Monster vehicles are the automotive embodiment of a barely tipsy dad coming house after a marriage: spirits excessive however knocking over all of the backyard gnomes. They’re large, loud, and a little bit harmful – however lovable oafs, nonetheless. It’s arduous to hate a large, five-ton truck carrying a novelty hat.
Monster Jam Metal Titans 2 quaintly leans into this type of wackiness with a collection of huge, themed open worlds celebrating a foolish but earnest secure of official vehicles formed like canines and zombies, however its anticlimactic exploration aims and the vanilla, chore-like construction of the competitions on provide sadly make for a surprisingly boring drive.
The dearth of spark is rapidly evident. After a bafflingly fundamental tutorial, I used to be out of the blue and unceremoniously dumped into the primary of a number of open-world environments, leaving me to press pause and shuffle by way of menus to uncover what I used to be really speculated to do.
Metal Titans 2 splits its motion over two separate profession paths, however neither of them are very attention-grabbing. There’s the sector and stadium-based championship profession, which resembles conventional, real-world Monster Jam occasions, after which there’s the World Profession mode, which is actually only a collection of precisely the identical area and stadium occasions however with a waypoint problem or circuit race based mostly within the open worlds included sometimes.
There’s additionally a smattering of issues to go and discover in these maps, however doing so has confirmed annoying and unrewarding. You may’t “uncover” a secret within the unsuitable truck, however even in the appropriate truck nothing I’ve discovered thus far has been significantly attention-grabbing. Solely Monster Mutt Poodle can open a selected scorching pink barn to quickly make a brand new bounce obtainable, as an example, however the bounce solely seems to exist as a way to gather a floating inverted triangle. In response to the sport, floating triangles unlock extra vehicles – however in the end it’s simply stuff on a listing to tick off in a sport that’s already a repetitive slog.
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Truck dealing with is satisfactory but it surely undoubtedly lacks the sense of weight and inertia present in Monster Truck Championship. The overall driving is okay and the unbiased rear-wheel steering managed by the appropriate stick definitely differentiates it from most different racers. The brief course, head-to-head racing feels greatest, the place you’ll be able to whip the vehicles into fairly satisfying and aggressive powerslides. Nevertheless, issues unravel considerably as quickly as you tip over, or tips are required. Admittedly Metal Titans 2 doesn’t place itself as a simulation, however for five-ton vehicles they positive swirl about like sweet wrappers caught in an updraft.
An arcade strategy to dealing with isn’t inherently dangerous, but it surely undoubtedly makes the freestyle occasions simplistic affairs. Scoring an ideal 10 is a cakewalk when all you need to do is pin the throttle, level at a ramp, rip a few backflips, and roll round. It received’t look fairly however the factors will rack up. I by no means wanted a plan; all I ever needed to do was ship it excessive, tumble round, and by accident accumulate a combo sufficiently big to be unbeatable.
In distinction to final 12 months’s Monster Truck Championship, the profession modes in Metal Titans 2 are woefully superficial. The sector championship is the worst offender and actually lacks pleasure. There’s zero sense of being an up-and-coming driver; I simply mashed by way of a menu and moved by way of a laundry record of occasions. There’s no workforce administration, no truck creation or customisation, and no actual sense of how far by way of the season you’re, apart from a progress bar you need to stop the mode to view. The barebones presentation simply shoves you from occasion to occasion till there aren’t any extra of them, after which it’s over, with zero indication you’ve really received something.
The stadium championship that follows is barely higher on account of the venues being greater – so the race and freestyle layouts are extra attention-grabbing – but it surely’s nonetheless largely soulless. F1, WRC, and even Monster Truck Championship made me really feel like I used to be a part of an operation. Metal Titans 2 simply airdrops you right into a truck for a minute or so at a time. It’s simply shallow and trite in comparison with its friends.
The opposite aspect of Metal Titans 2 is its wild and over-the-top open world maps and its “World Profession”, which is themed round curated units of Monster Jam vehicles. The Monster Mutt vehicles, as an example, get a large fantasy canine park stuffed with big kennels and a race observe formed like a large bone, and the spooky vehicles get a gothic, Halloween-inspired atmosphere stuffed with pumpkins, graveyards, and shipwrecks. It’s a cute contact that undoubtedly embraces the foolish personas spray-painted throughout these well-known Monster Jam vehicles, but it surely does make it really feel like Metal Titans 2 is making an attempt to have one foot in the true world and the opposite in a methanol-huffing fever dream – significantly because the World Profession mode is padded out with loads of repeats of area and stadium occasions.
Metal Titans 2 is vibrant and saturated, however the flickering shadows are terrible and stuff just like the clipping, the full lack of a watersplash impact, and spelling errors within the menus makes all of it really feel fairly half-hearted. Truck element is respectable, however developer Rainbow Studios has made the peculiar determination to utterly bury Monster Jam’s most iconic vehicles as distant unlocks. Which means that by the point you safe vehicles like Grave Digger and Megalodon, Metal Titans 2 has future out of issues to point out you. That they’re not even obtainable in fast play appears like a snub to significantly younger children who most likely simply need to freely hoon round of their favourites with out leaping by way of 75 hoops to take action.