One of the best things about being an adult is driving. The ability to go almost anywhere you want, whenever you want. It is a sense of freedom like no other. With driving also comes risks. But racing games mitigate the risks and allow you the chance to drive almost any vehicle ever made or imagined. THQ Nordic has added another game to the genre and its series – Monster Jam : Steel Titans 2.
With more than half a dozen titles in the Monster Jam, Steel Titans 2 looks to give players an even bigger game. Featuring 5 new worlds to play in and 38 trucks there are tons of events in both the world stage and real stadiums for you to play in. You can even play online in races or just explore the world with your friends looking for secrets.
If you have never played a Monster Jam game never fear, there is a tutorial before each new type of event that you do. The game has a few different game modes. First there is the 21 Chapter story. Each chapter contains several events – races, destruction, 2-wheel tricks and more – in real stadiums, and cross-country races in the different worlds. Each chapter you place 3rd or higher you will earn a new truck to play with. Also, within each world, there is a garage that will allow you to change your truck, and it contains a few world events that will help you get new trucks as well. There is even a hidden Crazy Creature truck in each world.
Each truck has a unique set of attributes. Some will give you extra engine power, while others specialize in stability or traction. But to get the most out of your vehicle, you are going to have to use it to level it up, otherwise it will just be a shiny last place trophy for you. Luckily, you can replay events and earn enough experience to level up all of your trucks. It just depends on how much time you want to invest in each truck.
The game plays, for the most part, like most off-road racing games. The main difference is that you have to use both sticks to control your vehicle. Since the trucks are so big, you must control the front and rear axles. Not only does this allow you to take turns more sharply, but it will allow you to right yourself if you happen to roll your truck. And you will roll your truck. Over, and over, and over. You will spend a lot of time replaying events because you flip your truck, and go from 1st place to 6th in the blink of an eye.
While there is a good variety of content in the races, the skill level does not seem consistent. You may do a waypoint race one time and come in 4th, then replay it and all the other cars flip over within the 1st 100 yards and you win before they are even half way through. You can win a late game race with a brand new, level 1 truck, but lose a Chapter 1 race with a max level truck because the other vehicles are just too fast. Setting the difficulty to Easy or Hard also seems to have little effect on CPU drivers.
One of the big upgrades for this version is Online play. You can either just explore the world with your friends or compete against them in any of the events. Unless you have friends that are also playing the game, you are going to be hard pressed to do online races since there seems to be a very small community playing at the moment. This is very unfortunate especially since there are 2 different achievements tied to completing online matches. You can host your own online exploration and go solo, but you need to have other players to compete in online races.
The game looks very polished. Each world has a specific theme that comes through perfectly. Unfortunately, some of the designs make it feel like you are driving a toy ruck instead of a MONSTER truck. This is very apparent in Bark Park, where there are truck sized dog houses scattered around the world that dwarf your ride. Each of the vehicles is beautifully designed and looks exactly like its real life counterpart. They won’t stay pretty for long. The first time you hit something, the panels will start to break off, and it won’t be long before you are left with just a roll cage. The game also has a few camera issues. While it is nice to have a choice of views, the game is missing out on a free roam camera. This can make it very difficult to line up some of your jumps / stunts to collect objectives in the different worlds.
Monster Jam Steel Titans 2 is out now on Xbox One, Playstation, Nintendo Switch, and Windows. With a price tag of $39.99 you are paying a premium for a game that doesn’t feel like a balanced playing experience. While the game is fun, without the ability to play with others easily online is a big draw back.