Trials Evolution Review
When it comes to games that focus their main gameplay around platforming, insane racetracks, wipeouts, and motocross bikes, RedLynx’s Trials Evolution is king. This Xbox Live Arcade exclusive was released on April 18th for 800 Microsoft Points and is very addictive. It’s not hard to see why, when all previously mentioned factors are combined as well as they are in Trials Evolution. This second game in the series will feel like home for fans of the first Trials. You are still in control of an unnamed motocrosser charged with reaching the end of racetracks and performing stunt maneuvers laid out linearly before you, balancing so that you don't wipe out as you go speeding down ramps and over jumps.
With this second iteration many aspects of the original have been improved upon. The game no longer takes place in a warehouse, but rather in expansive outdoor areas. These range from classic dirt bike tracks to floating islands in the sky, and a Stonehenge track complete with a full moon and fog.
Set pieces that resemble something from Universal Studios have also been added to the trails and help immerse the player in the Trials experience. All of these new tracks are very polished and look amazing while zipping through them, with tons of detail put into each stage. However, just as with real dirt biking most of your attention has to be used to not crash or backflip, so the backdrops and tracks themselves might get lost in the shuffle.
Trials HD, the first game in the series, had a very harsh learning curve with nothing in place to get players used to the increasing difficulty of each track. Most of the time this resulted in the player being left in the game’s dust. Trials Evolution fixes this problem by including a new “driver class” system. This feature requires racers to acquire a certain number of medals before taking the next driver’s test and progressing on to the next stages. The only way to get more medals is to go back and perfect previously raced tracks. This helps ease the player into more difficult trails by getting them used to the almost overly sensitive physics system.
RedLynx also improved their utilization of checkpoints in later races. It feels as though you’re never too far from the next goal. Messing up in a game like this only to restart from the nearest checkpoint is much less infuriating and keeps you playing. Hard games have a tendency to punish gamers as a way of showing difficulty. Trials Evolution steps away from this and it never feels like passing a track or beating your previous time is out of reach. It’s refreshing to play a game where every time you fail you don’t want to put your head through a wall.
At this point I should mention something about the controls. It’s hard to describe how it feels to play a game like this, but RedLynx once again nailed what it should feel like to control a dirt bike with the 360’s controller. Considering all they had to work with on the Xbox’s interface, they kept it simple, which adds to the game’s enjoyability and doesn’t make it feel like the controls are adding to the difficulty.
The replayability of Trials Evolution is what you make of it. Along with the main campaign that takes only about five hours to plough through, the game comes bundled with a plethora of mini games, competitive multiplayer modes, and a very in-depth level editor. The mini games are a nice way to spice up gameplay as well as offer variety to a pretty one-track game. It’s been a while since a game like this has graced Xbox Live with its presence, and with all of the shooters out there it’s a welcome addition. All in all, Trials Evolution is an extremely entertaining package that will keep you on the edge of your seat as you play it, and make you never want to go dirt biking.