[PlayStation 4] Monster Truck Championship Review

by the_nmac

Smash, smash, smash, crash, crash, crash, race, race, race… in Monster Truck Championship! Check out our Monster Truck Championship review!

The first Monster Truck simulation!
From Las Vegas to Orlando, go head-to-head against experienced drivers in drag races and freestyle competitions! But before you can pull off doughnuts, wheelies, and bicycles, you must first tune your truck to perfection. These machines are spectacular and impressive yet highly technical to drive. The game faithfully reproduces all the unique demands of mastering these powerful trucks, including independent front and rear wheel management, mass transfer anticipation in bends, and predicting bounces after jumps.
But what’s performance without style? Customize your Monster Truck to reflect your style and show it off to your 7 opponents in online mode.
• 16 different Monster Trucks
• Over 50 customisable elements
• 25 arenas
• 3 different leagues

I’ve played a few monster trucks games over the past years, and they usually don’t keep my attention for long as there isn’t a huge hook that sets them apart from other racers. When I got my copy for this Monster Truck Championship review, I was expecting more of the same. Color me surprised when I got to experience what is probably one of the best monster truck games I have ever played, as it felt different and set it apart from others!

What’s so different? The developer understands what a monster truck is and how to optimize the gameplay mechanics and controller for it. You do need to need to check out the tutorials. They will teach you how to drive. Acceleration and braking are tied to the shoulder buttons, as usual, but what makes it different is each of your axles for turning is controlled by a separate analog stick. So your front axel is controlled by the left analog stick, and your back one is controlled with the right. Because of this, you are not going to have a good time with the game at the start since you have to adjust to things for a bit. The thing is, you’ll get it, and it will make sense, but you do need to “relearn” how to drive in games.

Monster Truck Championship Review - 1

This control scheme opens up a world of possibilities for stunts and maneuvering, bringing this closer to feeling like the most realistic racing of any Monster Truck game I have ever played. Flips, long jumps, high jumps, donuts, reverse donuts, they all require you to use both analog scitks the right way to pull off the maneuvers making is a satisfying experience while you play. No game has captured the feel quite like this game.

The team gives us a solid structure and bones for the game, but it does feel at times like it lacks a bit of extra meat. The game has a simple Campaign Mode, which will have you going through competitions in three separate leagues as you can earn money and sponsors to upgrade your vehicle. There isn’t a story, which I know other racing games have recently tried to integrate. When you spend money to upgrade your vehicle, you don’t feel the difference right away, which feels weird. I usually like to see my progression have an impact as I get better, and it was hard to tell here.

Monster Truck Championship Review - 2

The tutorial is something that could have gotten a bit of extra work since it was confusing at first. When I jumped in so that I learn how to drive my monster track, the game put all of the controls on the screen as I was doing them, so I could get used to it. I then selected the next trick, and there were no on-screen instructions on what to do. It took me three times backing out and trying again before I realized that the controls were actually on the trick selection screen.

The other thing that jumped out to me as an issue was the lack of licensed trucks. The game has some great designs for the trucks included in the game, but people playing monster truck games are going to be looking for those famous trucks. I’m not a big monster truck guy, but I always go looking for Grave Digger. The good news is there are a ton of arenas to race in, each one feeling a bit different than the others with multiple trick spots. I started playing the freestyle areas like I would play a Tony Hawk game to get those high trick combos and scores.

Monster Truck Championship Review - 3

Monster Truck Championship is probably the best monster truck game I have ever played. Mapping axel control to the left and right analog sticks really makes the game feel unique, but it does take some time for players to get used to it. While they nailed the controls and the feel, the Career Mode feels very standard, and the lack of licensed vehicles is a bummer. But as a monster truck game, it does a lot of things right.

This Monster Truck Championship review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Nacon.

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