What else can you say to a game that’s based on over the top Hong-Kong-action-like sequences but, “Lets get it on!” Wreckless is a game that has been made to highlight the often ridiculous, yet exciting car-based action scenes we’ve seen in the most crazy chases in the movie industry (the Asian ones in particular). The game is set it Hong Kong, complete with area specific landmarks and details of the real thing. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting, you’d recognize each area in a heart beat, it’d be like a re-visitation of sorts; except instead of going to see the sites, you are going to destroy them.
Wreckless really takes off in terms of excitement and fun-factor. I’ve come to find it quite amazing how much fun the whole experience can be. The game is presented in an almost cinematic quality that is accented with amazing graphics, and a lighting effects show that will keep you drooling for days.
In Wreckless, instead of your typical linear storyline, you take control of two anti-bad-guy duos trying to stop the Yakuza (Hong Kong mob) at every turn by killing any and all eruptions of their organized crime. The first two are beautiful, well endowed, scantily clad, and don’t for get cool ass police officers–named ?The Flying Dragons’–that don’t take any crap (my favorites, of course). The second stringers are wannabe secret agents named Chang and Ho, who are trying to infiltrate the Hong Kong underworld; you could consider these two the comic relief, because they’re bumbling idiots (but funny ones). Just as in any Asian action flick, there always seems to be a sort of corny humor-like theme (sub plot) running through it. And this case is no different; Bunkasha has got the Asian action film market style down to a tee. Including the crazy actions sequences, amazing lighting and particle effects, and an excitement level that’s through the roof with a few of their own added bonuses to boot.
The ideas incorporated into the story are very well executed. Since you are given two sets of two characters, your job is to play through both sets to get the jist of the entire game, and see how the story unfolds. You begin one mission with one duo; and in the opposite scenario, you play the same mission with a different objective than the other. Confused yet? Throughout the game the police officers are trying to stop the Yakuza, while the spies are trying to infiltrate the operations, and eventually stop them at the source. So in order for you to proceed through the game, you have to accomplish different things (like destroying a car as a yakuza, and vice versa, destroying all the yakuza before they get a chance to destroy the car. simple).
After accomplishing the tasks set before you, you are treated to a cut scene in-between each action sequence that you play. The levels start out simple and fairly short, but progress to become much more involving later on. The result ends up adding to multi-part stages that are separated by cuts scenes, and short dialog. Each level requires the player to master not only the terrain, but the maps of areas as well. The majority of then levels in Wreckless end up being quite difficult as you will rarely defeat one in the first 5 tries. For the most part, this is due to the fact that they are timed, and you must finish each task with in a certain amount to even have a chance at finishing the rest of the level. Don’t get me wrong, this is definitely a good thing, it raises the difficulty while making it fun at the same time. It’s a great idea, especially for a game that only extends the length of only 10 missions. Though you are basically playing each level twice, the game ends up on the short side of things, the plus side to this is that, Bunkasha has spent more time on interactivity throughout the levels, then quantity of them.
Within the first ten minutes of playing Wreckless you’ll come to love it, because you can destroy just about everything in the game short of buildings. It will come to a point–when instead of focusing on the mission–you’ll end up seeing how many, and what things you can destroy, and boy it’ fun. Since the game is based on a fairly real physics system, your car acts like you think it would for a game of this sort. It’s as more of an arcade style physics engine, based more on fun than reality (though there really aren’t power slides that prevent you from hitting the wall? a la Ridge Racer series). This game is as realistic as you’d want it to be. You’ll end up having to master the controls if you want to succeed in any of the missions, because you’ll be tested in both the precision and the skill of your driving throughout the game. Hopefully you’ll get the hang of it after spending hours crashing head on into cars, walls, and anything else full speed (believe me, you will!). What makes this an exciting adventure is that you get to see both the environments of Hong Kong, and the parts of your car destroyed. Just as you can destroy, mail boxes, street lamps, street shops, other cars, trees, etc?they can destroy your doors, front end, hood, trunk, and just about anything else on your car, and it’ll ‘still’ work perfectly, what else could you ask for?
The level of interaction is quite astounding, never have I had such a blast destroying with a car in a video game. When you crash into a pole or a rail, you get treated to a nice clashing of metal sounds, and an orange and purple like light show, sparks fly, you then end up with a grin on your face (now only if you could do it to people). In each and every mission your car along with the surroundings of Hong Kong will be destroyed, but you will have stopped the crime!
The gameplay, as I’m sure you have figured out by now for the most part is cat and mouse, you hunt down and destroy enemy, the Yakuza cars. There is an occasional mix of certain racing aspects, however its nothing too special. The longer and more you play, the more complicated the missions get, but the premise remains the same; destroy everything (but hey! I’m not complaining). One of the coolest things in Wreckless are the vehicles you get to drive; everything from pimped out sports cars to devastating humor-like SUV’s. The hidden goodies only add to the already tasteful flavor of the non-stop pulverizing action.
After you’ve completed a level successfully, or unsuccessfully for that matter, you are treated to a beautifully rendered replay of all the damage and havoc you caused. The experience is then ruined be the fact that you can’t edit it at all, meaning no rewind, slow mo, pause, or anything you might be accustomed to. Can’t have everything you want though I guess.
I was quite impressed with what Bunkasha pulled out of the Xbox, the game runs at a constant 30fps (granted its nothing super-special, but wait till you see it in motion), and they’ve used a number of blurring, particle, and lighting effects to better represent the world of a Hong Kong action stunter. They’ve done a very good job, more than I could say for a number of other developers.
Now comes the part I always tend to save for last, the faults. While Wreckless doesn’t necessarily have them in large numbers and groups, they are present, firstly, secondly and thirdly, what’s the deal with the sound? The music is pretty corny, ok, so most HK action flicks are, but come on, I could have easily made a better groove to smash to than what they present. The music is quite cheesy, and a very disappointing effort in comparison to the rest of the game. That’s not to mention that you can’t switch out the ST and use your own soundtrack like most Xbox games allow you to do nowadays. Sound effects are okay for the most part, but when compared to the graphical content, the sound has been done no justice. Maybe the people at Bunkasha have an eye for style, but not an ear for it.
All in all I have to say Wreckless is an ideal choice if your looking for some good wholesome action/destruction. Much to my surprise and pleasure the game left me speechless after the first play through, it gave me that I’m going to be playing this a long time feeling. Though I hadn’t quite been following any of the hype surrounding the title, I was quite pleased to receive it. Not sure how many more of you have ?slept’ on it, but I suggest that if you’re a fan of cars and destruction, you definitely pick this one up. I’m almost willing to say that this title is a must have for Xbox owners. It presents a new stylish idea very well, and is better than the majority of current Xbox titles. This game is sure to please anyone who’s up for challenge of playing it.