Version Tested: 1.8
Format: Playstation 4
Booting up Trials Fusion, the game boldly proclaims ‘Welcome to the Future’.
And while I wouldn’t necessarily say that Trials Fusion is the future of anything, I can say that it’s a fantastic compilation of everything that has already worked very well up to now.
Having played each iteration of Trials, I’ve seen the incredible strides the series has made and the first thing that strikes me is how slick and refined the User Interface now is. Tap one shoulder button and it brings up your stats, level, experience points and how much money you have. Tap the other and you can visit the game’s garage and instantly splurge that cash on new bikes, costumes, spray-painting and mods. It’s so quick, easy and simple to use, and so much better than the bland scrolling menu screen in Evolution and pretty much every game ever.
The game hasn’t seen any drastic changes from Trials HD or Evolution in terms of the handling and quality. It’s the same old story of steering your bike over obstacles big and small, controlling the weight of the biker, while performing crazy stunts in the air and trying to reach the finish line with the fewest amount of retries as possible. To begin with, you can easily start up a track and blaze through at least the first two areas without a single retry to your name, but beyond that, things start to get really diabolically difficult.
And that’s exactly what Red Lynx are renowned for. Making you smash your controller into itty bitty pieces while going into a blind-range, yet still coming back for more. They’re bloody masters at that, actually.
Trials Fusion is as callous, demanding and blood-pressure risingly malicious as ever. And yet, it is a continued pleasure. Where Trials started life as a flash game, now Red Lynx have a budget and they’re definitely not afraid to use it. An Artifical Intelligence teaches you the basics of the game in a remote, white-spaced hub, using a voice that would make GLaDoS blush, but once you venture outside, the game really shines like a polished diamond.
Red Lynx have also tried for a bit of a story here, that, at times, comes across like an ecological rant, but it helps paint the landscape for the environment. Although, listening to the voice overs say the same lines every time you reset a course does become more than a bit frustrating. Thankfully, they can be turned off…
New-gen is a natural home for Trials; whether you’re wincing from the glare of sunbeams, drooling over the silky smooth frame-rate, bopping your head to the loud, noisy soundtrack and whooping at every vibrant explosion, Fusion does not skimp on style. That’s not even including the usual death-defying feats and heart-in-your-mouth pitfalls. With everything together, Fusion feels like the sum-total of Red Lynx’s vision. This is the game they’ve always wanted to make and it shows.
Ghosts, of course, continue to play a massive part in the game, really driving you to beat your friends and go for the jugular on the global boards. You’ll find yourself often going back to a track because a friend has stolen your bragging rights or because your position is looking a bit vulnerable. The game also offers the local multiplayer you’ve previously seen before as well as Online Tournaments.
The game does look glorious, though. And in keeping with the future setting, you’ll find yourself moving between frozen wastelands and space-age futures, with quick stop-offs in barren deserts and ancient ruins. This is all captured wonderfully, and the track editor benefits massively from the developer’s new-found diversity. You’ll be able to create tons of crazy new concepts and share them with the rest of the world.
The tracks in Career are paced very well. The difficulty mounts up gradually and never becomes overwhelmingly audacious until the Extreme tracks towards the end (but that’s because it’s supposed to!) You’ll, of course, have to take a few goes on each course before establishing the best route and eventually mastering the course. And it always helps to be aware of what’s coming up otherwise you’ll be caught off guard before you know it.
There’s an early track in the game that sees the course change dynamically as you’re riding and you will have to time some jumps and landings perfectly, otherwise you’ll tumble and hurtle over the handlebars.
One cool feature in Fusion allows the player to actually download another player’s replay data from the global leaderboards and view it so you can get an idea for how to beat that course.
Fusion also offers a few new spins on the formula. Now you can jump on a quad-bike when tackling certain tracks, which obviously changes the flow of play quite drastically. There are also Skill Games which crop up in each area and vary in style. One, for instance, asks that you drive for as long as possible without tilting your biker and your high score is then recorded.
There are also challenges specific to each level. Each level has three different requirements that you have to fulfil for a max point boost and additional experience. There are also special unlockables if you manage to beat a certain amount of challenges. An added incentive if you ever needed one.
There’s also a trick-system here where you can move the right stick in different ways to pull off showboat poses. It’s limited and sometimes a bit unresponsive but it adds a bit of finesse and fun to the game when taking on the big jumps and helps keep things a bit fresh in-between repeating the same tracks again and again.
Not to mention, the game is full of fun Easter Eggs and cheeky digs at pop-culture. For instance, there are a few action-movie references in here that you’ll probably pick up on right away.
We think it’s fair to say that the best way to experience Trials Fusion is on Playstation 4. Between the improved frame-rate and resolution (the PS4 version is 1080p whereas Xbox One is 900p), there’s also the small detail of Remote Play. As you can probably imagine, Trials Fusion is a delight on Vita and it’s a game that suits play on the big screen or the small.
We hope the connectivity between Trials Frontier, the support for created tracks and the Season Pass content continues to deliver, grow and make this the expansive experience it deserves to be on consoles.
Fusion isn’t revolutionary and it mostly just succeeds at bringing the Trials experience to next-gen. It has played it slightly safe coming away from Evolution, but this is a very complete, thorough title that could only really be complimented with full-blown online multiplayer, some slight formula tweaks and additional modes.
However, if you’re looking for a great downloadable game on new-gen stores, this is probably the best of the bunch. A perfect introduction to Trials for Playstation owners and a fantastic compliment to the series for Xbox owners who’ve enjoyed the games since HD.
Areas for Development
- Improved multiplayer options
- Remove repetition of voice-overs
- Some bikes don’t appear on-screen during selection
Technical Competency – 9/10
Graphic/Sound Quality – 9/10
Network Stability – 9/10
Overall – 9/10
(These grades assess our playthrough, taking into consideration how many (if any) bugs were encountered, whether there were any interruptions in gameplay and the product’s final technical state. These scores, coupled with the Final Analysis and Areas for Development, are suggestions for future patches and updates which the developers could (and in our opinion, should) explore. These scores are separate to our DLC/Expansion Reviews but link into our Patch/Firmware Reviews.)
(These scores are not designed as a grading system to determine the entertainment value of a product and should not be treated as such.)
As we play offers the thought strands of the reviewer as they’re going through the game. This offers unique content for the reader so they can come to understand the conflicting feelings of the reviewer as they’re playing a game for the very first time. All feedback on this concept is welcome.