Trials Fusion Review
Written Wednesday, April 16, 2014 By Richard Walker
There's a point you'll reach in Trials Fusion where all the memories of crushing failures experienced in past Trials games will come flooding back. Every one of the countless crashes, bailouts, misjudged accelerations, incorrect weight shifts from Trials HD and Trials Evolution will play across your mind's eye like some sort of hideous acid flashback. You'll find them in abundance once more in Trials Fusion. It's a game that's every bit as gloriously infuriating as its forebears, that ever-reliable restart button the only thing between you and a full-blown screaming baboon-like tantrum.
RedLynx's latest Trials Fusion seems like more of the same at first glance, and by and large it is from a gameplay perspective. This time around, however, there are a couple of new elements to mix things up, the most significant of which is the FMX tricks system. There's a spiffy new futuristic setting too, as the electro title screen music is all too keen to tell you, blaring “welcome to the future” down your lugholes from the off.
Back wheel down, keep your balance! Aargh!
You'll unlock Fusion's new FMX trick events once you reach the game's 'Urban Sprawl' stage – the third out of seven main events consisting of 7-8 tracks apiece – enabling you to hence forth pull off tricks with a deft twirl of the right stick. If only it were that simple. Like the rest of Trials Fusion, popping tricks require precision, so pulling off a superman, coffin, driller, underdog or whatever can easily be undone should an errant thumb slip even a millimetre off kilter on the right stick. Scoring big on Fusion's FMX tracks is tough and exacting, much as you'd expect.
These tracks make up but a sliver of Trials Fusion's overall content, however, with dozens of courses still devoted to the purity of the core Trials experience. Skill Games have been relegated to the role of a final track in each of the game's seven events, rather than getting its own devoted mode a la Evolution, though they're not nearly as off-the-wall as the previous game's UFO navigation. There is still a Skill Game in which you hurl your rider off a jump though, which is always welcome.
As Trials veterans will know all too well, success in overcoming its near-vertical ramps and massive drops is all down to mastery of the game's complex physics, leaning when necessary to overcome bumps and jumps, while constantly adjusting the angle of your back and front wheels. Put the hammer down on the accelerator, and you'll send your bike flipping over, whereas too little gas will send you back down a slope in reverse to your doom. It's the age-old Trials gameplay, refined to within an inch of its life.
Trials still stands unchallenged for curvy ramps. And bastard-hard difficulty.
You'll find six bikes to choose from in Trials Fusion – with conspicuously empty podiums in the bike select menu no doubt awaiting DLC rides – with the Baggie and Roach being the reliable all-rounders, the Pit Viper fulfilling the role of light, nippy and difficult to tame, while the Foxbat is used almost exclusively for FMX trick events. New to the series is the TKO-Panda quad bike; a comparatively heavy ATV that brings 4-wheel drive challenges to the table. Events using the quad bike are a nice break from the usual two-wheeled motocross one-wheel drive beasts, but they're somewhat few and far between.
Motocross bikes are still the star in Trials Fusion then, and all six rides – including the final prize for completing the game: the Rabbit pushbike – are fully customisable, with a range of colours to deck each one out in. Your rider too can be dressed in a range of costumes, each with their own themed duds that can be purchased and upgraded as you level up by gaining XP from events and successfully completed challenges.
Anyone familiar with past Trials games will know the score, as easy events give way to medium and hard tracks, before earning 110 medals unlocks the final challenge, which then in turn opens up the Master's Gauntlet, where you'll find the hard as nails extreme courses. If you can get past the first checkpoint on these, you're doing pretty well. If you're able to persevere and complete any of them, then you're a golden Trials god. 500 faults later and we found ourselves unceremoniously kicked out of the extreme tracks, choking back frustrated tears.
Track Central makes a comeback from Trials Evolution too, allowing you to build your own tracks if you have the patience and wherewithal to get to grips with the tools. It's simple enough, but still requires meticulous attention to detail if you want to make a decent track that's worth sharing. You can shift the time of day, places ramps and obstacles and much more, before unleashing your fiendish creation upon the rest of the world, where it'll be scrutinised, rated and if you're lucky, embraced by the community.
Now THAT'S how you get high.
More controller-hurling difficulty spikes and seemingly insurmountable obstacles are again par for the course in Trials Fusion, while the achievements demand that every one of the game's challenges is bested and all 20 hidden squirrels are found. There are some easier tasks like recording a time on a custom course in Track Central and completing a couple of tutorials, but by and large this is a tough list, much like previous Trials lists. None of the achievements are linked to the multiplayer mode, which returns from Trials Evolution, offering four-player online or local competitive racing shenanigans. Only the very best Trials players will be able to bag the full allocation of 1000 Gamerscore.
Far and away the most comprehensive Trials game yet, Trials Fusion is positively brimming with content. Beating the standard events alone will take a good 5-6 hours, accounting for about 70% of the overall completion, but obtaining that elusive 100% will take countless hours and numerous replays.
Finishing the game opens up new medal challenges for every event, while the innumerable challenges will put your completist credentials to the test. Most mortals will get as far as the extreme tracks before hanging up their controllers in the interest of maintaining their sanity. After all, adding more upsetting flashbacks to your Trials memory banks is only going to make things worse, so it's probably best to quit while you're ahead. Stick with it, and you'll be rewarded in spades.
Electronic music complements the futuristic vibe nicely, while the familiar wail of your bike's engine is present and correct. Your rider also still screams in terror like Homer Simpson as you fly off a cliff edge.
Fusion is the shiniest, prettiest Trials yet, which is all you need to know really. It's also nicely presented.
Equal parts tight physics and infuriating motocross simulation, Trials Fusion holds the same irresistible sway over players with its wheelies, flips and weep-inducing challenges. It'll drive you mad, but then that's just Trials.
Dozens of tracks, the option to create your own in Track Central, challenges, leaderboards and medals galore, local multiplayer (there's no sign of online just yet); there's a raft of content in Trials Fusion. Fewer Skill Games than Trials Evolution means slightly less variety, however, which is a shame, and at time of writing, the Tournaments mode was greyed out with a 'coming soon' message, and is now 'pyrosequencing', whatever that means. Otherwise, you get your money's worth.
Trials Fusion is hard, and so too is its achievement list. Sniffing out secrets, passing every challenge, doing all of the things is required. You'll have to dig in and invest the time. And perhaps a piece of your sanity too.
As relentlessly bastard-hard as ever, Trials Fusion coaxes you in with its easy and medium events, before kicking you square in the balls with its later hard and extreme tracks. It's still utterly brilliant, but takes no prisoners. In conclusion: Trials Fusion – good but hard. Just like the other games. Buy it.
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