Gaming review: Monster Jam Steel Titans 2
A monster truck game that correctly identifies that reality is boring
If you play modern racing games and think 'I wish the suspension felt more like it was made of blancmange' then Monster Jam Steel Titans 2 may be the videogame for you. Here is a game where you'll spend at least 50 per cent of your time bouncing wildly out of control having clipped some divot or other.
Much to our surprise, Steel Titans 2 actually takes the handling of a monster truck seriously. Well, as seriously as you can take a vehicle that has a window in the footwell so you can see where you're going during a wheelie. You can even pick between independent control of the front and rear axles, or bind the two together on a single control pad stick if that sounds a bit too much like trying to rub your head and pat your stomach.
Fortunately the game also recognises that there's only so realistic anyone wants a monster truck game to be. That's why after a couple of hours of tearing around an open world based on fairly anonymous rural America, punctuated with visits to the various real-world Monster Jam arenas, the scenery changes to a sci-fi alien planet and later the twisted terrain surrounding a haunted castle. It certainly makes a change from a mud-filled stadium in Wichita.
Some events are more engaging than others. For every gleeful checkpoint chasing romp across open terrain, there's two minutes of driving monotonously around a dirt arena smashing port-a-potties. Freestyle trick events, which are sort of like a Tony Hawk game if he strapped a 9.4-litre V8 and knobbly tyres to his skateboard, can be particularly frustrating. In a sport where the vast majority of the vehicles end up completely denuded of their bodywork, it can be difficult to work out if what you just performed was a stellar combination of tricks or just a big crash.
Ultimately, Monster Jam Steel Titans 2 is not a great game, the cycle of race and stunt events gets repetitive quickly and graphically it looks about a decade old. This is one for hardcore monster truck fans only, so unless you happen to be called Dale, you can probably safely steer clear...
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