Review: Wheels of Destruction
With Twisted Metal, Smash and Survive, Wheels of Destruction out and Fuel Overdose coming soon we’re certainly in no short supply of car combat games. You can argue quality between these games but the allure for something like Wheels of Destruction is in getting a car combat experience at a budget price. And as the saying goes you get what you pay for. Wheels of Destruction isn’t a great game and at times it’s not even good but the foundation is there; it’s just a few slip-ups that keep this one from being enjoyable.
Wheels of Destruction has five maps, five classes and three game types. There’s no sort of campaign mode or anything of that nature. You either play against bots or you play online. The offline bot matches at least ensure that you’ll have a full match going quickly but I can’t say that I’d ever recommend it. Playing the Team Deathmatch and Capture the flag modes I couldn’t help but notice that the opposing team seemed much smarter than any of my teammates. Not only that but they were able to maneuver and aim in a way that’s way more difficult than it should be for human players. Capture the flag in particular felt like one person against six. My team rarely made a conscious attempt at going after the flag while I was left to do most of the work myself. That being said, the offline play being there is at least nice and if nothing else is good to try and figure out how the controls work in the game.
Unfortunately the controls just aren’t that great. The main issue I take away is the fact that you don’t really steer your car. The left analog stick rotates the camera and the car very slowly turns in the direction that you point the camera. It makes turning more trouble than it’s worth and when you’re in the midst of combat actually trying to control your car is just plain frustrating. Another simple task like backing up is much more difficult than it really needs to be. There are ways to make the controls a little more bearable. You have an ability to jump which allows you to turn in the air much faster and you can hold down R2 and Square to turn around somewhat quickly. Either way you’ll still find that driving forward works fine but the moment you get into a firefight with another car the lack of control you have becomes much more apparent. This can be made even worse depending on what vehicle class you choose. If you’re using the Heavy it’s extremely tough to manage an escape if you get surrounded. It certainly doesn’t help that the boost has almost no effect on the Heavy class. Although I suppose my real complaint about the classes is that you either have a fast car with low health or an extremely slow car with loads of health. There’s nothing that makes me want to play one class over the other and I just don’t find the Heavy to be fun at all.
Online supports up to twelve players and plays out a little better. Playing against other people presents a fairly level playing field and at times can be fun. In one particular moment I found myself in a 1v1 match against another guy in CTF. I had possession of his flag but had just lost three of my tires. With just one tire I was completely unable to drive and so by using my jump ability and pressing boost while in the air I was able to hop all the way across the map and bring the flag back to my side. It only happened once but it was one of the few times that I legitimately had fun with Wheels of Destruction. Other times mostly saw many of us driving around and sticking solely to the over powered shotgun secondary fire and “one shotting” people as we drove by. While having a powerful shotgun is nice it’s a problem when the majority of other weapons feel far too weak. (Especially when the player is using the Heavy car class.)
Sometimes it’s easy to have fun playing online with friends even if the game itself isn’t all that great. Just talking about anything over mic can still add some fun into the game and make things a little more bearable. Wheels of Destruction can’t even get that right. The voice chat in the game is constantly cutting out to the point where I could hardly understand much of what Chris or Eric were telling me. I’m actually fairly confident that someone asked me a question and I responded with the answer to a totally different question that I thought they asked based on what I had heard. It’s not impossible to do but I would absolutely not recommend trying to hold a conversation with the voice chat in this game.
The five maps in the game (Paris, Rome, London, Seattle and Tokyo) are a little strange. I say this because with the exception of maybe one landmark there’s not really anything in these maps that would automatically make you think that you’re in that city. For instance Seattle is inside some sort of battle arena with the only nod to the city being in the background with the Space Needle leaning over to the side. Which is something you’ll only see if you actually try to look for it. The game is set in a post apocalyptic future but it feels like each map just had a city name slapped on it rather than the maps designed with the cities in mind. That being said I actually do like the map design in the game. There’s plenty of ramps to launch from and multiple ways to traverse a level. The only exception being Tokyo which has a launching pad that nearly everytime guarantees you falling into the ocean below as well as an underground area that is nearly impossible to navigate through.
As I said in the intro Wheels of Destruction is not great and sometimes it’s not even good. The foundation is there for something that could be better but it just feels like not a lot of effort was really put into this. The budget price might be alluring to some but you get what you pay for and something that retains the quality of something like Twisted Metal just isn’t here. I can’t recommend this game knowing that it’s likely you’ll be bored after just a few matches.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
What I Like:
- The Rome map is fun to drive around in.
- Custom Soundtracks
- Destructible cars
What I Dislike:
- Voice Chat is far too choppy
- Shotgun is too over powered
- Turbo has close to no effect when using the Heavy class
- Tokyo Map