In 2020 Polish developer Teyon released Monster Truck Championship for all of the major gaming platforms, including the PS4. At the time of its, release it brought lukewarm reviews, criticised for less than impressive graphics, few new ideas and fairly drab gaming mechanics.
Moving on 6 months, Teyon have decided to give us an upgraded version of the original game. Taking advantage of the extra muscle power inside the next generation of consoles, they hope to wow us into submission and encourage us to go out and buy it.
Stay on Course
The game consists of completing a number of different championships that comprise of low-speed track racing, drag races on mirrored tracks and ,finally, freestyle/destruction courses that ask you to destroy as much as you possibly can within a short time limit, as well as do tricks and jumps with your big, chunky truck. There is also a career mode to take part in, which I will get to in a bit.
With a mixture of each discipline thrown into the ring, they manage to be challenging, testing your driving skills, or should that be lack thereof, to reach that top podium spot. Do well, and you will receive a number of points that you can use towards buying upgrades, including body-frame, paints, wheels, etc. You will also be gifted with new vehicles and other cosmetics for your driver avatar.
Start a New Career
The single-player career mode offers three different tiers of difficulty, and each one includes a number of championships across the United States, and the goal is to win races and earn lots of money to be able to enter the finale. You will need to spend some of that hard-earned cash to increase the four attributes of your vehicle’s performance, as well as employ new team members.
As you set out your career, you can employ mechanics, managers, and agents to add bonuses to your winnings, the truck’s performance and repairs, as well as entrance fees, which increase the higher up the championships you go. From the onset, don’t expect a complex and exciting management system here, this really is quite barebones when compared to the likes of Forza, etc.
Making the Old New
So, what exactly have Teyon done with this re-release/upgraded version of Monster Truck Championship? Well, not a great deal, unfortunately. The new upgrade is mainly to do with the graphics and performance; after all, this is now on the PS5 and should blow us away. It now runs at 4K and 60FPS, respectively, and uses the Unreal Engine, offering at times some nice effects. But whilst it looks okay on the PS5, it certainly doesn’t showcase what the console is capable of, and I mean that in a big way. You get flying dirt and mud effects, but the courses are flat with no degrading of the ground as the trucks kick up chunks of dirt.
Go around the track a second time, and it remains as it was the first time, so the presentation is really disappointing. Most of the tracks and environments are very similar, and the various views from the spectators, background and within the vehicle are not very well designed. In fact, I laughed at the crowd animations as they all do the same ‘hands in the air’ animation at exactly the same time. Pause the game and take a better look, and they look like cardboard cutouts.
I’m really sorry to say this, but with these next generation of consoles, we really are expecting much bigger and better things than what Teyon have brought us with this upgrade. I even found the announcer’s voice to be irritating, though the roars of the engines were passable. The only positive thing I could take from this game would be decent loading times, but even then anyone would expect that as a matter of course.
Getting Your Driving Gloves On
This games is described as a driving simulator, and I would totally agree with that. The handling is unforgiving, and at times I even wondered if I was controlling my truck as it seemed to have a mind of its own on where it wanted to go. Slightly touch another vehicle or part of the scenery, and you will skid and lose control. Go around corners without mastering the revs and controlling of the front and rear wheels independently, and you will skid and lose control. You have to learn that balance between speed and positioning on the track. The haptic feedback does help with this and is probably the standout part of the game, adding a level of realism, but it’s just not enough to save this game.
If you already own the PS4 version, I would honestly not recommend upgrading to this one if you have gone out and bought yourself a PS5. There just isn’t enough new stuff on offer here, and it may make you wonder why you even bothered to buy a PS5 in the first place.
Publisher: BigBen Interactive
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS5, Xbox Series X/S
Release Date: 11th March 2021
Gaming Respawn’s copy of Monster Truck Championship was provided by the publisher.