2016’s Monster Jam: Crush It! was truly awful. We awarded it 4/10 simply because its Trials-style Hill Climb mode provided us with a couple of hours of mindless fun. If not for that, it probably would have been a 2/10.
Unfortunately, Monster Jam Steel Titans, its follow-up, doesn’t feature a Hill Climb mode, but it’s a much better game in general. Though that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s worthy of your time or money.
Monster Jam Steel Titans‘ career mode consists of just six series, covering outdoor waypoint races as well as head-to-heads, two-wheel skills competitions and freestyle events in arenas and stadiums. The series vary in length, but completing them all is likely to take only around six hours or so unless you fail and have to redo them.
If you’re like me, you’ll enjoy Monster Jam Steel Titans‘ waypoint races even when dramatically losing thanks to clipping a giant rock and barrel-rolling yourself into oblivion. You might even get a kick out of the basic rhythm and head-to-head races, just because you’re driving ruddy big monster trucks. It’s during the more stunt-focused events that the game might steer you away though; they require a great deal of skill to be completed masterfully. Chances are, you’ll just muddle your way through by driving like a maniac.
After completing each event you’re awarded some credits depending on your performance, and you can use those credits to improve the performance of the monster truck you’re using. How much you can upgrade them is limited by your rank, however, which is improved by completing series. You’ll also unlock new trucks, open world areas, and of course, more advanced series, too.
It’s a pretty basic system, though that sums up Monster Jam Steel Titans overall: pretty basic. The career is free of features and flair. You can’t choose the difficulty of events, for example, and you can’t even restart events when you mess up, or rewind time. You just move from one event to the other with not much to do in between. As careers go, it’s pitiful.
Once you’re done with the career, there are two other modes to occupy your time. Quick Play allows you to set up head-to-head, circuit, rhythm and waypoint races, as well as two-wheel skills, freestyle and timed destruction events. There’s an ample number of tracks available, but a great deal of them are very samey. You need to unlock the majority of them by playing through the career.
Of all the modes, I found free-roam to be the most entertaining. Monster Jam Steel Titans always starts you in free-roam mode, though you can also commence a freeride session via Quick Play, which is very nearly the same. If you’ve ever just wanted to let rip with a monster truck on harsh terrain, free-roam will entertain you for a short while. It even has fifty collectables for you to find, many of which are hard to reach.
But that’s pretty much it, you have an obligatory photo mode and also a Monster Jam 101 training menu, but there are no online features, and no real reasons to play Monster Jam Steel Titans in the long-term. Within 10 hours you’ll have completed the career if you can stomach it, and might have messed around in some other modes, but then you’ll probably be done with it.
It’s a shame, really, as the core gameplay of Monster Jam Steel Titans is pretty solid. Every one of the 26 monster trucks you can unlock in the game looks great, and while their behaviour can seem a bit erratic at times, I can believe that’s how they handle. But it’s just not polished enough, it doesn’t have enough content, and its shockingly short on features. It’s a bit of a missed opportunity.
As mentioned at the start of this review, Monster Jam Steel Titans is a massive improvement over its predecessor, but it’s still not what you’d call a great – or even good – game. The foundations are here for a refreshing and unique experience, but they need building upon and refining. Devout monster truck fans are likely to get some fun out of it, but everyone else is better off either avoiding it or picking it up with a discount. Monster Jam Steel Titans isn’t the worst racing game available right now, but it’s still very much trailing behind the competition.