Review: Trials Fusion

I hate getting frustrated with games. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves and it leaves me not wanting to play games ever again. After a bit of a fall out with the previous game in RedLynx’s gruelling motorbike physics game – Trials Evolution – having myself review Trials Fusion probably wasn’t the best of ideas, but I valiantly decided to give it a go. Amazingly in the time I spent with the game I did not break my controller – although my Xbox One has been subject to a few rage quits over the past few days.

Developer: RedLynx Studios
Publisher: Ubisoft
Reviewed on: Xbox One
Also Available On: PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PC
Release Date: Available Now

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At the surface Trials Fusion is essentially Trials Evolution with a vibrant colour pallet. Controls are the same, whereby you use the right trigger to accelerate, left trigger to decelerate and the left thumb stick to control the balance of your rider and in turn the bike itself. The formula of the game is tried and tested and it still works just as well as it has in its predecessors. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, because when it comes to the Trials’ series too much change would probably cause more bad than good.

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Trials Fusion boasts a hefty amount of differing tracks to play on. There are eight events in the career mode which ramp up in difficulty as you go along. One thing the game could have done without is the mandatory tutorial levels. As a returning player from previous games, all of the basics are hardwired into my brain and a “skip” button would have been nice.

Every track also has a friend leaderboard so you can see just how well your peers have done. You can also see an indicator in-game which marks how far ahead – or behind – you are from your friends. However one thing I would have liked to see is the absence of the leaderboards and friend markers until you’ve completed the course once. Being a perfectionist – as many others are too – I could sometimes take half an hour per track trying to beat it perfectly on the first try and snub my friends on the leaderboard when the rest of the game was waiting.

I also noticed times when the game would disconnect from Ubisoft’s servers and not notify me. I would keep playing and be completely oblivious to the fact that none of my times or scores were being saved, which was beyond frustrating.

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There’s a massive amount of replay value to Trials Fusion however. Each track in the career has three challenges to accomplish. There are your collectible and stunt based challenges as well as classic Trials challenges such as Full Throttle – for not letting go of the accelerator – or Unyielding – for not changing the posture of your rider. The challenges certainly add a new degree of difficulty to even the novice tracks in the game.

Each track also has a bronze, silver, gold and – later on in the game – platinum medal to unlock. Medals are awarded based on how fast you complete a track and how many times you faulted on them. Achieving all of the medals on the later tracks is no easy task.

One new element that has been added in to Trials Fusion however is the ability to perform stunts on your bike. There are also tracks dedicated to stunts – called FMX tracks – where you attempt to amass as many points as you can and reach the end of the track before the time limit expires.

At best the stunts are a novelty, they’re definitely fun for a while but they serve no purpose in the traditional trials tracks where you attempt to get to the finish in as little time as possible with as little faults. Stunts are mapped to the right thumbs stick and can only be performed whilst your rider is airborne. A lot of the FMX tracks degraded into myself figuring out the tricks that garnered the most points and doing back flips to boost the points up. I saw very little incentive to attempt other tricks.

There are also new tracks being added to Trials Fusion by the community all the time. The “track central” area of the game allows you to browse the newest player created tracks as well as the highest rated and also the RedLynx featured tracks. You can also favourite tracks in order to find them more easily.

New tracks can be created from the track editor which returns from Trials Evolution. Whilst I only played with it a little –as I’m not the most creative player in the world – the editor is robust with endless possibilities. Just from playing a handful of the player made tracks I can’t wait to see what madness people will create.

One thing however which I was oblivious to when initially picking up the game was that an online multiplayer mode was absent – something Trials Evolution had from day one. Whilst we’ve been promised that online multiplayer is coming it does dishearten me a little as I was hoping to get into a four player game with friends for some madness. If you have four controllers and four people in one room however then local multiplayer is available to play from the get go.

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The biggest pet peeve I have with Trials Fusion is something that RedLynx didn’t learn from their previous work. As with Trials Evolution I’d have to say the music is probably the one part of the game that grated on me more than it should have. The main menu theme loops constantly and after a day or so I could feel my ears slowly trying to detach from my body. To stop that from happening I opted to mute the music altogether and whilst I was at it I muted the in-game commentators too. Cindy and George are two A.I. who spout nonsense over and over at you whilst you ride through a track. To say they’re aggravating is an understatement, especially when you’re restarting a checkpoint constantly and have to listen to the same voices on a loop.

Riotous fun
New community content on a daily basis
Massive replay value
Some questionable design decisions
Awful music and gameplay commentators
No online multiplayer from day one

Overall, I’d have to say Trials Fusion is a step back for the series. It costs more than its predecessors, doesn’t have the same charm and also suffers from some questionable design decisions which can prove immensely aggravating. It’s not a bad game by any means, it’s riotous fun at the core with new content by the community being pumped out daily. If you love the Trials series then you’ll love Fusion. If you’ve never played the series before then I’d recommend buying Trials HD or Trials Evolution first.

The review copy of this title was purchased by the author.

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