Review: Trials Fusion (XBO)

Review: Trials Fusion (XBO)

It’s been just shy of two years since the release of Trials Evolution, the widely acclaimed follow-up to the equally acclaimed Trials HD from Ubisoft’s RedLynx development team. Today, the highly anticipated third console entry in the burgeoning franchise has been released on Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 4, with the PC release to follow next week. It is not alone, however, as the free-to-play Trials Frontier was also recently released for iOS, with Android to come at a later date.

While Trials Frontier carries with it most of the standard offending qualities of a bad mobile game, including a less effective implementation of Trials mechanics, there is a special rider suit available in its console counterpart, if you complete certain cross-game requirements. Thankfully, Trials Fusion is almost devoid of the pitfalls that commonly impact console titles.

Almost…we’ll get to that bit a little later, shall we?

There is only one really relevant piece of information that you’ll look for in a Trials Fusion review, especially for those who have played a Trials game before: does it play as well as its predecessors? Fear not, for the fundamental mechanics of Trials have returned triumphantly. It feels like Trials, from the weight of the bikes to the aneurysm inducing difficulty spikes, and it looks beautiful. On the PlayStation 4, the game is touted to run at 1080p/60fps, while the Xbox One’s current 800p/60fps will bump up to 900p/60fps with the day one launch patch installed. The Xbox 360 release will run at 600p/60fps.

With a game of this style, however, the graphics are hardly the most important element. Where this kind of game really shines is in its gameplay, and its gameplay exceeds expectations. New to Trials Fusion is an advanced element of style. Beyond the backflips and frontflips of the Trials that came before, Fusion incorporates a full range of trick maneuvers that can be used to multiply your score in certain modes, and must be used to meet certain track challenges. The classic medal system returns, as do the advanced track editor and competitive leaderboards. Local and online multiplayer return as well, and while local multiplayer functions as you would expect, online multiplayer was not active for the early reviewing period, and on the morning of release is apparently still not functional/available. An online tournament mode supposedly exists, but I can neither comment on the online modes nor the quality of the online experience.

Edit: Online multiplayer will not be the same four-player head-to-head racing that exists in the local multiplayer, and served as the local/online multiplayer of Trials Evolution. The new tournament mode, which is not being detailed by RedLynx or Ubisoft, has replaced that mode of online play. Oh, and it will be “months” before it becomes available as a free update, so don’t hold your breath for online multiplayer anytime soon.

The soundtrack is almost exclusively (and pardon me if I get the specific genres wrong, but I really don’t care) dubstep or some other form of dying machinery, which seems to have been Ubisoft’s go-to for the last couple of years. This lack of musical variety becomes annoying to people without robot ears, but it’s a simple enough solution: just reduce the game’s music volume to “0” and load up a playlist on your computer or other musical device.

Still…come on guys. All of this robot torture just for the aural entertainment of humanity is one of the main reasons why the machines eventually revolt.

The game, in spite of its soundtrack, is phenomenal. There are levels that boost your confidence, and there are levels that make you want to slap the designers. By the way, if you’re an aforementioned designer on Trials Evolution, you should go to E3 or PAX Prime this year. Y’know, for the networking. I’d like to give you a handshake, both to the hand and to the face. (Preemptive edit for the overly sensitive: I’m not seriously threatening them with violence, it’s simply hyperbole.)

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbUjs5yWb8k]

See what I mean? That was just a clip.

Trials Fusion is available for $19.99, eschewing the $14.99 pattern set by both Trials HD and Trials Evolution. I felt that $14.99 was the right price for Trials Evolution on its launch, and I feel the same way about Trials Fusion. This feeling is reinforced by the presence of a $19.99 season pass for Trials Fusion, bringing the full price of the game and its DLC (which will include additional tracks and track editor items) to almost $40. For the hardcore Trials fan and track creator, this is not entirely unreasonable due to the expanded item library for track creation. For someone who just wants to pick it up for a bit of fun, the price presents a relatively high point of entry, and the cost of the season pass seems prohibitive.

Pros:

  • Incredibly entertaining
  • Massive replay value (leaderboards, user tracks, self-improvement)
  • FMX trick system adds new element to gameplay
  • Highly challenging

Cons:

  • Price tag, along with season pass price tag
  • Soundtrack
  • Unable to access online modes prior to or at launchOnline mode not available at launch, will release as a free game update in “months”
  • Urge to slap designers…rising.
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