Monster Truck Championship is a relatively new entry in the racing sim genre. While we’ve had monster truck games in the past across a bevy of platforms, Monster Truck Championship prides itself by being a racing sim to the core in order to offer racing and monster truck fans a (virtual) realistic experience of driving a big ol’ monster truck. So how does this racer stack up? Let’s find out!
First off, the game, like any other racing sim, will get you settled down and ready to get on the race track by guiding you throughout the first few tutorials. Once you’ve done a few tricks, you’ll be allowed to drop the tutorial and jump into the meat of the game. After practising and getting a hold of the controls, you can jump into career mode which is divided into three leagues: National, Professional and Major. You can’t willy-nilly jump into whichever you want. You need to earn your path to the Major and Professional leagues. Each event will unlock as you win races and events; a standard progressing system. Nothing new to report in this regard. You can expect standard races and also drag races where it’s one-on-one and the fastest rig wins.
You’ve got some Tony Hawk in my Monster Truck Championship
One of the most interesting things with Monster Truck Championship is that along with races, you can also do Freestyle events where you need to pull off tricks and earn the highest score in order to win; think of this as Tony Hawk Pro Skater in a huge truck. It’s actually the most fun I’ve had with this game. The tutorial allows you to practice as much as you want, but actually doing a THPS like timed event is as fun as the Birdman’s games.
The racing sim genre also means that vehicle upgrades should be expected and Monster Truck Championship is no different. Winning events and earning all that precious money will allow players to buy better parts and improve their truck’s manoeuvrability in order to perform better in each progressively difficult race. Whilst Drag Races and Freestyles aren’t as competitive as races, the upgrades will still come in helpful here. Although be warned that entering events also costs money. Speaking of spending money, you can also hire crew members which will, in turn, give players additional perks such as increased income or improved gear shift time; for example.
Driving isn’t as simple
So at this point, you may be wondering “what’s the catch?”. Well as some of you know, racing sims can be notoriously difficult, and Monster Truck Championship is no different; perhaps even considered harder than average. The controls do take a lot of getting used to due to the realistic mechanics such as independent front and rear wheel management, mass transfer anticipation in bends, and predicting bounces after jumps. While it sounds simple, it’s not. It’s pretty easy to skid off track during races especially with A.I. drivers banging into you.
Drag Races, Destruction and Freestyle events are much more fun and easy to enjoy with less chance of failure. Fall last in a career race and you’ve pretty much lost! Unlike other sims, there aren’t any accessibility features such as Driving Assistance which we’ve been accustomed to in games like RIDE or Project CARS. Monster Truck Championship is a prime example of the old “practice makes perfect” adage. You will need to dedicate time to get a hold of the game’s unique controls mostly because using both joysticks to drive and steer both of the front and back set of wheels is rough.
That being said, let’s move on to the overall presentation. The game looks and runs great on Xbox Series X. The tracks benefit from all the small muddy details with the trucks themselves also being detailed. When starting, you can set the type of damage you’d like; right up to realistic. If you get dinged too much then parts start flying. Sound-wise, everything is as expected. Keeping in touch with the whole realistic driving, the atmosphere of the events feel very immersive. That being said, the noise of the engine roaring will drown out other sounds.
So is Monster Truck Championship worth the ride? Absolutely… but only if you have the time to dedicate to it. Unfortunately, unlike typical racers such as the Forza Horizon series or the more recent (and excellent) DiRT 5 where you can expect to pick up where you left off, Monster Truck Championship will still have that steep (re)learning curve due to its unique two joystick control scheme. You’ll need to grasp the controls and understand how it all meshes together. That being said, the Drag Races and Freestyle events are absolutely worth it. If you’ve played all of the racing sims out there and are looking for a new challenge, then Monster Truck Championship is for you; but be warned as it will test you.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Monster Truck Championship for £33.49 on the Xbox Store.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.