Monster Truck Championship is the latest game to get a next-gen update for PS5 and Xbox Series X|S, but is it an actual upgrade or another sad re-release?
Monster Truck Championship would not be my go-to game when that racing itches burns. No, for me, Forza Horizon 4 and DIRT 5 are where I go to get my speedy thrills. But, Monster Truck Championship is not a bad addition to the library, and after an initial period of “what am I doing here then,” I got into it. And I mean, really into it. So into it, I pulled an accidental all-nighter while chasing new parts for my truck on massive wheels. Yeah, it is good then, and if you are not careful, you will lose yourself in its simple but engaging loop.
The premise of the Monster Truck Championship is simple: you are a driver, and you compete with your truck to earn money which is then used to compete in more championships. Rinse and repeat as required.
There is a little more to it, but everything else in this world we call Earth revolves around money. It costs to enter any given championship, so you are investing in the hope of getting your money back and then some extra. The more you play, the more parts and people you can unlock. The higher you place, the more money is paid out to you, which you can use to buy new parts for your truck and hire new staff. However, you are not allowed to go on a spending spree immediately as the game locks staff upgrades and improved parts behind progression. I suppose it makes sense. Otherwise; I would have bought up everything while still in the minor leagues.
A final note on the financials; you can also sign up for sponsors, and they will help you earn more money. You’ll be given tasks to perform throughout a championship, and some are relatively easy, like coming in first. Others are a little more complicated, like performing a certain number of a specific trick. The more you please your sponsor, the higher your potential earnings. But, remember, a lot of that money will be spent doing nothing until you make some headway through the career mode. For the most part, you’re spending your cash on entrance fees and truck repairs between events.
I liked the career mode for what it was, even if it was not intense. It encouraged me to tinker with my truck and do more than just plough through the pack during races, thanks partly to the sponsorships dictating my racing style.
The racing is good fun, but there is more than the standard racing available. Each championship comprises several events, normally including a good mix of all available game modes. You have got races, drag races, destruction, and freestyle modes. My favorites were, of course, the races because they are what I am used to. Mind you; it was not easy, to begin with because Monster trucks do not handle like your typical racing car. They are big, bold and susceptible to spinning out of control. This is where flicking the right stick came in handy; the right stick controls the back wheels, and once my muscle memory made room for flicking the right stick left or right depending on the turn, I was breezing through races. Yeah, I suppose it’s a little easy, but there is a harder setting if you want more of a challenge.
Drag Races are not your traditional quarter-mile rev-fests but short courses with a turn or two. They really should be renamed, then. I can’t say I enjoyed these head-to-head races all that much, if only because they were often done within just a few seconds. My quickest was just nine seconds, and the longest I can remember was around 20 seconds. For reference, the intro cinematic for the race lasts longer than this.
Destruction and Freestyle are more along what I imagine Monster trucking all about – big tricks and smashing caravans, and for whatever reason, porta-potties. Whether they are used or brand new is not known, but I would hate to be the one cleaning the wheels once the crowds have gone home.
These events are good fun where you’re given free rein of an arena filled with stuff to smash, destroy, and lots of ramps to jump off, as well as some quarter-pipes to hit at speed, sending your truck into a backflip. It is here where you will get to show off your mad skills, and I enjoyed throwing my truck around and seeing what kind of damage I could cause. It is silly stuff, sure, but there is fun to be had, and I got some of it.
So, what about the next-gen enhancements? They are decent if a little underwhelming. The biggest improvements come in resolution, frame rate, and load times. I had a go of the last-gen edition on PS4 so I could accurately compare, and the difference in how the game plays is stark – do not expect it to be a massive visual overhaul because it is not.
It is hitting a higher resolution to give the game some clarity; it is upping the frame rate to make it smoother to play and reducing the load times so that you barely have to wait a couple of seconds between screens. One disappointment is the glaring omission of DualSense support; the haptics are not used at all, and the experience is no different from playing with a DualShock 4 controller. It is a missed opportunity to tick a next-gen buzzword on the checklist – something you would think developers and publishers would be eager to put their name to.
Whether these upgrades are worth buying the game new for PS5 or Series X|S is up to you, but as it is a free upgrade for last-gen owners, it is a nice one and a definite improvement that makes the game a lot more fun to play.
Monster Truck Championship PS5 Review
- Overall - Very Good - 7/107/10
Monster Truck Championship offers a fresh way to smash some big-wheeled trucks around – and it’s good fun. It’s also a big upgrade over the last-gen versions; 60FPS and up to 4K resolution really puts the last-gen edition to shame.
There’s a lengthy career mode to work through with some nice options to tweak the game to your liking, as well as multiplayer if you want to test out your trucking skills online.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Primary version tested: PS5. I reviewed using: PS5.