When you think of the great old United States of America, what do you think of? The Statue of Liberty? Hillbillies with guns shooting tin cans off their brothers’ heads, whilst their “mom” and dad scream and shout in their RV, with syringes littering the floor? Or do you think of huge trucks with wheels as big as your Range Rover smashing into each other, performing wheelies, backflips and barrel rolls through the air? After all, as appears to be a popular sentiment in the USA, “go big or go home”.
The final remark is Monster Jam in a nutshell, and Rainbow Studios have definitely captured that burning rubber essence in Monster Jam Steel Titans. If you aren’t well acquainted, Monster Jam is the “ultimate in monster truck racing”. Steel Titans features a vast array of drivers from the events, as well as real-life locations from the roster.
Now, when I first started the game, I was hoping for some mad, fun truck smashy smash. A bit of mindless petrol-guzzling fun. The problem is, that’s not what I got.
A lot of the game’s problems boil down to the gameplay. It’s simple enough to get going, but I find it far too difficult to master. It’s exacerbated by a physics system that is full of glitches, which together made the time I’ve had with this game more frustrating than enjoyable.
There are a few different events to go through, such as freestyle skills, destruction, two-wheeled stunts and probably the best of the lot, standard racing. I say that because, and I go back to my previous point, the physics make the freestyling and stunts very difficult to complete. If you so much as take off from a jump one millimetre to the wrong side, you’ll flip around and spin all over the shop and end up failing your skills combo. Or you end up on the roof spending too long trying to flip back up, or you hit the wall and your truck starts spinning and glitching out of control.
The racing is only more enjoyable here because you’re much less likely to run into these issues. However, as soon you go into cross country racing, all the fun is sapped out because you just don’t know what in the environment you can just plough straight through, or what is going to rip your wheel off and ruin your chances of winning. Sometimes, it’s not even clear which way you should be going; the arrows to indicate your path aren’t all that obvious.
The career mode has you progressing through a series of these events throughout all locations, there is very little variety at all. Most of them just go on for too long and repeat the same events with very minor differences. With each event you complete, you’re awarded points for a league table, but I’ve got to say it again, it simply lasts too long and I ended up bored. An hour and a half, possibly more, of doing the same three to four events in the same stadium took its toll. As much as the storylines you might see in something like the Forza Horizon career mode feel forced and superficial, Steel Titans does miss it.
Graphically, it’s OK, nothing to write home about. Trucks look pretty good in 4K on a PS4 Pro, but the rest of the environments leave a lot to be desired. The music provided isn’t to my taste, but you can imagine the generic heavy rock that is included.
There is a foundation laid here that can be worked with. But in its present form, I can’t recommend it. Too many glitches, too much repetition, too much frustration.
Monster Jam Steel Titans (Reviewed on PlayStation 4)
Minor enjoyable interactions, but on the whole is underwhelming.
It’s one of those games that’s alright for a couple of hours if you can get it at a deep discount. Otherwise, it’s just too frustrating to recommend.