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The Trials series by RedLynx has made it’s mark on the Xbox 360 and PC having some of the most successful downloadable titles. While they start all easy, the real game for the hardcore fans begin at the hard and extreme difficulty courses. This is why the gaming community are fans of the franchise because of near impossible courses that requires lots of skill and luck manipulating the bike. However, defeating these courses is a moral victory, but doing them with limited mistakes become one of the most satisfying feats in modern gaming. Trials Fusion is more of that not surprisingly, but there’s some new features thrown to the formula to spice things up. This is also the first time the series has appeared on Sony platforms so more people can enjoy what they probably missed. While Fusion keeps the core formula intact, the new additions are welcoming for both newcomers and fans of the franchise.
One of the more welcoming changes to Trials Fusion is the “future” aesthetic. It doesn’t mean that you’re riding futuristic bikes through the numerous courses, but the environments do have that futuristic look, which is refreshing for the series. Sure, there are still the outdoor jungle, desert, and mountainous settings, but this is the most varied Trials has looked yet. There is also a story of sorts in Fusion with voices telling you stuff throughout the career mode, but as expected with these games, you’re more focused trying to beat these levels as fast as possible as well as with minimal mistakes.
The career mode progression is standard getting familiar with the game’s core mechanics of leaning your bike through various obstacles to avoid faults. Then there’s the new tricks system that gets introduced halfway in, which I’ll talk more later. As mentioned earlier, the real game begins for many with the hard and extreme difficulties. These near impossible courses are dear to gamers’ hearts because of the difficulty factor, a rarity these days in today’s era of gaming where many games have gotten easier to beat. However, with games like Trials and the Dark Souls series, that old-school approach to difficulty is still there and appreciated, but definitely not for everyone. Some would be happy just beating the regular career not touching the extreme courses, but the completionists will be splitting their hairs and dealing with frustration for hours trying to beat these levels.
There is more beyond just completing these trials courses for fast times and scoring high in FMX events in the career mode. Challenges (pictured above) are also available to spice things up for players to go beyond what they’re used to. These range from performing a certain number of flips with no faults, performing a specific trick over a certain part of the track, navigating through a secret area, beating the level without leaning, etc. While most challenges are pretty general and difficult, some of the other ones are a vague in their descriptions to the point you have to find a user replay of it done or a YouTube video. The challenges do add some replay value to Fusion’s career mode along with the collectables that return from the previous games and unlocking more bikes, an ATV, customizable wheels/body kits, etc.
The biggest new addition to Trials Fusion is the tricks system. While these can be performed during trials scores, you don’t get scored for them unless you’re competing in FMX specific events. Pulling tricks off in this game is similar to the Skate games than Tony Hawk where you have to manipulate the analog sticks to get what you want. Your bike’s leaned position dictates the trick being performed, so combining that with landing perfectly to score big points. Also not faulting and nailing tricks in big jumps keeps the multiplier going to get those gold or even platinum medals. It definitely takes time to learn since the tutorial doesn’t do a good enough job explaining everything, but you’ll get the hang of it after a couple of tries in the first FMX event. It is indeed hard to master especially trying to mix in multiple tricks in one jump while flipping. The tricks system is a welcoming addition to the Trials formula and a good break when trying to navigate through diabolical obstacles.
Other than career mode, Trials Fusion is filled with content to keep players busy. The track editor is available for custom courses to be made and can be played for ratings. Thought the courses RedLynx are hard enough, wait till you see what twisted minds from the Trials community can come up with this time. Some of the options like featured and staff picks are not working as of this review now, so hopefully that will be fixed in a future patch. Multiplayer is also there up to four players competing in specific trials courses, but it is only available locally, which is a bummer. RedLynx did say that online multiplayer will be implemented sometime in the future, but still unfortunate it didn’t make launch. There is also support with the mobile game Trials Frontier in terms of connectivity between the two games concerning specific unlocks.
The latest Trials looks great on the Xbox One, the version I played, and I’m sure the same is the case on other consoles and PC. Sure, there is the resolution issue where the Xbox One version is only 900p while the PS4 version is 1080p, but that is not something to be concerned about when you’re too focused on the gameplay. Some levels are definitely standouts due to the visual presentation such as the sunset one seen earlier in the review. The load times of the tracks are fine, but texture pop-in does kick in for a bit when restarting from the start of the level. The issue of the load times come in when navigating through the store buying the in-game tricks and looking at the bikes you acquired. These are longer than normal where you can’t see the bike you’re planning to use right away.
The soundtrack is also solid for the most part in Fusion, but be prepared to listen to the title song numerous times. What’s more grating are the voice overs when the story is trying to be told in career mode. Since you’ll be restarting frequently trying to get that perfect run, the voices repeat the same lines over and over to the point it gets annoying. Sure, there is audio settings to tinker around with to avoid that issue or you’ll just have your own music to blast while playing the game.
Trials Fusion is another worthy iteration to the hit franchise. Those who are not tired of the formula and wanted a new set of challenging courses to tackle, this is easily worth the $20 on the various platforms it is on. The price may be a little steep for newcomers, but the amount of content from the track editor, custom levels, local multiplayer, and the deep career mode is more than enough. The new additions such as the trick system is welcoming to the core formula and the diabolical obstacles the series has been known for are still there in full force. More content is coming with the $20 season pass along with the hopes of online multiplayer because it didn’t make the launch, so there is something for those fiending for more after completing everything else the game offers. More Trials is still not a bad thing and I’m curious how RedLynx does next with the series if that keep going with it.