Take on your friends or bots online in this new class based car combat game from Gelid Games. Wheels of Destruction tries to take car combat to the next level with mixing a dry class-based system with an arcade-like experience. The five different car classes turn out to not be much different at all. Boiling it all down to some are faster and some can take a little bit more punishment before exploding, the game does from its shortcomings, but there is still fun to b ehad in this average car combat game.
Each of the five weapons comes with both primary and alternative fire methods, as well as some having a special effect added on top of that. Using the flamethrower will set your opponents car ablaze for a short time and stops them from firing back at you., The starting weapon alternate fire, the shotgun, is a one-shot weapon at close range and will frustrate anyone when they explode from it. If you aren’t being one-shotted the entire match, which you will be, I promise you, you will be one-shotted from other weapons or juggled in the air with rockets that will leave you completely defenseless.
WoD has both an offline mode and an online mode, but for those who are looking for a single player campaign experience, be warned, there is no campaign or story mode. The offline mode is exactly the same as playing online, excerpt with bots. Think of it like Unreal Tournament where the focus is the competitive online matches. Bots can only be used online during unranked matches, if you are looking to just have fun and not worry about the leaderboards. If someone connects to the game they will replace one of the bots that are already in the match.
The controls are my number one issues with the game. Instead of using both analog sticks, it only uses the left stick while defaulting the right stick to changing class to spawn as once you die. Moving the left stick around will move the aiming reticle in a full 360-degrees. While there is nothing wrong with that, once you start to add acceleration into the mix, the controls feel clunky and awkward, more than anything. While you are aiming around trying to destroy the other cars, the car will turn itself to wherever you are aiming. The turn does not feel precise, as there is a delay between when you start moving the stick to aim and when you car begins to start turning.
I thought, well, maybe it’s just the default controls that are like this, and there would be an option for using both sticks, but sadly I was wrong. Using the default controls, brake and accelerate are mapped to the L2 and R2 button respectfully. This wouldn’t be a problem, but R1 and L1 are then used to fire the weapons, maybe it’s just me, but in all my years, I have never played a game where I have to use 2 fingers on each hand for the shoulder buttons. The other control scheme, which I would recommend highly, moves brake and accelerate to both L buttons and both fire methods to the R buttons, so this solves the problem of using too many fingers, it doesn’t solve the fact none of these actions can be mapped to the face buttons.
There are only five different battlegrounds to play on, Paris, London, Tokyo Seattle, and Rome. Each of these have suffered a different destruction, from the Tokyo skyscrapers crumbling beneath the waves of the ocean, to the Snow covered Seattle landscape. Each of the three different game modes, Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag can be played across all the maps. There are plenty of ramps to launch yourself across the maps and ways to get the drop on your opponents. Launching on the ramps is actually fun and enjoyable, excerpt for when you launch clear out of the entire level and explode. One spot in particular on the Toyko map, launches you into the air and into the water for a quick death. It seems that it was designed as a short cut across a wall, but I’ve never seen anyone make the jump.
The game uses the Unreal engine and surprisingly, it looks really good. The file size is small and the game loads pretty quickly. The cars look sharp and have destructible parts, from wheels falling off to the sides of the armor breaking apart. At one point I had one wheel left with my car on fire trying to hop my way across the map with the flag. Another time I was missing a wheel and producing sparks as I continued to blow up cars. Getting 11 kills or more in a row gives you the classic godlike prompt, just like in Unreal Tournament.
Wheels of Destruction is not a bad game, but an average game that never does anything new or special. The class-system is almost pointless due to the one-shot weapons and the lack of real differences between them. I still haven’t had any reason not to choose the middle of the road class, the Solider. Having just a tiny difference in health and speed is not enough to call it a different class. Online is a hit and miss due to the p2p nature of the matches. One match will be laggy as it can be, while the next works flawlessy with up to 12-players in a match. While it is only $10 and less if you are a PlayStation Plus member there is some fun to be had with the game if you are looking to play online, just don’t expect anything special, but a average car combat game with clunky controls.
Note: The Wheels of Destruction review was written based on the PS3 version of the game provided by the publisher.