One of the most interesting things about Wrack is its desire to provide an experience similar to those of previous generations. Experiences that a lot of gamers, like me, yearn for. A game that solely focuses on killing enemies, retrieving coins, collecting ammunition and getting the best score possible. This kind of style is an entertaining change to what I am usually used to and it’s refreshing to see a developer attempt something like this. The cel-shaded graphics are beautiful and combining that with the movement and FPS focus of classic Doom is a match made in heaven. Each level is beautiful and while it contains generally the same color palette of browns and blacks, the cel-shaded style gives enough to not make them feel too similar. Choosing this type of graphic design is a bold move by the developers, but on that pays off and adds a unique flavor to the game. Comparing Wrack to Doom and Borderlands is being too general. It’s not as simple as that, as Wrack is a game that’s doing next-generation things with last-generation gameplay. What Wrack is doing very well is its engagement with the community throughout the development of the game. Wrack is getting updates bi-weekly from the developers and they are constantly listening to feedback on how to make their game even more enjoyable. You’re going to be paying $15 for an unfinished game – but when it does release as a full game, you can be there to say you’ve had a part to play in its creation..
While there are only five weapons in Wrack – each are fun to use. You begin with the sword, standard pistol and shotgun and over the duration of the game you’ll end up with a pulse gun and rocket launcher as well. What I found the most enjoyable to use was the sword. It’s a brutal melee weapon that one-hit kills most enemies and is a fun way to progress through Wrack which makes me think that its very similar to battlefield 4 with the knife i remember also that bf4 hacks make it awesome too. I’d often find myself just using the sword because of how fun it really is – seeing creatures explode never gets boring and even though the two extra weapons introduced further into the campaign are great and all – nothing deterred my love for the sword.
Because Wrack is an Early Access game, there is really not much substance to it as of yet. The campaign (or the most current, up to date version of it) took me a little over an hour to complete. It consisted of four levels that take approximately 20 minutes each to complete – with the final three of them ending in a boss fight. The game has around four to five different enemy types, disregarding the boss battles, each are unique in their own way. There are the most common enemy, crab-like robots, which are everywhere. When I say that, I mean everywhere. They are in every single room you enter. Then there are the standard alien soldiers. There are three different soldier types, and as you progress through Wrack you encounter each type more often and sometimes all together. Each has a separate weapon and have an increased amount of health – making them slightly harder to take out. The crab robots and the standard alien soldiers are the most common enemies faced in Wrack. While there are both different variety types for each, it’s just not enough to diversify each level. Every section feels the same as before which is extremely disappointing. It’s only when the giant robots and flying drones are introduced that things become more interesting and entertaining. For enemies to feel stale and over-used only one hour into a campaign is a problem and needs to be addressed by the developers. It takes away from the games feeling significantly.
Stealth can be an interesting and engaging mechanic, even when part of a game that is otherwise creepy and awful like the hilarious Sneak King, but here it is solely purposed to gamify The Novelist when it doesn’t need it to be a rewarding experience. Flitting between light fixtures in a bid to conceal myself was neat at first, but quickly got tiring. In a few instances members of the family played some admittedly impressive defense and made it impossible for me to reach my goal undetected which in turn forced me to either hop about between the visible fixtures or sit on my hands and wait. My two cents? Play the story mode. I enjoyed The Novelist in a way I haven’t enjoyed a game before, but the actual game aspect was lacklustre. You won’t be missing out on much of by electing to go with a Story play through and might end up bypassing some frustration and enjoying yourself much more.You gain insight into The Kaplan’s thoughts through two means, venturing into their memories to view tableau instances and spy on an exasperating amount of hand written and drawn communication. When you sneak up behind Dan, Linda or Tommy before they notice you, the magic happens: watch Dan sigh in exasperation, stressed out on his office sofa, behold Tommy`s lamentations over the lack of friends in the area and bare witness to Linda compare her studio to a cage. These moments are always incredibly brief, but manage to add perspective. Emotions stirred, it’s up to you to decide who is validated by whispering in Dan’s ear while he sleeps, but who to put first is a heavy quandary and you can’t always get what you want.
Wrack is a first-person shooter developed and published by Final Boss Entertainment. Currently available on Steam under the Early Access program, it’s a game that takes everything a modern shooter has and throws it away for something more nostalgic and old-school in the vein of games like Doom, Quake and frostbite 3 that is the main engine of battlefield 4 hacks.
It’s something that’s admirable for a small studio to try – but with a lack of AAA features and graphics – does Wrack have enough substance and nostalgic value to influence a $15 purchase – especially at such an early stage of development?
You play as Kain – a man with love for guns, swords and silly jokes. The story is very basic and isn’t completely interesting. It’s more of a way to give you some substance as to why you’re taking on monsters and defending the planet. There are various instances that provide background to what you’re doing though which comes in the way of storyboard cut-scenes. They are an interesting way to provide some plot in-between levels and while they are quite interesting to read through – the story just shouts Duke Nukem. Man versus Monsters. That’s about it.
The gameplay in Wrack is the strongest part of the game. It’s fun, fast paced and is no doubt a style that has taken cues from old school FPS games that a lot of gamers used to play back in the 90s. The action comes fast and furious, with you being given simple orders – get from point A to point B. You get points for every kill you get and slowly build a comboif you manage to get X many kills in a small amount of time. Each kill is worth a certain amount of points and is added to your overall score throughout the duration of the game. At the end of each chapter you are also awarded a medal depending on how well you did – for example, getting every kill and beating the chapter within the prescribed time will net you at least a Gold medal which will give you additional points (and an achievement!) If you didn’t kill every creature throughout the chapter and went overtime you’ll be more likely to get a Bronze medal. This system is good for a game like Wrack as it constantly challenges you to replay the various chapters again and try to beat both your score and your friends’ scores.