Trials Evolution must have created a really difficult problem for the developers when it came time to make the sequel. Normally, you make a few refinements, throw in some new areas, and your dish is ready to be served. What do you do though, when the last game you made had gameplay that really couldn’t be refined any further and you shipped it with a level editor that was almost limitless in its possibilities? Would the new still feel new?
So Trials Fusion. Made redundant before it was ever conceived? I still can’t say for sure. I absolutely loved the time I spent playing Fusion and I would easily recommend that people try the game out. But if you have played Evolution before this, it becomes much more complicated. There isn’t much in the way of gameplay changes. Redlynx knows it has it nailed down pretty good and the only addition is a trick system. It’s more of a sideways add-on than any significant change to the gameplay though, and I think I prefer it that way. At its core, Trials is (and should be) about navigating from the beginning of the level to the end.
It’s one of those very rare games that will make you want to be better at it.
Getting from beginning to the end wouldn’t be much fun if the tracks weren’t well designed, and just like Evolution, Fusion features some pretty fantastic tracks. The difficulty curve is excellent as the game eases you into things at the beginning and ratchets things up smoothly so you never feel overwhelmed. It’s one of those very rare games that will make you want to be better at it. You will want to play each track till you can finish it without any faults. And then try it again to better your overall time.
Unfortunately, like Evolution, Trials Fusion also keeps up the series tradition of featuring some utterly god-awful music. The auditory assault on your ears is compounded by some pointless AI narrator trying to shove in some useless story into the game. Thankfully, since this is also on the PC and Redlynx does give you the option, you can just turn the volume of both the in-game music and the narration down to zero and throw in some Sigur Ros in the background.
A free update is supposed to add some sort of online multiplayer, but for now, you are stuck with local-only four-player races.
Normally, this would go without saying, but since it’s Ubisoft, I feel like I ought to say it anyway. The game works absolutely fine offline. Loss of my phone line rendered my internet useless for a couple of days and the game played fine without it. I was able to save my progress and continue when my internet was back up. Not that it mattered much. The game connects to the Ubisoft servers for pretty much everything from saving your best times for leaderboards to sharing content and downloading new maps, which makes it especially annoying that the Ubisoft servers are down more often than they are up.
So offline probably would be the best way to play it anyway, if only to avoid the annoying “Retry connection?” error message from popping up at the end of every race. You can (try to) go online when you want to download user created tracks (the level editor still allows some truly brilliant content to be created), but aside from that, you won’t miss out on much if you are offline, especially since the game now only supports local multiplayer. There is a (free) update that is supposed to be incoming that will add some sort of online multiplayer, but for now, you are stuck with local-only four-player races.
It’s still early days, but there is already a decent selection of user-created tracks to choose from – from classic trials gameplay to some truly bizarre skill games.
Also missing are Skill games as a separate game mode. Admittedly they were mostly a distraction from the main course, but they were a welcome distraction when the more difficult tracks made you want to tear your hair out. Thankfully, if you are willing to accept user-created tracks, then you will still find a ton of them, so the situation is largely alleviated. It’s still early days, but there is already a decent selection of user-created tracks to choose from – from classic trials gameplay to some truly bizarre skill games.
This is a bit of a cop out to end the review on, but if you have never played a Trials game, this is well worth looking into. As a standalone game, it’s actually pretty good, but for someone who played Trials Evolution to death, it’s hard to recommend this as an upgrade of any sort. The core Trials gameplay is still there and it’s still phenomenal, but the constant sense of deja vu keeps it from truly being a worthy sequel.
Note: Only the PS4 version of the game (includes the season pass) will be sold in India. PC and Xbox 360 versions are available digitally.