Absurdity At Its Finest: Trials Rising Review
The Trials series has constantly been made up of arcadey fun. Trials Rising does not veer off the established path whatsoever. In fact, RedLynx alongside Ubisoft Kiev doubled down and delivered another outstanding play-bed that fans of previous iterations will adore, while also opening the gates for new players who might have missed out on the previous platform racers.
Trials Rising does not skip a beat before having you create your avatar, placing you in the seat and teaching you the fundamentals. Trials Rising is very light on narrative, to make a short story shorter, you’re set out to best motorcycle racer in the world.
Off To The Races
You’ll begin your journey in North America, racing through relatively linear courses. The beauty of the Trials games has always been how simple the mechanics look on paper. As Trials Rising is a 2D racer built in a 2.5D plane, players must only worry about gas, breaks, and leaning byway of the analog stick. In the first hurdle of the campaign, you’ll begin feeling more accustomed to the simplistic control scheme.
Trials Rising applies the difficulty spikes where once you feel too comfortable, they throw another wrench into the whole thing. It does not take long before you will have to master the bunny hop and perform balancing acts to keep yourself afloat in the races. There were many moments where I’d lean or hop in my seat, subconsciously thinking that it would help me get over that one difficult jump. It’s those spurts that create tension, and personal satisfaction when completing a course is rewarding.
If you ever start to feel overwhelmed with the difficulty, Trials Rising has a helpful tool, the Trials University. Even as an avid player of both Trials Fusion and Trials of the Blood Dragon, I found myself learning new techniques, and shaking off the rust through Trials University.
The racetracks themselves become as unpredictable as you advance. This being a world tour of sorts, you’ll race in over 100 fictional tracks each a little more complex and granular than the last. As the campaign is split between nine separate Leagues, each with eight tracks and a Stadium Final to complete, there is a lot of content to get through in order to reach completion.
Contracts for each course can be completed on top of finishing a race. Some are more simple: a complete course in X amount of time, while others are a little more advanced. You may have to complete the course with only a few retries while also performing five back-flips.
You’ll be met with some wacky set pieces along the way as well. Trials Rising upped the ante when it came to the zaniness. Part of the excitement of playing on a new track is never knowing what lies beyond the right side of your screen. There are moments where the floor drops out, having you quickly level yourself out. Other times, you’ll be propelled in the opposite direction. The absurd level designs throughout go to show that RedLynx has not lost their touch.
RedLynx developed a new line of Skill Games. Ripping you from the racetrack, you’ll instead have to complete more unique challenges. One of my favourites involved manipulating the game’s physics to launch your avatar off the bike, catch a basketball and land yourself in a comically-sized hoop.
Missed a jump, don’t worry! A simple click of a button (B on Xbox) will place you back at one of the many checkpoints so you can redo that portion of the race. If you are looking for a perfect run, the Select button restarts the whole race. Playing on the Xbox One X, I had no issues with frame rate drops or loading. Everything was quick and fluid, even when the on-screen action was at its peak.
Never Race Alone
How RedLynx managed to evolve the Trials franchise without reinventing the wheel was the emphasis on multiplayer. As you progress through the campaign Leagues, you’ll be accompanied by three other players’ “ghosts”. Many racing games have used racing ghosts in the past, as it does brew some competition even when playing solo.
Outside of the campaign, you can square up with other players in a three-round competition against a handful of other players online. This time, each player is present, and you are racing side-by-side. Between each race, the group votes on the next track so you better brush up on those Ninja moves in case you are thrown into a more difficult track.
If you really want to test your mettle, you can play through numerous races on a co-op tandem bicycle. Both players have to work in unison and if either falters or fails to hit a jump just right, all can go badly. Co-op is equal parts fun and frustrating, but when you finish a course, it feels like an accomplishment.
Track Editor returns, so once you have completed all campaign tracks, dive into the community made tracks. Since the online presence was limited during the review period, few tracks were made. However, the tool-set within Track Editor indicated there will be complex and abstract tracks made on the horizon.
Trials Rising gives you the option to customize your avatar as well as each of the motorcycles you unlock. Each time you level up or complete a contract you are rewarded with cosmetic items or a Gear Crate.
Each Gear Crates offers a small selection of cosmetics. In the time spent with Trials Rising, it was all too common that I would be rewarded with duplicate cosmetics for my achievements. Though players are given the option to sell them back for a small sliver of Trials Coins, the in-game currency. Having a collection of seven denim jackets is a bit of a let down when you are able to see more sought after cosmetics in the storefront.
The loot boxes become a bit intrusive as you are constantly bombarded with cosmetic rewards, though thankfully none impact the gameplay and you can easily put them on the back-burner.
The Trials franchise is back in full swing. Thankfully, after a long absence, RedLynx returns to the franchise and they never lost their touch. With so much content baked into the platform, my hope is to see the community cling on as they did with Trials Fusion.
Trials Rising is a hot spot for ridiculousness. Trials is a franchise that’s easy to pick up but difficult to master, though the tools within will help all players become accustomed to the advanced mechanics. Many social branches within the game means there is a wide array of content to dive into and enjoy. With community built tracks likely to spring up in the coming weeks, Trials Rising is a game I look forward to jumping back into time and time again.
Available: February 26th
Platform: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and PC
A Xbox One code for Trials Rising was provided for review purposes.