We have all known this for a while now. Racers are big business. Albeit motorcycles, rally cars, supercars, heck even jetski’s! But there’s one niche and almost entirely forgotten class of racers out there… And these are trucks! And I’m not talking about monster trucks here or like the big Dodge Ram vehicles out there. No no, I’m talking about the big wheels. This one class has seen it’s fair share of black marks on its resume that I thought that it couldn’t get any better, or worse. Because let’s face it. These big clunky things just don’t feel like they are meant for racing. But here steps in a new challenger that hopes to overthrow these prejudices and bring new life into the Truck racing game! Did they succeed? Or was it better off just letting the dead have their peace? It’s time to find out in this review of FIA European Truck Racing Championship… Phew… That’s a mouthful!
- Tutorial: The tutorial in this game is more than welcomed! As these trucks don’t handle like cars. It exists out of 15 elements, each one containing a different lesson. From how braking works, all the way as to how to handle your truck in corners and tight corners. This all culminates into the final part, which is completing an entire track within a time limit. But these aren’t without their own troubles… This I will handle in the following segments… Yup… Plural…
- Realistic sounding trucks!: When it comes down to the sound effects, they truly outdid themselves. Not only do these trucks look the part, but they also sound like it! I don’t know how they did it? But you’ll experience the same auditory satisfaction that real trucks would give. They surely outdid themselves on this part and I got to give recognition on this part! Because if they recorded these sounds from their real-life counterparts? It must’ve been a pain on their ears!
- Clunky controls: The driving itself is straight forward. It’s the combination of a few elements that make the controls feel heavy and clunky. When you start to brake, your brakes will start to heat up. These have an optimal threshold where they function optimally. Too cold, and they stop functioning. Too hot, and they break. To combat the heat, you can spray water on them. It’s that entire combination between cooling the brakes, braking and taking a turn that becomes really cumbersome. It just doesn’t feel natural or well thought through. Sure you might say but this was meant to be like this! But it still feels like it was just tacked on to be a gimmick for the racing part.
- Cringey Clipping: Trucks are known for being big lumbering beasts with the power to pull a lot of weight. And this is helped by the bed that rides along with them. Of course, these are also present on our trucks. Except, are they really though? Because when you drive into an opponent’s back end? You actually clip through it… There is no hitbox there’s no collision. Their cabin does have a hitbox. This was made more obvious when I was going into a corner and I saw the truck equivalent of a human centipede. They were all riding the same god damn line cabin against cabin. An amazing way for breaking the “realistic immersion” I was hoping for.
- Tutorial…: Yeah, this game has an extensive tutorial for you to work through and learn the ropes. But if you didn’t go into the career mode? You wouldn’t know that there was one. I don’t normally play career mode in racing games, but I just wanted to check it out and tada! There was the tutorial! But my god did it have some cringe content. Some of these parts are really tough to complete. But sure you will be able to get Gold on a lot of these. Just give it a long time! These aren’t really tailored for an amateur racer! So if you really want to play the career mode? Then be sure to put in some time, as these are riddled with BS fail states… More on this later!
- Music: So to my surprise, this game actually has some decent tunes in it… But they’re hidden away in the menu screen! Put it in the game will you! If you’ve got the songs, let us hear them while we burn rubber on the asphalt! At least that would make it more enjoyable to drive around… I don’t know why they didn’t give us a radio to work with… Oh well…
- Slip ‘n Slide: Holy mackerels! Wait lemme check… Yup, this IS a racing game. So why does it feel like I’m playing an ice-skating game! My god does your truck just love to slide and spin out of control for no apparent reason. Did they put ice skates on this thing or what? Not only are these trucks clunky to lumber around, but they’re also skating ballerinas? Oh but, don’t worry, it’s just you! Your AI compadres stick to the surface harder then superglue does to your eyelids. Why! Whyyyy!! Sure you’ve got to have some sort of realism but come on! If you’re taking a turn at around 10 kilometers per hour and mid-turn you start speeding up? YOU SHOULDN’T BE GOING OUT OF CONTROL AND END UP AGAINST THE SIDE OF THE WALL!!! Goddamnit… This game frustrates me more then Spike Volleyball did, and that game was an amazing screw-up of a game. Fix. The. Traction!
- BS penalties: One of the worst kind of qualifiers a game can have, are unfair and broken penalties. Like, let’s take the final part of the tutorial. Which is finish an entire lap on the Zolder circuit. Sure, so you do it but accidentally hit a picket. It gives you the message that you got a penalty and gets added a few extra seconds. Okay, you end the race and it states failed. So I went to check out the fail states. One of which was receiving a penalty. So I redo that part. I cut a corner, it says “warning cut a corner”. Just that, a warning. So I finish my race with more than enough time left. Failed… I was like WHAT? That was all I had gotten, a warning! And still, it failed me? There is a big difference between a PENALTY and a WARNING. It’s stuff like this that ruins an experience for me, and will also do the same for others out there!
- Boring racing…: Sure you can get some high speeds but… That’s just about it. You don’t really feel like you’re going at a high speed, since you’re preemptively braking, just so you can take that next corner. Because as I said, you are riding as if you’ve got ice skates on. Take turn a bit too sharp, and off you go, right into the side of the map… There’s no music to accompany you as well. Which would make it at least a bit more enticing for you to drive on the roads of these circuits… But nope, good luck with your hearing after listening to those trucks drone on and on. Sigh… At least they tried, I guess?
The developers tried, and that’s something we got to give to them. In comparison with most of the other truck race simulators out there, this one surely will take the cake and comes out on top. But there is still a lot of room to grow in. I’d recommend this to anyone that wants to try out a truck racing game and have exhausted every other race genre. Or get it on a sale. Just realize that it’s not a AAA racer, but it still tries to do its best into delivering us a quality game.
Developer: N-Racing Publisher: BigBen Interactive
Played on: Xbox One X Also available on: PS4 – Switch and PC
Alexis spent 4 hours losing his mind on this game.
Achievement difficulty for 1000 Gamerscore: Pssh, I guess around 15 hours?
Perfect for: Racing fans who have exhausted every other racing simulator out there.
Xbox Game Store link: Click here