If Global Warming had somehow created a disease that decimated the human race leaving only pockets of civilizations on a desolate Earth, what would you do? The answer is you would race cars. (more…)
It’s rare when the title of a game tells you everything you need to know about it. You really have no clue what you’re getting into when you play a game like Ico or Rage. Wheels of Destruction, however, tells you exactly what you want to know. You realize that there are wheels and destruction, so logically it’s a game about cars destroying each other.
It goes even deeper, however. Wheels of Destruction is a bland, boring and uncreative name that is totally uninteresting. It’s apt then that the game itself is a bland, boring and uncreative mess that has absolutely no reason being released in its current state. Read on to hear just how bad it gets
Wheels of Destruction is a competitive car combat game, much in the same vein as Twisted Metal. You spawn into an arena with the goal of either killing as many players as possible or trying to capture an enemy team’s flag. There are five different vehicles that you can choose from before the match starts or after you die and respawn.
In addition, there are five different arenas to choose from that are supposed to be post-apocalyptic versions of cities like Tokyo, Seattle and London. In reality, the cities look absolutely nothing like the cities they were supposedly modeled on. The most “modeling” they do is by having a giant clock in the middle of the London arena. In addition, they are all way too large making it extremely easy to not find your opponents. There is no real “story” to speak of. You’re just meant to assume that some disaster happened and now people are fighting to the death for some reason. In the recent Twisted Metal, the single player story was definitely a drawback, so in a weird way it’s actually nice that there’s no story.
There are only three different game modes, Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag, and these modes have barely any real customization to them. You can choose how many players there are in total, if you want car selection to be randomized or if you want to just play a match with the shotgun weapon. That is it. There are no options to extend or lower the time limit or maximum kill limits. Every match has a thirty player kill limit (save for the Capture the Flag matches which require you to capture the opposing team’s flag five times) and you’ll be lucky to reach that with the giant arenas.
With five different cars to choose from, you would think there would be some actual differences between them. However, the only true difference between cars is their speed. Each car has a health meter and for the larger, slower vehicles, this health is supposedly higher. However, each car seems to take the exact same amount of hits, so even if you are driving the bigger, bulkier car, you are taking a similar percent of damage as a smaller car would. With each car being equipped almost identically, it’s almost pointless to use anything other than the fastest vehicles.
Beyond the cars being almost identical, though, the biggest problem has to be the controls. Instead of being sensible and using both analog sticks, Wheels of Destruction maps both the camera and the movement direction to one analog stick. You have to rotate the camera along in order to rotate your car. This wouldn’t be a big issue if not for two major problems. The first is that your camera moves substantially slower than your car’s rotation speed. As a result, there are a lot of instances where you simply can’t see anything ahead of you until the camera finally decides to catch up.
The second problem, and perhaps most importantly, is that all of this is mapped to the left analog stick. If you haven’t been playing games for the past fifteen years, or so, this might not be an issue, but it’s completely counter-intuitive to move your left analog stick for camera controls. Worse yet is that the right analog stick does absolutely nothing. There’s no reason not to individually map the camera to the right stick and movement to the left. If you think there’s a different control scheme to change this, you’re totally wrong. There are two schemes and neither changes the analog stick movement.
If you want to play the game single player, you’re treated to some of the worst bot matches that have ever been put into a game. The AI specifically seems to be designed to track you and only you. For example, if you go into a game of Team Deathmatch, be prepared for all of your teammates to simply not move for minutes on end. They rarely attack the opposing team and when they do, they’re almost always killed. The opposing team, however, will do everything they can to track you down, but once again the arenas are so big that it’s extremely easy to lose them. Capture the Flag mode has the same problems with teammates actually driving away from the flag. Even in a straight up Deathmatch, bots will rarely attack each other.
Online play suffers from all of the issues that the bot matches have, as well. Arenas are far too big and there’s no discernible difference between vehicles. However, the multiplayer has the added advantage of having a completely moronic spawn system that allows for easy spawn camping. In Team Deathmatch, for example, one team will always spawn on one side of the map in three or four locations, all within close proximity to one another. As a result, if any opponents are on your side of the map, it’s extremely easy to have them simply wait for you to spawn into the game. It’s unbelievably frustrating and just poor game design. Add in the fact that when you are being attacked by the game’s flamethrower weapon your aiming reticule simply disappears and the result is an extremely easy to exploit game.
Wheels of Destruction is a game with almost zero redeeming qualities. There is absolutely no excuse for a game being released in such a broken and nearly unplayable state. Bot matches are zero fun because of poor AI programming and online matches are completely lopsided. Wheels of Destruction may be the single worst game available on the Playstation Network and with games like Hysteria Project available on the service, that’s saying a lot.
Twisted Metal (2012)
While it’s nice that there is no poor attempt at a story in Wheels of Destruction, at least Twisted Metal worked as a decent fun game with a sensible control scheme. The lack of any real variety in Wheels of Destruction makes any further comparisons between these games almost laughable. If you’re looking for a good car combat game, but don’t have the $60 to buy Twisted Metal, just wait for a price drop. Don’t subject yourself to total garbage like Wheels of Destruction.
Twisted Metal: Head On Extra Twisted Edition
If you don’t have the cash for Wheels of Destruction and have a PS3 with backwards compatibility, get Twisted Metal: Head On: Extra Twisted Edition. Though there’s no online functionality, it’s at least fun to play the single player. While the controls are a bit antiquated compared with modern standards, they are decent. You might even be able to find this game for cheaper than the $10 asking price of Wheels of Destruction.