Controls can really make or break a game, and while many games manage to impress, some of them also fail to address one of the most vital things there is – yep, controls. It’s almost as if the developers didn’t do any sort of testing, and just churned it out without adding any spirit in the game. These issues are mostly prevalent with most iOS games and it’s also one of the main reasons why I sometimes loathe many games on that platform.
So, with that intro aside, let’s talk about this game – Wheels of Destruction. What exactly is it? Well, it’s a car combat game. Yes, another one. And if you remember I reviewed this another PSN exclusive called Smash ‘n’ Survive. The gulf in quality between these two games is insane, and it also makes me appreciate game developers who know what they’re doing, and try to maintain a decent level of quality.
In Wheels of Destruction, you are given a choice of five cars at the start of each game, and this game has to be played online because offline, it just feels sterile for some reason. But it is quite decent for a reasonably priced PSN game; the visuals which are powered by the Unreal Engine 3 brings a distinct Unreal Tournament 3-type look to the game.
Coming to the controls, there is a big learning phase here. On paper it seems simple, but when you consider it’s a fast-paced game, there is a big learning curve, and this learning curve is what will make or break the game for you. The problem is the left stick is not only used for maneuvering the car but also adjusting the direction it is facing. You can press the X button and realign your car fast, though.
Usually car combat games have complicated controls, and most buttons are used again in complement with other buttons to accomplish a different result, and when you look at something like Twisted Metal, the controls on offer there is sublime so when you encounter less optimized controls, it very much becomes an annoying factor. As I said the learning curve is on the higher side due to these issues, but there’s no reason to worry if you are patient enough.
There are plenty of modes on offer here: Deatchmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and this is one the main reasons why the game should be played online. There is no single player mode to speak of, but you can play offline and pick any modes or maps. There are five maps here set in different countries, and they are quite nicely designed. It gives off an Unreal Tournament vibe as I mentioned earlier, and the visuals are generally very pleasant and colourful.
Once you have gotten used to the controls, you have to learn the maps as well. The spawn points for different items and their locations need to be known before you can properly gain an advantage over your opponent. The level design is actually really nice, so one area leads into another and you can sometimes get lost because of all the different paths. There are also teleportation walls built into the levels and usually serves as an escape route if you are being followed.
Death comes easily in this game. One close range shot using the L1 button can result in a frag with “One Shot” words coming onto your screen, and when you are on the giving end, it feels really good. There really should have been a decent tutorial in this game, though. Many people may get confused since the controls can be an hindrance initially. The reason I keep harping about the controls is because the auto-lock feature while helpful, can completely disorient you if you do not know how to re-align your car.
There are five vehicles available to you, mostly divided into different classes – from heavy to light, and it’s the standard heavy cars are slow but take more damage and vice versa. The selection of cars are disappointing and most of them feel the same. There is a boost ability as well, but it feels to run out very fast and that limits the different gameplay stunts you can do. The game can be described as lacking in unique content, but considering it’s a PSN game, maybe I’m asking too much, but it does get boring quickly.
Gelid Games has done a decent job when you consider the visuals and the technical aspects of the game. It’s in some places really impressive, but when you look at the controls, there is a huge disappointment not because they’re terrible, but because it presents a big learning curve and for a vehicular combat game that’s a big no-no. The game is fun in places and if you’re an avid fan of the genre, it could result in a worthwhile investment provided you play online, other than that, it is pretty unremarkable.
This game was reviewed on the PS3.
The visuals are good. The tracks are well designed. There's fun to be had in the online mode.
The learning curve is high. Content is less than expected. The cars feel the same visually.