Title: Wrack
Platform: PC, Steam

Reviewed on: Windows
Genre: First Person Shooter
Players: Single player

Written by Whistler 19th May2014















These days fps’ tend to stick to a rather strict norm with regenerating health, two weapon slots, brown/grey textures, cutscenes and some sort of military setting; thankfully every now and then a handful of them go outside of the box.
Hailing from the very same Houston Texas as Id software, Final Boss entertainment comprises of one man development team Brad Carney who has notably created Doom’s source port Skulltag which allowed for multiplayer and extensive modding.
Having effectively increased Doom’s longevity tenfold of what it already was, Brad along with a number of contractors from around the world including Doom’s very own composer Bobby Prince; decided to take on the feet of making his very own first person shooter.












Wrack is a first person shooter reminiscent of old school shooters such as Doom, Quake and Duke Nukem with the added flair of the comic book inspired cel shadings of XIII, Borderlands and Catherine.
In the not so distant future the world’s finest minds create the Hyperion generator, a device allowing the world to create almost anything desired from pure energy effectively ending all war on Earth and creating a global utopia. However with no war means no armies, and no armies means when the aliens of the Arcturus system invade earth with their sights set on nabbing the Hyperion generator for themselves; all is not lost luckily as one man army, Kain Sager is here to save the day with an assortment of guns and two trusty companions at his side (via intercom, such aid, much help).

Visually Wrack sits somewhere in between XIII and Doom, with a combination of a colourful cel shaded backdrop and a traditional maze level design. Granted the visual aesthetics aren’t for everyone as they are rather simplistic compares to most shooters of today opting out of standard designs such as huge elaborate settings of mountain sides, war torn cities or military complexes for retro tile based labyrinths.

While the varied colour palette is a welcome sight it tends to feel rather bland, technically sound, but loses its spark after a couple of levels.

While there are secrets dotted in each map, and plenty of ammo/health pickups true to the predecessors of modern shooters that Wrack attempts to recreate, sadly Wrack is almost too true where there is no real incentive to explore the levels outside of trying to find the next mandatory checkpoint.
Where environments falter at the creativity side of things after a few levels so too does the enemy design,
at first they seemed relatively okay but after a couple of levels and a few piles of corpses the mobs of 3-4 enemy archetypes get a little stale too quickly. I’ll grant it may be my own personal taste but the blue and yellow suited aliens with the robot spiders just didn’t feel varied enough to me though that maybe due to their rather stiff animations.


























Wrack’s gameplay evokes much the same demons and delights of the old school shooters of the 16/32bit days as you go through each room and hallway blasting hordes of enemy formations as you dart around them firing as many bullets as medically recommended by your local psychotic surgeon.
Gameplay is fun and fast paced but does leave something to be desired;
particularly the balancing, while it is said if you crank it up to the hardest difficulty setting then you will have a true challenge on your hands, however it still doesn’t fix what I feel is a slightly too hazardous running speed and the rather non-threatening enemy. Now I’m no 13 year old brought up on nothing but Call of Duty and Halo, I have played Doom, its sequels, Duke Nukem and of course Quake (boy have I played the crap out of them), I know the old school protagonists are jacked up on speed and ready to run till they drop; however the speed our Kain Sager runs at is actually the true enemy of the game partially due to some rather cramped rooms.

As it stands Wrack is a fun fast paced old school shooter (enough buzzwords for you?) that with a few adjustments and a bit more content will flourish into a fully-fledged shelf keeper. While at the moment I feel Wrack is not worth the $15/£11 price tag, Final Boss entertainment could make Wrack a potential must-buy and is still in its early access phase where the devs are checking every feedback they get to improve the title every week or so.

Now all we can do is wait and see.


Pros:    

Enjoyable gameplay,

True to the old school vibe,

Colourful backdrops,

Level Editor,

Catchy soundtrack.


Cons:   

Somewhat bland level aesthetics,

Mediocre enemies,

Hazardous movement speed,

Technically sound but lacking creativity.

   

Written by,

Whistler

























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