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TRAIL OUT Review

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My favourite part of TRAIL OUT is a subtle touch. Despite this being a world in which vehicular combat with the intention of flinging your opponent (or yourself) out of the windshield is the norm, your opponents still take the time to beep their horn when you barge into them. It feels almost innocent that they still deem this worthy, as I line myself up for another shunt into them. And in this world devoid of any other form of innocence, it’s a cute touch that isn’t lost on me.

In TRAIL OUT, you are reliving the story of Mihalych, the newest driver in the TRAIL OUT festival. But it isn’t your traditional festival; eight drivers compete against each other across the world, pummelling each other with their cars. As Mihalych, it is your job to climb the ranks and defeat the other riders one-by-one.

But in order to do that, you need fans. Mihalych is starting off at the very bottom of the ladder, with very little money to his name. However, by completing races, he can start to earn a name for himself with fans, and unlock new vehicle chassis to customise new rides with.

TRAIL OUT review 1
TRAIL OUT – the tale of Mihalych

Events can take the form of a traditional circuit race, a point-to-point or even a time trial. The other key factor in them though is utter destruction. Whether that is by trading paint with a rival, or billowing through a shop front in the name of a shortcut, the action on-screen is relentless. At times it reminds me of Split/Second with scheduled explosions, or a helicopter armed with missiles chasing you. Other times it is reminiscent of FlatOut with some of the crazy minigames involving human skittles or human darts. Hint: you are the ball/dart in this equation.

This is all housed up in a package that feels like it has been ripped from the early 2000s, for better or worse. A punchy metalcore/emo soundtrack, some of the worst voice acting I’ve heard in a long time and plenty of swearing and other questionable content in an attempt to seem more edgy. Seriously, this is rated a 12 on the Xbox Store but has plenty of F bombs, MF bombs and in one cutscene a woman even spits in the face of Mihalych. Edgy, but not exactly 12 edgy.

Graphically, it isn’t much more advanced either. Credit where it is due, the dynamic destruction of the cars is pretty good. Character animations and movements however, are not. Their wooden and less-than-fluid animations do match up with the voice acting, though I suspect that was unintentional.

You can still tell when TRAIL OUT is riffing on another franchise however, and there are a lot of references to other forms of entertainment. Some are more subtle, like an achievement referencing the iconic canal chase in Terminator 2. Others are far more in your face: One of your opponents will be a large guy sporting green clothes and a pork pie hat. His name is Big Cheese and he likes to order “Two number nines…” And just when you thought it couldn’t get any more brazen about the reference, his boss level is essentially a recreation of the Grove Street cul-de-sac.

TRAIL OUT review 2
Rough, but super fun

There are other issues that I could go on about such as the terrible voice acting, unlocks not unlocking when they should, the grindy nature of progression in the career, the terrible voice acting, the slow texture loading, the rubberbanding… Did I mention the terrible voice acting?

But, and it’s a big but, when you are in the moment, in the races or the derbies, TRAIL OUT is a lot of fun too. Ultimately, that should be all that matters.

And it throws a lot of variation at you too. One race out of nowhere had eight of us driving in Batmobiles. Obviously not called that for copyright reasons, but it was immediately apparent what they were. And there was no build-up in-game to this, teasing what you will get to drive next. They just appeared in one race, and were gone again.

Sure, the cars either handle like they’re on ice at all times, with no middle ground between the understeer and oversteer, but there is almost something primal to knocking these cars into each other. None of your opponents are nice people, and it is thoroughly enjoyable taking them down a peg or two. It’s this excess of fun that allows you to forgive many of TRAIL OUTs other foibles.

TRAIL OUT review 3
DARTS!

Whether you are looking for a game that packs in more Grand Theft Auto references than even a GTA game, or just some mindless fun, TRAIL OUT is that game. It has plenty of issues, the majority of which are minor, but all is forgiven once you are out on the track and the fun shines through. 

Much like many of the opponents you will face, TRAIL OUT is rough, but ready to put up a fight.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Overall it is a lot of fun
  • High level of variation in events
Cons:
  • Terrible voice acting
  • Blatant rubberbanding
  • Cars don’t particularly handle well
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Crytivo
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review)
  • Release date and price - 10 April 2024 | £24.99
Richard Dobson
Richard Dobson
Avid gamer since the days of Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Grew up with the PS1 and PS2 but changed allegiances in 2007 with the release of Halo 3.
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Overall it is a lot of fun</li> <li>High level of variation in events</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Terrible voice acting</li> <li>Blatant rubberbanding</li> <li>Cars don’t particularly handle well</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Crytivo</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review) <li>Release date and price - 10 April 2024 | £24.99</li> </ul>TRAIL OUT Review
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