After rip-roaring through the muddy tracks of racecourses back in October last year, Monster Truck Championship has now made the leap to next-gen consoles. This isn’t some arcade sim that prioritises destruction though, but rather a semi-realistic experience that’ll see you travelling across America as you look to build up your reputation as a monster truck superstar.
Monster Truck Championship looks and feels like your typical racer from the get-go, but there are some different ideas that you need to factor into your racing style if you hope to be a success. For one, you’ll have to control both your front and rear axle when turning, with a quick flick of the right stick helping you heave the momentum of your vehicle when taking some of the game’s tighter turns. This isn’t just a gimmick for pro racers either, but something you’ll want to embrace FAST if you hope to progress in the game. It might sound a little daunting, but there’s a decent tutorial mode on offer that’ll get you used to it… don’t skip it.
You’ll also need to learn how to pull off tricks in your vehicle. Now this isn’t necessary for your standard races, but there will be events where you’ll be judged upon the spectacle of your performance; naturally then, you’ll want to be able to pull off donuts, wheelies, and flips with ease. Admittedly, most tricks are easy enough to pull off, but you’ll still want to spend a bit longer in the tutorial mode to understand the ins-and-outs of your monster truck.
Outside of that, there’ll be a lot of standard racing, time-trials, and destruction events where carnage is at the forefront. Sure, Monster Truck Championship strives for realism in its approach, but chaos is something that’s associated with the sport. Besides, who DOESN’T want to smash things up in their monster truck, right?
Fortunately, the racing itself is solid throughout, with some tense showdowns to be had with other racers across the multitude of tracks spread across the many states of America. Sure, the game is VERY guilty of having some dumb AI driver take you off track early on and ruin the rest of the race for you at times, but other than that there’s a satisfyingly frantic vibe to each racing showdown that made the game a lot of fun to play. It might not feel as deep as other racers such as the Dirt or Forza series, but it offers its own brand of competitive action that feels over-the-top and fun.
It’s in the career mode that you’ll spend most of your time in Monster Truck Championship, with multiple tournaments available to compete in that spread out their rounds with different events. You’ll amass points in these events, with the best performers earning more cash and being able to move towards the higher monster truck leagues featured in the game. You’ll earn new sponsors along the way and upgrade your vehicle to ensure that it keeps up to the standard that the tougher races establish.
It’s standard fare as far as racing game careers are concerned, but it offers a satisfying sense of progress to make players feel like they really are pushing on in their career. Improving your monster truck (you keep the same one from the very start) always feels gratifying, whilst hitting the top of the leader board in the tournaments you participate in feels great. It’s simple but rewarding.
There’s also multiplayer racing on offer if you’re into it, with online races supporting up to eight competitors. Whilst I didn’t spend a whole lot of time racing online, what I did experience was fun and chaotic. There’s not a whole lot of depth to the multiplayer options, but it’s a neat little endeavour if you prefer to race with real-life players instead of the AI.
Of course, this is the next-gen version of Monster Truck Championship… you want to know about the fresh improvements, right? Well, those who like a visual makeover will certainly be impressed, with the 4K resolution and 60fps frame-rate certainly making all of the action look super smooth in motion. All of the environmental effects look slick throughout, whilst there’s a grander sense of presence within the overall presentation of each event. Take a look at this video posted over at YouTube channel PurePlayTV to get an idea of the improvements – it really is quite impressive.
Whilst Monster Truck Championship certainly looks the part, it’s a little lacking as far as overall next-gen enhancements are concerned. There’s no real new content brought into the experience and the previously released DLC isn’t part of the package either. It’s something that’d be a bit more understandable if there was a free upgrade from the last-gen version of the game, but nope, even existing owners have to purchase the game again if they want to enjoy the souped-up visuals on their PlayStation 5.
It’s a bit of a shame really, especially since there isn’t a whole lot to show outside of the visuals. Heck, it doesn’t even take full advantage of the DualSense controller, which feels like a missed opportunity given the chaos of monster truck racing.
Monster Truck Championship doesn’t take as much advantage of the next-gen consoles as I’d have liked, but it still offers a fun racing experience that fans of monster trucks are sure to enjoy. There’s a satisfying sense of progress to the career, the different race types are fun, whilst there’s online multiplayer on offer for those who want their muddy showdowns to take place against real-life players.
It might not have the depth seen in similar titles in the genre, but there’s still plenty here to enjoy as you work to become the BEST monster truck driver around; just expect more style that substance when it comes to the game’s next-gen improvements.
Platform(s): PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
Click here to visit the official website.