The PS5 version of Concept Destruction runs far smoother than its last-gen counterpart but it’s still cardboard thin. The Finger Guns Review.
I wondered how long it would take for Ratalaika to begin their conquest for PS5 domination. Easily the most prolific publisher on PS4, they specialise in bringing budget games with unique hooks and easy to obtain Platinum trophies/achievements to consoles. I got my answer with the arrival of the PS5 version of Concept Destruction, just 2 weeks into the PS5’s worldwide existence. Free as an upgrade for those that bought the game on PS4, this racing game is a novel take on the Destruction Derby formula. It puts the player in the tiny driving seat of cardboard vehicles and challenges them to ram the 49 other vehicles to smithereens while avoiding the same fate. It’s easy to pick up, easy to play but quickly becomes tiresome.
The aim with Concept Destruction is to drive into the weak spots of the other 49 cardboard vehicles to do damage which will grant the player with dollar rewards – so long as you’re either the last car standing or you survive until the time runs out for the round. Get destroyed (or destroy yourself by driving into things) and you’ll have to restart that race from scratch.
When I reviewed Concept Destruction back in May for the PS4, I described it as “instantly accessible and a neat take on the Destruction Derby”, but “there’s some odd rules that can cause a headache” and “there’s not a lot of content”. None of that has changed with the PS5 version. The PS5 “upgrade” here is purely cosmetic and the same issues I detailed in May still exist.
Concept Destruction certainly does look much better on the PS5. The cardboard cars look far crisper on the next-gen machine in 4K, as do the environments. The added resolution brings with it some interesting side effects though. For example, the smoke effect that’s pour out of broken down cars look far less convincing in 4K, like chunks of cotton wool floating into the sky rather than a convincing stream of smoke.
The frame rate on the PS5 version of Concept Destruction is higher too, hitting a steady 60 frames per second during a lot of play, which gives the game a much smoother feeling when driving. Even on the PS5 though, the frame rate can take a nose dive during some modes, especially during the Survival mode. In this mode, all of the other 49 cars in the game home in on the player. When you’ve got this many cars on screen and they’re all ramming into one spot, the frame rate hits single digits per second.
Concept Destruction doesn’t really utilise the DualSense controller in any meaningful way. The haptic feedback, triggered when the players’ car crashes into other cars/environment or when parts of the car start to drag on the floor, is a basic rumble on par with what exists on the PS4 via the DualShock 4. It’s just a shake with no dynamic feel to it. Concept Destruction makes no use of the trigger tension either.
None of these mild improvements make the issues with Concept Destruction any more palatable. While the moment to moment gameplay is still fun, the structure of the game which forces players to waste time simply staying alive rather than enjoying the chaos, is still frustrating. Matches feel too long and it’s not uncommon that after a quick altercation with a traffic jam of other cardboard cars, it can leave the player desperately trying to stay alive for 3 whole minuets rather than actually enjoying the game.
There’s still a lack of content in Concept Destruction. The main campaign mode encourages repetition across the games small variety of levels. The first play through will unlock better cars to enable higher scores which in turn unlocks better cars. The issue here is that if you play the game even moderately well, you’ll only need a single play through to unlock all of the cars. There’s a total of 2 hours worth of content here, discounting the 2 player multiplayer which adds a little more replayability.
While native PS5 experiences are still in short supply, Concept Destruction is there to make up the numbers and little more than that. The improvements over the PS4 version are minimal and beyond getting a quick Platinum trophy, there’s virtually no reason to download the PS5 edition of this game if you’ve played the PS4 version.
For new players, Concept Destruction on PS5 will provide 2 hours of no frills car smashing before it gets dry. The structure of the game, emphasising survival rather than the cathartic crashing, feels at odds with the fun the game can deliver elsewhere. For PS4 players, the upgrade here can barely be described as such and beyond an easy Platinum Trophy, is hardly worth a download.
Concept Destruction is available now on PS5 (version reviewed), PS4 Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch.
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we purchased a copy of the game. For our full review policy, please go here.
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