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Trials Evolution Review

/ Jun 1st, 2012 No Comments

Trials Evolution Review
Trials Evolution Review

Trials Evolution Review

Trials Evolution is in every way an evolution of its predecessor – which is a tall order considering Trials HD is one of the bestselling Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) games. The jumps are bigger, the environments are better, and, this time, the tracks are even trickier making for a crazy and thrilling ride.

Though Evolution looks like a racing game, it is more of a puzzler at heart. Players control a rider on a motorbike navigating his way through stunt tracks using a deceptive and exaggerated physics system. You make your way from beginning to end as fast as possible while crashing or restarting from checkpoints (called faults) as few times as you can. Faster times and fewer faults mean better medals; collect more medals and you open up new tracks and license tests which train you in more advanced and difficult maneuvers. RedLynx does a fantastic job at easing you into the game’s difficulty with its early tracks but soon the high difficulty becomes readily apparent as some obstacles take countless tries to overcome…let alone land safely.

The difficulty becomes Trials Evolution’s biggest selling point. Many players might be turned away by the difficulty but should find enough solace in the earlier tracks to still have fun. The quest for getting better medals is not only fun but a great way to hone skills for beginners. If the tracks are still too demanding there is a good variety of skill games and user created tracks to try which are normally rated by difficulty (more on those later). Just as many players will adore the difficulty and relish in the challenge. Even when you literally and figuratively hit a wall in the game there is incentive to get over it and to the finish line. Not only is there an extreme feeling of accomplishment but each time you cross the finish line results in your rider meeting a ridiculous demise from being crushed by a piano, shot into space, or even blown up by an atom bomb. The difficulty might seem unfair at first but keep in mind that victory is achievable and there are plenty of other tracks to punish you.

Trials Evolution

Trials Evolution

Evolution finally does what the original never did and takes you outside of the closed warehouse environment. Graphically, the game doesn’t push any boundaries but that doesn’t take away from the well-designed tracks and environments. Darkly-lit caves, crumbling monuments, baseball fields, and even floating islands in the sky are some of the locales you will ride through even looking like they belong in a completely different genre of game. Watching your rider crash and explode is comic and adds a dash of insanity to the game. Even if you replay a track several times you won’t get tired of seeing them. Fans of other XBLA games will be glad to see levels that pay homage to titles such as Limbo and ‘Splosion Man and a few winks at other releases.

For a game this successful there are a few places it falls flat, especially in customization. With every completed race and every medal achieved you win money which can then be spent on different attire for your rider or different parts for your bike. While some players might appreciate the wide range of shirts, helmets, wheels, or grips, these options are purely cosmetic and don’t add any depth to the gameplay itself. Players who don’t care about such things will likely have large amounts of cash waiting to be spent. I wish the customization was as ridiculous and tongue in cheek as the game itself. I would have loved bizarre customization options where I could add antlers to my rider instead of a helmet, an enormous cape that blows in the wind, exhausts that shot out flames or even rainbows, or even some intricate paint jobs. This opens up a great list of possibilities for future DLC until then I will have to be satisfied with watching my hot pink bike get blown sky high.

Trials Evolution for XBLA

Trials Evolution for XBLA

I also would have liked the same variety given to Evolution’s sound. The growling metal-rock soundtrack fits the aesthetic of the game and is definitely geared towards fans of the style or for those who want some adrenaline pumping while they race. Still, it is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea (certainly not mine). After you hear the same four or five tunes repeated several times—and believe me you will—you will want to mute the soundtrack and dip into your own music library. Coupled with the same small collection of sound effects, explosions, vocals, and constant revving of the bike’s engine can all be a little dull. A few generic instrumental tunes would have gone a long way. I even would have appreciated and been amused had there been some classical music in the game. How fun would it have been to listen to some opera while landing enormous jumps or flying high in the air after a particularly brilliant explosion? The music and few other flaws just don’t fit the personality of the game. It feels like RedLynx was trying to make the game something it isn’t and give it a coat of commercial appeal. Trials Evolution is a brilliant game that doesn’t need that commercial flare. The bland customization and sound take away from the experience at times but never enough to affect your enjoyment of passing another difficult track.

The game also boasts an incredibly rewarding online experience when you want to take a break from the challenge of single player. RedLynx did an amazing job designing tracks ranging from easy to maddeningly difficult and they have opened the creative floodgates by adding their track editor for any player to use. It isn’t just racing and stunt tracks that people are making but skill games, top-down shooters, and even ball mazes. The possibilities are endless and I have seen and played some amazingly talented and creative tracks out there; highlighted and top-rated tracks are easy to find, download, and play all within a few seconds. The sheer amount of content given here promises to give Trials Evolution a better lifespan than many big budget titles. If you have a few friends who are up for a bit of abuse you can even race against them either locally or online.

Trials Evolution transcends its racing game first impression by becoming an insanely enjoyable experience. The recent wave of old-school difficult games (i.e. Dark Souls and Super Meat Boy) has created a large fan base of players who want a deep and rewarding experience rife with challenge. While it does have a few minor issues, the game perfects an already great formula. Even players who have mastered the mechanics will still find something new in user created tracks to breathe life into the game. Trials Evolution is the perfect example of what a downloadable title should be.

Overall Ratings – Trials Evolution (XBox 360, XBLA)

Gameplay:

10/10

Graphics:

8/10

Sound:

8/10

Replay Value:

10/10

OVERALL SCORE:

90%

 

Ben Sheene

Ben Sheene

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Ben is from Kentucky where he originally began playing games (an activity he still continues to this day). With a love for writing he graduated from Centre College with a BA in English. He recently moved to California to pursue whatever future endeavors were there. A passion for music, gaming, blogging, and existing keeps him up at night and crafts him into the person he is today.
Ben Sheene

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