Originally Published on the Official Blast Away the Game Review Facebook Page
Written by Dustin Murphy
-The cell-shaded engine provides a very unique and comic-like experience
-Fast paced, guns blazing, and swords swinging play style that variates from the monotonous gameplay of more current day games.
-Game hides ‘secrets’ in puzzle like search-and-finds that can be easy to get to once a path is found.
-Rather strong story that lets it feed off itself as the game develops over time.
-Parkouring, slipping, and sliding is not needed for this game, just pure fast paced mouse turning, and button clicking
-Levels seem short, which can be seen to some, as a downfall.
-Future chapters will be released as DLC, it will be unclear if this will have to be paid for.
When I first sat down with this game at QuakeCon 2014 after having been contacted by Final Boss Entertainments public relations, I grew interested in the game as I was introduced to more and more about it, but getting to sit down with it was an entirely new ballpark. Final Boss Entertainment doesn’t just aim at the first person genre like the more famed titles in the FPS genre Call of Duty or Battlefield does; Instead, Wrack looks to give us the fast-paced run and gun action we would recall if someone said DOOM or QUAKE. The game seeks to search, destroy, and shoot down the doors of any enemy base, for some this will remind you of games such as Painkiller or Rise of the Triad for those that remember them. This is a no-bullcrap, retro shooting is back and you better enjoy it kind of game.
Having obtained it thanks to the team at Final Boss Entertainment, I was able to sit down for hours at home and finally put my glasses on, grab my finest beer, and feel as if I were the man (not literally speaking of course). This game is one that has spent nearly a year in its Early Access state on Project Greenlight through Steam. Being on there as long as it did the game was capable of getting the first episode, which expressed nine levels of pure chaos and fun. Don’t forget dying, dying happens a lot, and dying is the name of the game just as we knew in DOOM as we hunted down any possible secrets within the areas we were given. If you’re like me though? Those first few levels weren’t enough, so instead, I went back for more punishment on higher difficulties.
With a no-holds-barred kind of attitude, I was able to go through each of the levels at an insanely high pace, until I died, and it was a death well earned. Who wouldn’t want more armor, higher kill combos, and well even a higher score? I know I sure as heck did! As I flew through the first nine levels, the game gave me something unique throughout it, a very comic book-style set of cutscenes that told me a tale of aliens raiding Earth for a device that would help them, but also a struggle within a non-complacent dystopian future. This leads to a story that is almost negligible, but the humour within it is quite compelling and will catch on. It shows that the development team had a lot of humour and fun making this game, and seemed to break the monotonous experience that many classic first person shooters derived from. As for those of you like myself who would rather play a game than capture a story, which Wrack made me want to do, but not because the story wasn’t humorous or dry, but because I wanted to slaughter more aliens in my path; a skipping the cutscenes option is available and was used with vigorously. With that said, the story is actually quite enjoyable, and was not ignored at all, but due to review pacing, it was something I had to come back to later.
There was something magical though, you may have caught onto, which is this little thing called kill combos and level scores. What are those for; you might ask. Well lets just state, they’re your end-of-level stats, which feeds on to the games leaderboard system, and had me going back for another dance with shotguns, plasma rifles, and well the sword. Who doesn’t want to swing a giant freaking sword anyways? With each kill combo, players can literally wrack up a score and make enemies scream at their mercy. This is something that made me pummel enemies until all that was left was their flickering corpse, an exploding barrel, and another graceful end to a cleared room; unless the explosive barrel got to me as well, which sometimes it did.
Now for those of you who are not interested into making fun of your friends just out of pure competition, there is an option for you, a speed run. What does this mean? You will have a time to clear each level as fast as you can, without dying, and claiming the speed run time, and posting it online even with a screenshot. This is something I could easily suggest you doing for just the mere chuckles, laughs, and well the knowledge that you are faster than your friends in the digital land.
Though the question of the day is not what it may seem, but it is quite compelling; just how much does Wrack offer you in just one single chapter so far? Quite a bit really thanks to the leaderboards and a speed playthrough. Though it’s not what I would say that Wrack is just about, no, it’s about action. I mean like 80’s action movie kind of action. This means at all times there is constantly happening, even boss fights, which are enjoyable on their own in a one on one encounter while learning their mechanics the entire time. Some of them are unfortunately not very friendly to those that are like myself and prefer to use the games hyperblade, which is reminiscent to DOOM’s chainsaw. The only downfall for some? The sword takes up a noticeable size of the screen – except playing Wrack-A-Mole with it is more than just satisfying – it turns enemies into a splatter fest in a single hit. Except bosses, don’t hit bosses with it.
Now we know you want to hear about content, especially after hearing about each chapter only containing nine levels. Fortunately for most of you there is something magical in the works; DLC episodes. With Wrack introducing more episodes in the future as well as weapons, it is not surprising that the game may still seem to be in the works pertaining to its story and content, but it is something that is happening. With the passion from Final Boss Entertainment – Wrack is a game that seeks to succeed, and thanks to the Workshop; it does.
Those of you like myself that grew up in the retro-FPS era will not be disappointed to know that this game is true to what it stands for, and will quickly lure you in with the ability to almost instantly begin painting the walls with bullet holes, enemy parts, and well giblets. Yes giblets are mentioned. Enemies in the game even will remind you of those classic games since the enemies have what feels like a no-instakill-allowed meter to them. They will not be throwing just grenades and hide behind walls, instead they are in the open and spraying very visible projectiles at you (memories of Quake, Hexen, DOOM, and Duke Nukem coming back yet? They should be). Much like classic games; you will collect armor, health, and ammo boxes, but also dodging all the way through in order to NOT get shot. This is also one that will test a PC player that still has their old-school helmet laying around and would like to once more wear it. I know I was when enjoying it and can’t wait to have even more reason to tighten the chin strap.
With putting the fighting to side, the game is graphically beautiful, and one that is admirable for what it has done. The game follows the graphical step that games such as Borderlands and the well known PS2 game; XIII. With that being put aside, the game adds itself into a rather amazing weave of destruction, chaos, and even beautiful lighting effects that can be easily noted as players rush through each stage while wracking up their combo scores. This is something Final Boss Entertainment should be very proud of since it works, and it works well. It gives a game a unique feel and one that can seemingly be seen as epileptic friendly, not saying test your luck, but it is definitely something that’s easy on the eyes.
For those wanting to know if the game has gotten any recognition yet; it has. With industry veterans such as John Romero and Keiji Inafune, which is astounding for a game and should be taken with a nod of respect. For those unfamiliar with the two should be. John Romero helped create DOOM alongside John Carmack back in the 90’s while Keiji Inafune was heavy at work creating the original masterpiece we know as Resident Evil.
Even with that said there is a bit of lackluster to the games duration; it’s short, very short. Within an hour and a half I found myself already zooming through the first chapter, but not without having died; a lot. Though there is something that makes up for it, which is the Steam Workshop. With having found out in an interview with Final Boss Entertainments Brad Carney; Wrack is very welcoming of user created content, which allows for the game to have a form longevity, but unfortunately, the level-editor has been getting a lot of DOOM fan-remakes. This is something while I can enjoy, I still want more of the base game. More story, more weapons, new enemies, and well more explosions. Even with that said, the game offers something unique that most indie games done, which is love and passion for what they are doing, which is why the Steam Workshop does make a good fallback option.
The only thing I would like to see is multiplayer at some point, which was something I learned in an interview is not out of the option, but not in a foreseeable future. The game itself is trying to be developed, grown into, but also lifted so that it can be a title that keeps at what it does best and remains that way as it moves on. With all this said, Wrack is game that can easily stand up against almost any of today’s Triple-A titles and be proud of itself for its unique and charismatic way of retaining itself as a Retro-FPS. With time it is a title that could easily earn itself a digital download or even a physical retail release on both the PlayStation 4 and XBox One. Till then, it is limited to PC, but it is an experience that everyone should think of getting into since it does not require a high-end PC to enjoy.
So what how many Wracks does this game earn? A solid 9 out of 10 points Wracked.
Readers, we do have a small thing to do! We have codes to give away, which are discount codes, and will let you get to play Wrack even cheaper. So how do you win one? Easy. We want to see your want to play the game. You can do this in the comments by giving us the reasons you enjoyed the golden age of the FPS genre! Let us know and we will choose several lucky winners to get Wrack at a discount.
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, MMO’s, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable and can’t be softened by even the biggest names in the gaming industry. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. To follow Dustin, hit him up on Twitter over at@GamingAnomaly, find him on his Google+. Wanna game with him? You can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.