contemporaries have adopted for years, Wheels of Destruction commits itself to an archaic system in which the camera and steering become one; wherever you drop the crosshair, that’s where your heading.

The actual vehicle-on-vehicle combat fares no better, unfortunately. No matter which of the five weapons you happen to be carrying, all of them use the same hand-holding autolock system that saps any sense of skill or precision from the game.

Especially in the case of Twisted Metal, what makes the car combat genre so appealing to online gamers is the sense of satisfaction after unleashing a well placed shot or narrowly avoiding certain death.

In Wheels of Destruction there are no such instances; players simply make sure their opponent is in sight and then hammer down on the fire button until a cluster of pixels appear, rubbing their ego in the most unjustified of manners.

Though it’s not really much consolation, the game looks stunning in places. Even in using the Unreal Engine, the file size for Wheels of Destruction is surprisingly small, the rapid loading times only adding to the technical splendour. They may be aesthetically pleasing, but no amount of polish can gloss over the sporadic design of the game’s five maps, not to mention the unfortunate lack of vehicle customisation.

Pros:

  • Looks pretty.
  • Trophy-like challenges at least give players something to do.
  • Fast loading, relatively few bugs.

Cons

  • “Class” system is completely transparent.
  • Combat is far too simplistic.
  • Only four weapons (excluding default minigun.)
  • Substantive singleplayer is given the cold shoulder.
  • Maps are often too big and winding.
  • Online progression is limited to leaderboards.

It may be technologically succinct but in neglecting the needs of solo players and bypassing what makes the car combat genre so engaging, Wheels of Destruction leaves an unmistakably sour taste. If you’re gagging for another arena-based car game post-Twisted Metal, we’d strongly recommend hanging around for Psyonix’s SARPBC 2.

Score: 3/10

21 Comments
  1. Deathbrin
    Member
    Since: Aug 2009

    Thanks for all the effort. :)

    Comment posted on 02/04/2012 at 15:02.
  2. stuarth51
    Member
    Since: Jan 2010

    Bottom line intrigues me, does anyone have any news on the progress of SARPBC2? Really looking forward to it, love the first one.

    Comment posted on 02/04/2012 at 15:14.
    • SharpShooter88
      Member
      Since: May 2010

      It’s in progress, but last I heard Psyonix were having trouble with finding a publisher. Looks to be some way off unfortunately, I’d be shocked to see it this year.

      Comment posted on 04/04/2012 at 00:34.
  3. Sympozium
    Member
    Since: Aug 2009

    If only Full Auto had another chance I tought that was a decent at the time, just a shame it would’ve been a commercial failure back then.

    Another pass to a car combat game, not the best recently.. come on stop wasting the space on PSN and make it at least interesting. >.>

    Comment posted on 04/04/2012 at 00:23.
    • ron_mcphatty
      Member
      Since: Sep 2008

      Do you remember Interstate 76? What a game!

      Comment posted on 04/04/2012 at 07:27.
  4. yogdog
    Member
    Since: Feb 2010

    This article went up the other day, right? Am I getting de-ja-vu? I’m scared!!!

    Comment posted on 04/04/2012 at 00:28.
    • ron_mcphatty
      Member
      Since: Sep 2008

      I’m scared too, I’m positive you’re right but I can’t find the evidence. The article seems to have travelled forward in time!

      Comment posted on 04/04/2012 at 07:24.
      • McProley
        Member
        Since: Aug 2011

        Yeah, look at the date and time of the comments further up

        Comment posted on 04/04/2012 at 08:03.
    • KeRaSh
      Member
      Since: Nov 2009

      Phew… I thought I was the only one who was confused by this!
      Now where is the next phone booth so I can exit the Matrix?

      Comment posted on 04/04/2012 at 07:33.
      • yogdog
        Member
        Since: Feb 2010

        There’s one nearby, see you on the other side, Neo.

        Comment posted on 04/04/2012 at 08:07.
    • Tuffcub
      On the naughty step.
      Since: Dec 2008

      Glitch in the Matrix

      Comment posted on 04/04/2012 at 07:58.
      • RankJunkie
        Member
        Since: Apr 2012

        There is nothing to see here. Move along.

        Comment posted on 21/04/2012 at 04:37.
  5. aerobes
    Member
    Since: Aug 2009

    I thought this looked alright back when a trailer was released. Shame it seems to have turned out so lacking.

    Comment posted on 04/04/2012 at 00:49.
  6. nofi
    One for all.
    Since: Forever

    Hi guys.

    The embargo for the review moved back but the message wasn’t clearly conveyed as Kris is off and he normally schedules our features and reviews.

    We pulled the review at the request of the publisher’s PR and rescheduled it for the 4th, today.

    Hope that explains it all.

    Comment posted on 04/04/2012 at 08:36.
    • Youles
      Member
      Since: Feb 2011

      I’m surprised they didn’t ask you to pull it altogether given the score.

      This did confuse me a bit this morning, I knew I had already seen it. It’s early, I need my coffee.

      Comment posted on 04/04/2012 at 08:43.
  7. carson321
    Member
    Since: May 2009

    it does look pretty………

    Comment posted on 04/04/2012 at 09:34.
  8. Foxhound_Solid
    Is a smart cookie.
    Since: Dec 2009

    Ouch…

    Comment posted on 04/04/2012 at 16:35.
  9. PPK
    Member
    Since: Apr 2012

    > Cons
    > “Class” system is completely transparent.
    Are you sure? Try to win on weakest class engineer.

    > Combat is far too simplistic.
    :)

    > Only four weapons (excluding default minigun.)
    8 weapons. Combined into 4 for fast switch.

    > Substantive singleplayer is given the cold shoulder.
    Ok, agree.

    > Maps are often too big and winding.
    Too big? Try it not alone before release, try it with 11 other players.

    > Online progression is limited to leaderboards.
    Ok, also agree.

    Comment posted on 04/04/2012 at 19:57.
    • Jim Hargreaves
      Member
      Since: Nov 2009

      When Gelid openly compared WoD’s class system with Team Fortress 2′s, one would assume that an “engineer” would have abilities that reflect the “class” name such as ally repairs, sentries etc. Not that it would be slightly lower in health than other vehicles.

      There are 4 weapons, but 8 different attacks. Even with secondary fire, it doesn’t feel as comprehensive as other car combat games.

      Comment posted on 07/04/2012 at 10:03.
    • RankJunkie
      Member
      Since: Apr 2012

      The review is pretty accurate. I have tracked 4 reviews of the game, average score 48.75% here: http://www.rankjunkie.com/games/ps3/wheels-of-destruction-world-tour

      Comment posted on 21/04/2012 at 04:39.
      • nofi
        One for all.
        Since: Forever

        Thanks for including the review.

        Comment posted on 21/04/2012 at 07:04.

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