A while back I received the privilege of reviewing Wrack! A cel-shaded first person shooter developed by Final Boss Entertainment.
My first impression from playing hours of Wrack!, besides the satisfaction of mowing through droves of aliens, was that the gameplay encompassed something I had been missing since my days of playing DOOM - no nonsense action.
In a world of games we get so caught up in the characters, the story and the visuals that we can become overwhelmed with the details. Wrack! brings back the fun and does it in a simplistic manner, trading the usual video game filler for consistent, stimulating carnage of otherworldly beings bent on taking over the Earth (right after Earth's military is dismantled no less).
The controls for Wrack! are very smooth. There were never any issues that I encountered with movement, handling the games weapons or the game's AI. The AI was in fact the scarier part of Wrack! as I found myself experiencing a lot of “oh crap” moments after dying from a robotic spider sneaking up behind me and exploding.
The boss fights were an entirely different beast and lacked the scariness of the NPCs, but still required a lot of forward thinking and strategy to overcome. This aspect broke up the fast paced action and made it a requirement to stop, think and strategize occasionally.
Handling the weapons is one of the biggest learning curves for the game. Besides getting used to the firing arc of the pulse rifle, you have to deal with managing chain kills and effectively utilizing the finisher power ups. This is problematic at times because there are areas where you'll slice through a crowd of aliens with your hot death delivering shotgun and get a 5x chain kill bonus that you end up wasting because there's no enemies left to destroy. However, using it properly just requires getting used to the timing of your chain kills.
As for the graphics, Wrack! brings back the old school appeal of games like XIII for the Playstation 2 by using the cel-shading visual style. In my opinion, this is an underutilized visual style that works well with Wrack! especially when that style is combined with the simple detail of the level and NPC designs.
The story, much like the visuals, is not breaking any norms, but it works well to establish the main character, Kain, as a man on a mission to not only halt an imminent alien invasion, but rescue his lady from what can be considered an otherwise one dimensional villain.
The soundtrack for the game features a few tracks that get your heatbeat going, which if you're a fan of first person shooters can help add a layer of intensity to the experience. The other sounds of the game aren't anything extraordinary and are tied into the NPCs.
In conclusion, Wrack! Is a truly enjoyable game. It presents a good balance of fun, action-intense gameplay that when played for hours on end, would probably be a bit overwhelming in terms of stimulation. The story, sound, visuals and overall gameplay combine fluidly to create a game that plays well on the fly, and and its good if you need to kill a couple hours without getting too heavily invested. Couple that with its $14.99 pricetag, and you can overlook the fact that Wrack! does not particularly improve on the first person shooter genre.
This game was obtained from Final Boss Entertainment and reviewed on the PC platform
Wrack! is a throwback, cel-shaded shooter for a bargain price that any avid gamer would enjoy.