12 Days of Pros-mas - Day 1: Monster Jam Steel Titans

Hello, welcome to the cosy Stadia Life Christmas Cabin.

Have a seat by the fire, put your feet up. Take in the pretty lights and the crackling of the fire. I’d give you a mince pie, but I seem to have eaten them all! Please don’t tell my masters, they would be angry with me.

This is day 1 of the 12 Days Of Pros-mas. If you’re not aware, I will be going through the pro games of the last 12 months that I haven’t paid attention to and trying them, giving my impressions and experiences here. I invite you to do the same, and if you catch any cool screenshots or videos send them over and I can put them here!

So, now you know what we’re doing, let’s get on with the first pro game I’ve chosen!

Monster Jam Steel Titans

Monster Jam Steel Titans is a monster truck racing/stunt game developed by Rainbow Studios and published by THQ Nordic, and I was very excited to play it based on that description alone. Reading the words monster truck awakened some part of me from when I was 7 years old and thought they were really cool.

 

When I started Monster Jam, I already had two observations. The first was about the graphics. They’re hardly Red Dead Redemption level, but they were nice enough to me, and I never thought the game looked particularly ugly.


 

This game runs in 4k 30fps though, and I value my fps in a game like this so I was playing the 1080p 60fps mode, so maybe those extra pixels would’ve wowed me more. One slight problem I noticed is that there was a bit of popping, particularly at the start and with foliage in later levels, but nothing to put me off too much.

 

The second thing I noticed as I started was that monster trucks are really hard to control. I couldn’t believe it, this huge towering vehicle was much harder to control than the usual sleek video game car I was used to. Madness, I know! Eventually though I got through the tutorial, and decided to customise my monster truck to something a bit more festive before getting into a race. While there wasn’t anything particularly Christmassy, there was this yeti, and that’s close enough right?

With my new fancy monster truck in hand, it was time to get racing in the career mode. This didn’t go well for the first 3 races, where I was having a remarkable amount of trouble driving in a straight line and kept barreling off the road. By the fourth race though I was starting to get used to this whole straight line thing, and managed to pull off my first win! I’d like to thank Chris Rea for this, as I don’t think I’d have been able to accomplish this if the somewhat thematic Driving Home For Christmas wasn’t playing in the background.

 

This didn’t last long, however, as for the next race they changed how the race works. Before this I was used to having to just drive along a set track, however the format was changed to having a more open area with checkpoints you had to drive through, and this was a struggle. In fact, in my notes I was making while playing I had written down “SO MUCH ROLLING” due to the number of times I made my truck tumble over. By the end of the race, my truck wasn’t looking as healthy as it once did.

It was after this race I discovered you could upgrade your truck with a currency I’d been getting at a screen I kept on skipping to get to the next race. With this in mind, I upgraded my truck a fair bit and went into the next race suddenly performing a lot better. This is the point I truly started enjoying the game because I understood the progression better and the truck became a lot more wieldy. The next few races started becoming a breeze, and I finished the career mode in… 5th place. Well, maybe it’ll go better in my next career mode.

Overall though, I had a lot of fun in Monster Jam. They did a good job of creating the feeling of driving around in this huge heavy vehicle, and while it was annoying at first once you get some upgrades and get used to the handling it becomes a pretty fun time killer. Aside from the popping I mentioned earlier the game performed fine on balanced mode too, so it’s a decent Stadia port. I’d definitely recommend giving it a try, after all, it’s free with Pro right now! That means that this first game is going on the nice list:

Nice

-Monster Jam Steel Titans

 

And with the conclusion of the Monster Jam impression, day 1 of 12 Days of Pros-mas also ends. Come back to the Stadia Life Christmas Cabin tomorrow and I’ll have another pro game waiting for you! That is, if you don’t get lost in the snow…

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