Play
Please use a flash video capable browser to watch videos.
00:00:00
Review

Trials Evolution Review

  • Game release: April 18, 2012
  • Reviewed: April 24, 2012
  • X360
Aaron Sampson on Google+

The thrilling rides and engrossing competitions return along with robust improvements in Trials Evolution.

by

When Trials HD debuted on the Xbox 360 almost three years ago, console players were treated to an exciting pairing of acrobatic dirt-biking and addictive high-score battles. Now Trials Evolution has arrived with a boatload of new tracks, snappier visuals, better track creation and sharing tools, and the chance to actually race against your fellow bikers. Though the core appeal still rests on the two-pronged suspension of excellent driving physics and heated leaderboard competition, the rest of the chassis has evolved nicely to deliver a great game worthy of the Trials name.

While Trials Evolution can deliver some fiendishly difficult challenges, it's actually a very easy game to pick up and enjoy. You control a rider on his motorcycle, and all you can really do is rev the throttle, hit the brakes, and lean your rider forward or back. From the foundation of these simple and finely tuned controls, Trials Evolution leads you up a gentle slope of easy tracks. Cruising along straightaways and flying off of ramps, you quickly grasp the basics of the physics system, and it's not long before you have a comfortable grip on the handlebars.

Once you've gotten your wheels dirty, the road starts to get steeper, bumpier, and more explosive. As you work your way up in the world, intermittent license tests teach you some of the tricks of the trade, like popping your front tire up or climbing a steep incline, eventually illuminating some of the trickier tactics that Trials HD simply left you to work out on your own or glean from leaderboard replays. Mastering these techniques takes practice, but failure in Trials Evolution is rarely frustrating. You can restart instantly from the previous checkpoint or the beginning of the race with the press of a button. Better yet, your rider flails around like a rag doll when thrown from his bike, and seeing him bashed, slammed, and blown sky high is cathartic and hilarious.

The visual appeal of Trials Evolution extends far beyond the calamity suffered by your rider, thanks to the immensely varied and appealing environments. A jaunt through the countryside on a sunny day makes a great contrast to a tour of a ruined castle by moonlight, and a sunset ride around a mountain retreat provides a peaceful counterpoint to a gritty journey through a heavy industrial complex. Beyond these straightforward beauties, you traverse an airborne archipelago, storm a beachhead in wartime, pick your way through an eerie homage to Limbo, and even contend with shifting gravity as the world rotates around you. There's some wonderful creativity on display, and the new perspective shifts and curving tracks help make Evolution's environments even more playful and challenging.

Catching air on Gigatrack, a meandering course that can take upwards of ten minutes to complete.

It's a lot of fun to take in the sights, but the magic of Trials lies in the racing. The simplistic controls belie a wealth of complexity, and as you take on tougher and tougher tracks, you find more challenges and more thrills. Big jumps and loop-the-loops provide a heady rush, but the sweetest satisfaction comes from nailing the transitions between elements, surmounting tricky obstacles, and flying through the course faster and faster each time you play it. Success earns you medals and money, allowing you to unlock new outfits and more advanced tracks. Though mastering difficult tracks and improving your personal times are satisfying endeavors, some of the best thrills come from beating your friends.

The leaderboards are still a powerful motivation for improvement, but Trials Evolution introduces a new visual element that brings your friends' performances to the forefront. Floating dots and gamertags hover alongside you, tracing the path of your friends' best times. These visual aids can spur you onward like the proverbial carrot on a stick, or they can distract you like a swarm of angry flies cluttering up the screen. Thankfully, the menu options let you choose to see a bunch of names, just the next person ahead of you, only your selected rival, or none at all. (You may also want to opt out of the soundtrack, which features a number of abrasive songs that can disrupt your racing flow.)

If you prefer more direct competition, Trials Evolution offers both local and online competitive play in two flavors. Local play is limited to Supercross races in which up to four players race special tracks side by side at the same time. These can be hectic fun, though the crowded screen and smaller racers do take some getting used to. Online multiplayer offers Supercross as well, but also features Trials mode, in which you race proper tracks simultaneously with up to four other people. Actively racing against ghostly opponents offers purer Trials competition, but the online matchmaking is flawed, and it can take some time to actually get into a match.

Best not fall behind in a Supercross race!

The other big online aspect of Trials Evolution is Track Central, a hub where you can view, share, and download user-created tracks. This is one area of vast improvement, because you can now view shared tracks from the entire Trials community. Maybe you want to see what people have tagged "technical," "explosions," or "something wild," or perhaps you just want to stick with the highest-rated or developer-approved tracks. This system is a boon to racers and creators alike, since now all your hard work can be shared beyond your friends list. The lite and pro editor tools provide great ways to simply stamp out a quick track, create an involved landscape, or even venture wildly off the beaten path and experiment with different genres entirely (a 2D scrolling shooter, a foosball table, and an Angry Birds clone have already appeared).

This all adds up to a lot of Trials awesomeness for 1,200 Microsoft points. Though on a core level Trials Evolution is very similar to its predecessor, it does everything bigger and better. The triumph of conquering a tough track, the thrill of tallying a speedy time, and the creative adventure of making your own track and playing the crazy creations of others all conspire to make this one super sequel.

The Good
Simple, superbly tuned controls
Creative tracks are a joy to ride
Leaderboard contests and live multiplayer races are both exciting
Easy to share and download user-created tracks
The Bad
Online multiplayer takes a long time to connect
Some pretty bad songs on the soundtrack
8.5
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

/ Staff

With his Apple IIGS as the spark and his neighbor's NES the fuel, Chris Watters' passion for gaming caught fire early. Years later, you can find him aiming down virtual sights, traipsing through fantastical lands, and striving to be grossly incandescent while desperately avoiding sunburns.

Discussion

2 comments
blastergamerx
blastergamerx

one thing many people never undestand what makes the game long-lasting. It's the track creator and the track central, but can also turn people away if they see 75% of the tracks in the feeds are spam and tracks without effort put into them.

iuyiuyiuyyuiyui
iuyiuyiuyyuiyui

Like all reviews i see for this game its fairly obvious you played the first few sets of tracks (beginner-medium) then decided you knew enough about the game to write a review, well after spending much more time than, I'm sure, even the developers or "testers" did actually playing this game and obviously you, I can safely give this game a 6/10. this includes all areas(if i could take out customization and graphics it would probably be 2/10) and is mostly so low because the whole game is designed around physics and collision, yet both of these have countless errors, such as your back tire coming off the ground while going both up and down hill your rider starting, by scale, a full foot off where he will actually rest on the bike, the occasional destruction of your bike for landing too much on your back tire(rider doesn't even have to get to a 30 degree angle for this) moving parts of the track causing landing areas to be considered OB while its in motion and my personal favorite air traction...because apparently you can gain enough traction with your tire in the air to shift a 300-600 lb bike and a 150 lb man a total of 60 degrees in the opposite direction of your current momentum. There are countless other minor features that would balance these issues out, such as real brakes and not just reverse, last i checked even trial bikes have actual brakes, the ability to shift position swiftly without throwing over 700 lbs of force into your movement would be really nice and, something people have been asking for since the first game, the ability to go to a previous checkpoint would go along way towards future sales of this game, although all the brown nosing i see going on towards Microsoft and Redlynx, though mostly Microsoft, will probably keep many would be game enthusiasts emptying their pockets to spend 6 hours on this game and realise that it is nothing like the reviews make it out to be.

I'm sure even with this many example there are still plenty of fools out there who are more than willing to blindly love the game, but hopefully this will give anyone who has yet to purchase or play Trials Evolution,or the first game Trials HD, a much more realistic idea of what to expect.

Oh for those who want to make some remark about not posting for games i don't like, read this post again then continue on from here, I never once said i don't like the game nor did I say it was even a bad game, I would never have put more than 6 hours into HD if i had never enjoyed the game and i would not have even purchased Evolution. The games are enjoyable and aside from many instances where the poor physics engine and the bad collision are extremely apparent there are always new courses being created by real players and a few by Redlynx, though these rarely compare to the player made tracks, many of these tracks are not just trials runs but skill games and quite a few multi-player courses.

I would point out the good side to this game but 95% of the reviews you are going to find out there will be from brown nosing "game enthusiasts" or more typically just writers who after listening to half a dozen teenagers describe a game decide they can write a review, who say naught but sugar and rainbows about the game. Typically anything they say that i have not mentioned in the above, outside of customization, which is fairly amazing given the new course editor, and graphics will be correct info on the positive side of the game.

Trials Evolution

  • Xbox 360
Physics-fueled motocross returns to Xbox Live Arcade with new tracks, new sharing tools, and new multiplayer modes in Trials Evolution.
ESRB
Everyone 10+
All Platforms
Check out even more info at the Trials Evolution Wiki on Giantbomb.com