On your marks... get set... DIE!
Developer(s): RedLynx, Ubisoft Shanghai, Ubisoft Ukraine
PLAYED ON XBOX ONE
ALSO AVAILABLE ON PS4, PC AND X360
When you come to think of it, there aren't many well-known titles that give you a challenging time from the off, except from when you choose to do so. Trials Fusion is different. It doesn't give you a choice. It throws you into a quick training program, and then you're off to traverse some punishing courses by yourself. I couldn't love it more, as you don't normally see many games that can willingly flip the bird on the mainstream industry and do what it wants. Trials is there to tell you what to do, not to let you decide how to play. Grab your bike, grab your gear, and have a blast. Just be prepared for a merciless rollercoaster of heavily physics-based motorbike stunts with some (mostly physical) comedy woven in for good measure.
Sounds pretty cool, right? It is, and you should play it relentlessly. The way the game appears to apply a plethora of impressive ragdoll-style moves with such ease is rather astounding. I was fascinated with how well it feels to point your thumbstick in the desired directions and have your rider vault and flip over the bike, in order to pull off 'wicked' poses mid-air, most of which are pop culture references or already beloved by the X-Fighters community and people alike. It all clicks together so well; nothing feels clunky or disorderly and you seem to find yourself raking in respectable scores from the get-go - the tracks may get progressively harder, as they have every right to, but what it gives back is just as good, thanks to the surprisingly vast customization options available throughout. These unlockable gear items aren't in any way helpful to the driver, just more of a fashion statement. You could be sporting the classic helmet, shirt and trousers, or go fully clad in a squirrel costume. Your primary aim is to clear the stage alive, but everything's funnier if you fall into an incinerator whilst dressed as a clown.
When most arcade racers focus solely on bringing you a plethora of different racing events, Trials Fusion has a go at implementing a story into the main levels. An A.I. develops a strange attachment with your rider, claiming that you're different to the other bikers. It's not a deep story, but dialogue revolving around this plot only plays once per level, meaning that if you crash during an interaction, you won't be able to hear the rest of the line. Needless to mention that the roar of the motorbikes' engines and catchy retro tunes can also drown out the characters. It may have been better for RedLynx to incorporate a form of cutscene before each event so that you could get a better grasp of what's going on, but this isn't a particularly game-breaking issue. The local multiplayer is where the extra fun's at, though, as up to four players (locally) must race across varied environments (and trying not to constantly kill themselves). You can pick from one of six bikes, even if you haven't unlocked them all in the main game, to compete in. They're relatively well balanced on the whole, and it makes for some funny moments when you go over the handlebars of a pedal bike and your mate gets a quad bike saddle up his backside. And if this wasn't enough for you to get on with, a special track editor allows you to build your own creations from scratch. All of the scenery pieces and obstacles from the dev's tracks are there to be used, and more than ready to be put together into some bizarre community-made levels. It starts off a bit fiddly, but you'll soon get the hang of it, away and slapping futuristic buildings towering above a course of vibrantly-coloured and haphazardly-positioned rocks on a craggy cliffside. It's awesome.
Trials Fusion is a game that needs to be played, provided you're a person that can handle some difficult situations and constant respawning. If you're the controller-hurling kind with an extremely short temper and no will for a challenge, then please... for the sake of humanity, keep away from this great game.
Me Love Cars - Founder of Motopedia, Gameopedia, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Wiki, Gran Turismo Wiki and TV and Film Wiki. 17:55, April 18, 2014 (UTC)
Funny ragdoll physics.
Genuinely challenging and relentless.
Hugely varied game modes.
Decidedly weak story.
Sometimes hard to understand dialogue on normal audio settings.
It's in a league of it's own, and it's extremely well made. Virtual motocross has never been so exhilarating.