As a long time fan of the Trials Franchise, having played the original PC arcade games on Miniclips (Cheers if you get that reference) I was a tad more excited than the average bear when the game was ported over to Consoles. It was shiny, it was new and it was challenging so after I had beat Trials Evolution into the ground and walked away with a cluster of Platinum medals I eagerly awaited for a sequel and when I saw it at the Xbox Reveal last year, I squealed like a little girl and sat at the edge of my seat for months. Now, you have to understand that I’m about 6’6 and 230lbs, so squealing really ruined my tough guy look!
One of the beautiful and most ingenious things about Trials that is becoming increasingly hard to find in modern game design is that Trials teaches you how to play the game through it’s level design. The game isn’t going to throw you into an environment where you have to find out what to do and then react faster than humanly possible. Using controlled environments and unlimited faults allows players to learn and play at their own pace. The developers wanted it to feel justified when you crash, it wasn’t the games fault that you just came hurling into a wall instead of taking your time, it was yours! So within an hour, you’re playing Trials like a pro, and you did it all without someone screaming in your ear and you didn’t even have to look at one of…. THESE!
However one of the hardest things about making a new Trials game is just how simple it is. How do you release a new title with fresh, relevant new content while still sticking to the games core game play mechanics? Unfortunately, I feel that Trials Fusion falls short in this aspect, the introduction of the ATV seemed like a super cool idea on paper. But due to a very small amount of tracks that you can actually use the ATV on, I feel that it interrupts the flow of the game, making some parts of Trials: Fusion feel fractured and divided.
In addition to breaking up the game, Ubisoft and RedLynx really fell short in customization when comparing the game to it’s predecessor. Where in Trials Evolution you had a slew of Bike parts, Pants, Helmets, Tops and boots, Trials: Fusion really restricts just how personal you can make your rider. Outfits are divided between 6 different preset Characters with 3 different tiers of clothing unlocking as you progress through the games new Single Player Level system. You can mix and match these outfits to take pants from one outfit and tops from the other, but it all feels very dismal and boring.
Bike customization is worse still, you can only customize 3 of your 6 bikes and you get to choose from one of four Body kits which slightly changes the shape of your bike, the color of your wheels and the color of your fairings. Again, leaving a lot to be desired from a Trials Game. I almost have this paranoid feeling that RedLynx restricted the customization intentionally, so that any future games in the franchise can blow Fusion out of the water later on in the Next-gen Consoles life.
However one thing that Trials excels in is it’s Level and Track design, and Fusion is no different. The new tracks are intuitive and interactive than ever before and each track has it’s own set of obstacles and challenges that you learn to overcome and the more you play, the more efficient you become at overcoming these obstacles which in turns leads to better track times. The servers which are used to save the global leaderboards have been running incredibly smoothly since launch so it’s easy to find out how you stack up against your friends or how you stack up against the world.
Another keen new aspect to Trials: Fusion which relies heavily on level design is the new FMX trick system. Using the Left stick to control the angle of your bike and the right stick to control what trick you perform, RedLynx offers a great new way to up the ante on your ride, without making the controller feel awkward in your hands. What’s more is they have designed beautiful, death defying massive air tracks to score you on your creativity and courage. Link tricks together to build up your multiplier and increase your overall score before you hit the finish line!