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During all the E3 madness there was also some games being released and not just talked about or announced. One of those games was Trials of the Blood Dragon; announced and then immediately released during Ubisoft’s annual conference. A rather unlikely mash up between Trials, the popular physics based motorcycle series and Blood Dragon, the spin off from Far Cry based around 80’s action movies. One of the strangest remixes in video game history but after seeing the reveal it kinda made sense. Having played it now it’s fairly well done that fans of both games will enjoy even if the experience has it’s flaws.
The basic Trials gameplay is something I’ve always been a big fan of and that really isn’t any different here. When it’s just you on a bike it’s such a fun experience that usually balances itself well between challenging and entertaining; even if this game is a bit on the easy side if you’re a Trials veteran. It did leave me wanting more however and the game is fairly short. I beat the all the levels in around four hours and was taking my time so this is definitely a shorter Trials experience rather than the main games that I can replay for hours on end.
There is a lot more to this game than just the bike gameplay though. It varies in quality but it mostly just detracts from the experience for me. The grappling hook was by far my favorite addition as it really added to the bike gameplay in a fun and meaningful way. Doing a massive jump and comboing that into a perfectly timed swing before the next jump felt really cool and is something I’d like to see implemented more in the future. It controlled fairly well and bar one or two moments it was used effectively within the designed levels.
The other vehicles you control are fairly average. It’s the usual kinda craziness you’d expect without going into it too much. The RC car was probably the most fun but it’s mostly rather forgettable. Using a jetpack is something I never want to do in Trials again. The biggest change however is the introduction of platforming sections. Did you even know this game had platforming sections? Well it does. And it kinda sucks.
It looks similar to games like Shadow Complex so picture that in terms of the jumping and shooting but without any of the good gameplay or fun that game had. The jumping just feels super strange and it’s weird to put into words. It’s incredibly floaty, more so than possibly any platformer I’ve played before. I guess it’s because they’ve modified the bike physics to be used here but it ends it being something that is kind of a mess. It bummed me out when playing the game you would be driving along in your bike, having a great time, when suddenly in the middle of a level you would be forced to do more platforming when all I wanted to do was ride my bike. Is that really too much to ask? Just let me ride guys!
Talking about the actual Blood Dragon crossover parts which is mostly the story and overall zany tone; it’s a very cool wrapper for a Trials game. Usually those games are all about the gameplay for me and replaying the levels to get the best scores so it was nice to have something different going on and driving the whole thing forward. The story is what it is. Super dumb and super tongue in cheek but it definitely works and the cartoon cut scenes I thought were nicely done indeed. The voice over is pretty fantastic also which is key to the Blood Dragon experience.
Another key part would be the soundtrack which again I think they nailed. My favorite Trials soundtrack to date because as much as I liked the previous ones; just hearing hard rock/metal songs all the time can get repetitive for even a fan like myself. It’s cool to see more variety on display here with my favorites being the pop/electronic songs which come from the Hotline Miami inspired section of the game.
Speaking of that another thing this game does that was fun was the way it took on and almost parodied multiple different games and films under the Blood Dragon umbrella. For example there’s an Indiana Jones inspired level complete with rolling boulder. This is something I’d really like to see going forward with the franchise. Maybe even without Blood Dragon, just any dumb reason they can come up with so you are going to all these completely different places based on familiar games or films would definitely be worthwhile for a more substantial Trials game in the future.
Overall the presentation of the game is what makes it a Blood Dragon game and that adds to the always fun Trials gameplay that usually lacks any kind of discernible personality. It’s the gameplay additions which are the game’s biggest flaws for the most part. I get that you don’t just wanna make a Trials game with some cool cutscenes but almost all the new stuff misses the mark and isn’t remotely on par with the core Trials gameplay. For what this is though I definitely had a good time and would recommend it for fans of either franchise. Mostly I just want a new Trials game now as this felt like more of an appetizer. A nice surprise which I didn’t see coming from Ubisoft that made E3 even more enjoyable.