Now, this is more like the bike racing I’m into. I have been a keen follower of the Trials series since the original Trials HD appeared on the Xbox 360. It has not been the smoothest of rides, it has to be said, but on the initial look, things seem to be picking up again. The last memory I have of it was the abysmal Trials of the Blood Dragon, which really should not have ever happened, so getting that bad taste out of the mouth is paramount.
Unlike the other Trials games, there seems to be some sort of story structure. You have a map and you pick the course you want to get stuck into. There are your usual gold, silver and bronze targets to aim for and the subsequent rewards allow you to get further into the game. This can come back to bite you though because there will be a fair bit of replay needing done if you fail to reach the dizzy heights of some levels, but there’s always the goodness of short stages. You never feel like it will take an age and then be a waste. This is very important because you’re never going to play a game that makes the boredom factor bigger than it needs to be.
Other than that, there is no story, but there never was with Trials. There’s a level editor and the obligatory leader-boards that you expect. I’d personally like it where you are only up against your friends online, but it always wants to throw in some folk you never know. This I feel, forces you into a lot of pressure, which isn’t my thing, but thankfully you can switch all that off, which takes the distraction away.
This is the meat of Trials. The gameplay has always been a solid ingredient in the mixture, and Rising is no exception. The controls are the same, the feel is the same and this is never a bad thing because it was never broken. The addition of a comprehensive training mode helps hugely. I’ve never been able to get to the dizzy heights of the hard or expert levels, but with this new training, you now get a feeling you have got a chance to at least finish the course.
That is a huge thing because you get the full package now instead of feeling like you’ll never get to that promised land. You can’t begin to understand how much of a renewed vigour it gives you when you’re getting back into the saddle.
The multiplayer is restricted to local, so the only online modes are playing levels others have made, as well as trying to beat the times of more renowned tracks in the game, which as we all know, is plenty.
What I will say is that you can see that this is the Trials game with the largest budget yet. There’s more of a gloss about everything. The levels have more sheen and a lot more in the line of presentation and finish. It does feel like it has finally crossed that line from cheap arcade game to a more full-on release. It had to happen eventually, as Trials was in danger of just becoming a constant low-end arcade title and not getting acknowledgment for being a proper series.
The main issue is that it has become victim to the loot crates. The thankful thing is that it is all cosmetic, but it still becomes very annoying at the best of times. At least it isn’t restricting gameplay wise, but I’m old school and believe that if you’re paying enough for a game, you should not have to be pestered with crates to entice more money out of you. I do like how it still retains some tongue in cheek moments and points of genuine hilarity, which it is known for.
I was never going to do without Trials Rising. The great thing is that I am not disappointed. It’s the closest it has felt to the original in years and that is simply fabulous. The music should take particular mention, with a great rock filled soundtrack, including the mighty Motorhead among others. The money put into the series has been noticed in ever department and I can’t complain, I really can’t.
I’ve reviewed a lot of motorbike games recently, but Trials is the one I always come back to. It has mastered the ability to have short session ability right up to playing for hours and forgetting where the time has gone. Sure, it does have the loot/gear crates, but you don’t have to worry about that, as it won’t affect your character and the bike he’s riding.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some riding to do.