Ubisoft and Redlynx are back with a brand new instalment of their ever popular 2.5D racing series with Trials Rising. The highly-admired games always deliver on great variety, fantastic level design and challenging tracks. They’re incredibly fun and always give new ways to test your racing skills. Does Trials Rising stand up to the test? Or has the series lost its appeal?
The first new element to Trials Rising is the “University of Trials”. This is the time to learn and showcase all the vital skills you need to be the ultimate trials biker. The skills are broken down into nine categories that include throttle control, leaning, bunny hops and many more. Once you play each level, you’ll be graded from D to A+ so you’ll learn exactly where you stand when it comes to skills. New challenges are unlocked through levelling up your rider, so it’s a great way to get ready and start racing!
The more you ride the more skill points and money you will earn, with this cash then used to buy new merch and gear, with the skill points levelling you up. Once you increase in skill, you will also unlock new levels, bikes and gear too, earning endless, and I mean endless, loot crates, in the process. These crates also include new gear, stickers and even new celebrations. It’s good to see that these crates can also be unlocked using in-game currency, so if you’re really desperate for some new gear, you’re never too far away. In case you hadn’t guessed so far there is an extortionate amount of stuff to collect in Trials Rising.
In the new “Career Mode” – if you want to call it that – you are found travelling across the world, racing against other riders (who appear as ghost riders on the course), all while trying to earn as many gold medals as possible, levelling up quickly. Once you get more established, you’ll start to unlock Sponsors; these are real sponsors such as Fox. These give you tasks to complete which in turn unlock cool rewards including money, experience points, gears and new tracks. Yep, these new tracks certainly keep on coming.
As is tradition with the Trials series, they start off nice and easy, making sure the fundamentals are learnt, before throwing some curve balls at you with tricky ledges – which you will eventually overcome, before dropping the absolutely ball busters; the very hard levels. Trials is well known for its difficulty, but put it this way – these take away your time, your dignity and your soul, and there will be times when you feel like you just can’t beat certain stages. Over 200 restarts and 30 minutes later, you’ll find your time barely scrapes past a bronze medal, but you won’t care, you did it.
That’s what Trials games are all about, the sheer determination to complete the levels you’ve worked so hard to unlock. Not for the medal, or the quick time, but just to say you did. Rising does this in droves and I couldn’t have been happier.
As much as I love the crazy amount of tracks the Trials series has to offer, Trials Rising differentiates itself from its predecessors. In past instalments, you unlocked new levels and stages through obtaining a required number of medals, however Rising unlocks them when your player reaches a certain level. But this makes the process of unlocking new levels feel like a drag. In fact, it is a tiresome ordeal that had me grinding through level after level to unlock the next stage, just to get to a new set of grinding levels to unlock the next.
The new, but less frequent, sponsored challenges definitely give you more experience points when compared to the normal races, and completing them will certainly see you getting closer to receiving new gear and levels. Rising, sadly, just doesn’t feel as fun as previous Trials games, leaving you feeling forced to play through dozens of short, insignificant races to unlock a loot crate, before opening it, and then playing another. I never felt truly rewarded for setting an unbelievably quick time on a level; something which a rare sticker for your bike fails to really compensate for. In previous Trials, setting the best time on each level seemed like the most important thing, but now you don’t get as many points by setting a fast lap, you get more by completing challenges, completely taking away the element that many loved the most.
As well as the single player side of things, there are a couple of multiplayer options as well. Global Multiplayer sees nothing groundbreaking, letting you join lobbies and compete against other players in a select number of courses, gaining points depending on where you finish. You can also play through the “Party Mode” which is a couch multiplayer game where, once again, you select a set number of courses, select specific rules and then compete against friends. This time we do however also see the inclusion of the Tandem Bike. This is a hilarious game mode where two people must take control of one bike and try to complete a track. Even the simplest of tracks fast becomes an absolute nightmare and even though this Tandem effort has taken up far too much of my time, I’ll have to be honest and say that it is only a good thing.
Graphically, and Trials Rising on Xbox One hasn’t made a big step up since Trials Fusion. Sure it’s a little sharper and more detailed, but at the end of the day if it ain’t broke, then you really don’t need to fix it. The biggest addition to Rising is found in both the crazy amount of action both in the background of levels and the amount of interaction you have with the constantly moving environment. There’s always something going on, and whether you find it distracting or not is subjective, but you cannot deny a lot of work has gone into creating some gorgeous levels.
Lastly, and I couldn’t leave things without talking about the sheer amount of customisation in Rising; it is quite frankly, insane. This includes clothing, level creation (of which there are thousands out there creating beautiful stages), bike aesthetics and everything else you can think of. Every aspect of your player can be changed and customised within an inch of its life – clothing colours, stickers, designs, tyres, wheels, helmets. You name it, you can change it.
Trials Rising isn’t just another Trials instalment. It creates even more incredible fun with exciting and action packed tracks that never cease to both amaze and also infuriate in equal measures. I have however always looked forward to the next track to find a new favourite, and it’s a real shame that at times it definitely feels like a real grind, completing some mindless tasks over and over again just to unlock a new helmet, or something equally as worthless.
The spirit of Trials is still strong, but I can’t help feel that it needs to go back to its roots and do what it used to do best.