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Wii Game Review

Monster Jam: Urban Assault


Format: Wii
RRP: £29.99
5 030917 060700
Age Restrictions: 3+
Available 13 March 2009

Ever wanted to drive absurdly enormous trucks crushing everything in sight in an orgy of mindless destruction? Well Wii owners get the chance with the release of Monster Jam: Urban Assault, based on the popular American motorsport.

To the backdrop of guitar wailing rock music the game challenges you to take your truck through either a straightforward race or to engaging in one of the mini games available. The emphasis on destruction makes the game a cross between the PS3’s Pain and Motor Storm.

There are a variety of ways to control your monster truck, with the option to use the Nunchuk for steering or just the remote on its own. My own preferred method was to stick the Wii remote in the steering wheel that came with Mariocart and this worked perfectly adding to the driving experience. Whilst the developers have gone for some authenticity in the cars with the handling, the elevated shocks and the general instability of design inherent in these vehicles, it does make the trucks a real pig to steer. That said the game is more of a smash everything in sight type of affair, rather than a racing sim.

The first time you stick the game in you have to create a profile, this part is easy and self explanatory. When the game starts the graphics are bright and brash, if you leave the machine alone it will cycle through a few minutes of footage showing the trucks in action, this part seems to be a port as the graphics on the preview are worse than those contained in the finished game.

Okay, so were ready for the off. The first screen that greats you has options for either a ‘Championship’ or ‘Quick Action’ game, you can also watch unlocked movies in the ‘Showroom’. Under the hood you have the ‘Options’ menu where you can view your championship records, muck around with the sound mix, alter the difficulty of the game, - though here you only get the choice of the default normal mode or the ridiculously difficult ‘Pro’ mode. I’d advise you not to start at the 'Pro' mode if you are to get anywhere, at the beginning. You can also reconfigure the controls or alter your profile.

The 'Championship' option opens to four further options, 'World Series'; 'Speedster'; 'Smasher'; and 'Stuntman'. In each of these options you have to make your way around tracks crushing cars, buses and whatever else you can find, whilst at the same time trying to gain extra points for aerobatic tricks.

In 'Speedster' you get to race against other trucks through relatively short urban courses, which is the new addition to this game. It’s at this point that the poor handling qualities really let you down as your truck is a real pig to keep on the road. This may reflect how difficult these trucks are to drive, but if I wanted that experience I would have bought one; in a game this level of poor handling is just frustrating. Overall the trucks seem to lack a sense of weight as running into non-smashable objects will have you back flipping and bouncing around as if your truck were made of rubber. The layout of the tracks isn’t that great either and you will find yourself crashing into unexpected objects when you turn corners, which will stop you dead.

Next up is the ‘Smasher’ where you drive around an industrial park trying to smash just about everything to gain points, last up is the ‘Stuntman’ mode where you get point for the amount of time you can keep your truck in the air plus the amount of destruction caused on your landing - fun for the first few times before the enjoyment starts to pale with the repetitious nature of the game.

As you progress through the game various new trucks are unlocked, with twenty-one in total to collect, each requiring you to either reach a certain amount of points or win an event. Sadly the addition of more trucks didn’t seem to improve either the speed or the handling qualities of the colossal machines.

So, if you like smashing things up in a monster truck, then this game might just be for you. Personally I found that the truck was too difficult to control for the game to be something that you could just pick up and have a bit of fun with. Its one saving grace is the split screen racing where at least you can race against friends, who are likely to be as pants, thus levelling the playing field.


Charles Packer

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