Anyone who has owned an Xbox 360 for the last few years will have no doubt experienced a little of the Trials brand. First coming to our attention back in 2009 with Trials HD, Red Lynx then spent a few years moving things forward a shed load with their release of Trials Evolution. Both games were renowned frustration bearers with pretty steep learning curves, but both also garnered a huge fan base with their ‘Just one more go’ attitudes. Now though Red Lynx are back and not only have they brought their latest title to Xbox, but Trials has also bridged the gap to the next generation with a simultaneous Xbox 360 and Xbox One release with Trials Fusion.
So will the third title in the series reach the heights of the previous two, or will Fusion be the cause of one too many broken controllers?
Well, that all depends on how easily the addiction grabs you because for all the fancy futuristic graphics, Fusion relies on the exact same formula and game mechanics as both its siblings and that in turn means there are crazy levels of addiction on the horizon. The aim is to choose your bike of choice (of which now a quad and a BMX are also available), and then set out to complete the course set out in front of you as quickly and with the least number of faults as possible. And whilst that sounds pretty damn simple, the fact you’re constantly being reminded how well your Xbox Live friends are doing, means that one small mistake and it’s pretty much the end of your run. The easy courses are still easy whilst the medium ones are straightforward enough but earn enough gold, silver and bronze medals to start venturing into the harder course territory and you’ll be needing to summon all your previous Trials skills (as well as your reset button skills) in order to progress to the end. The learning curve is still steep, too steep for my liking, but I’m sure there will be many an Xbox One gamer content to sit for far too long in order to finish some of the harder stuff. Personally I’ll just stick to the simpler stuff.
But don’t let the learning curve put you off too much. You may question the £15.99 price tag if all you expect to do is play some of the easier levels but thankfully Trials Fusion sees the return of Track Central, an area where you can create your own or download tracks from others around the world. Aside from the enjoyment gained from creating your own tracks in the now increased space, with more items than ever before, think of Track Central as an unlimited source of free downloadable content and you’ll quickly find yourself getting involved in everything on offer. It more than compensates for the harsh reality and difficulty modes of the single player game and with a thriving track community this could be the one spot you find yourself going back to time and time again, especially once the monthly Trials challenges are also running.
Back in the single player and we now see the addition of three ‘challenges’ per track and a tricks system. The challenges bring that little something extra to look for when you’re flying through the tracks, although to complete them all you’ll be needing to find yourself a huge slice of luck as some are either very difficult to complete or just downright random, with two words, PENGUIN TENNIS, showing just how random they can be! Also thrown into proceedings is the new tricks system and whilst these aren’t necessarily needed for the basic race to the end levels they come in rather importantly in a number of the skill games that are found in Fusion. The tricks are well defined and easy enough to pull off whilst in the air, (a quick move with the right stick sees your little Trials guy throw his body around even more than usual), but I would have liked to have seen the moves or at least the score gathered from pulling them off, used to greater effect in the worldwide leaderboards. It would have added another element of competition alongside the usual fault and time boards and would have been interesting to see who amongst my many Xbox Live friends were the trick masters. The trick system does however come into use well with the many skill games that are found in the single player campaign. Whilst I don’t find them as ‘fun’ as the ones found on the older games, they are still decent enough additions with the ‘Triathlon’ being a standout game for me. Everyone loves to see how far, how high and how many bunny hops they can pull off don’t they?
There is also a brilliant multiplayer option available to you once you’ve decided you need a little more competition in your life. Allowing numerous game options for up to 4 players racing alongside each other at the same time this has possibly given me the most fun throughout the entire game. Unfortunately though, this is where Fusion is a massive letdown, with only a local option being available. It’s almost sacrilege that there is no online multiplayer available as the game is set up perfectly for some hardcore Live racing. Whilst the option is in the works, we still have no idea when this will turn up and so are left scrabbling around with sofa multiplayer only. It works perfectly and is great fun to play and that only sours things even more because we should be doing all this online, especially with the power of the Xbox One.
I have to admit to being one of those who has previously felt the burn with both Trials HD and Evolution. I fully understand the addiction many get with the game series but once I’d completed the easy and medium courses, I always found the harder tracks just became a bit of an annoyance, in the end turning me away. Trials Fusion unfortunately brings the very same feelings flooding back and although I’ve had much fun playing through the easier levels, once the hard stuff is thrown at me and I’m on a three digit retry number, my only thoughts are to switch off and go back to something slightly easier, or grab one of the kids for a little multiplayer session. I would have liked to have got a greater sense of achievement placed in game with perhaps a progress bar showing how far ahead or behind I am on any one go to my friends and with a similar system present in the local multiplayer, I’m not really sure why it has been omitted from the main game. I seriously hope the game wasn’t rushed out but there’s a small portion of me who thinks that with a little more time, Red Lynx could have done so much more with Fusion.
That said, there’s absolutely no doubt that it’s a cracking game, just be aware of the lack of online multiplayer and the need for a high level of persistence.
Oh and prepare to order a new Xbox One controller sooner rather than later!