Trials Evolution remains the best Trials experience available today and one of the best values on the Xbox Live Marketplace. The social competition between friends will continue to rage on long after you've made your way through all the tracks and keep you coming back to reclaim the top spot.
- Variety of Action-packed levels
- Competition between friends is done perfectly
- Difficulty spike is more balanced this time around.
- TERRIBLE rap rock soundtrack. UGH!
- Multiplayer felt like an afterthought
Trails Evolution Review:
When Trials first made its way to the Xbox 360 in 2009 as Trials HD, I picked it up hoping that it would at least be better than the motocross flash games that I used to waste hours on. Little did I know that I would end up breaking two controllers (one from jamming the back button too many times, and one that flew out of my hand while I was yelling at my TV) and somehow still consider it my most enjoyable experience of the entire summer. It isn’t often that an emotion that strong can be captured again, but I’ll be damned if Trails Evolution isn’t one of the most fun games I’ve played in a long while.
From Flying a Air Fortress to Limbo
The basics of Trials Evolution seem rather simple tilting back and forth as you take your motorcycle riding character through dastardly creative obstacle courses meant to challenge the player’s skill and finesse of the controller.
While Trials HD took place almost entirely inside of a bland, grey warehouse, that is not the case with Evolution. Every track offers up a completely different and exciting outdoor environment ranging from a World War 1 battlefield to the deck of a flying air-fortress. There are clever renditions of other games and movies too, such as a level of Limbo and a city twisting and turning as they did in Inception –– yeah, I know. The variety was refreshing and kept things from feeling repetitive.
HOW DID I NOT MAKE THAT?!?
In Trials HD, things went from easy and fun to brutally difficult very quickly, but Evolution has much more content and is able to gradually increase the difficulty as you progress. This isn’t to say that players will be able to get through Evolution any easier though, since it can still be exceptionally difficult at times.
Levels are grouped together under license tests, with each completed test rewarding the player with a new, faster bike. However, these license tests seem like more of a way to educate the player as things get increasingly difficult, rather than a way to test the player’s skill. To advance to the next license test, you’ll need to have a certain number of medals that are earned by completing each track based on the number of faults and completion time, with gold, silver, and bronze medals worth 3, 2, and 1 respectively.
You’ll want to get as many gold and silver medals as you can early on, as you might find yourself replaying levels for a better medal to advance to the next section, though this didn’t really happen until I had to unlock the extreme levels.
Flap Like A Bird
Skills games also make a return and are well worth playing for both their outlandishness and the reward of medals that can be counted toward your overall total. In these skills games, you’ll find yourself attempting to tilt on an out of control bike, flapping cardboard wings to see how far you can fly, and swinging from trapezes using a Burnout-style aftertouch.
In addition to the medals, each race has a cash reward that can be used to purchase new clothes or accessories for your character. This doesn’t offer much though, as it’s purely cosmetic and even then, it’s just different common motocross outfits and certain bike parts. If you like to personalize your character though, it’s a great way to differentiate yourself online.
Sunday, Sunday, SUNDAY!
There’s a full multiplayer mode in Trials Evolution that pits four players (both locally and over Xbox Live) against each other in Supercross style races. These Supercross tracks are completely separate from the single player tracks, but they retain the same look and creative feel. There’s also a Trials mode that is similar to a time attack and pits the player against ghost runs of three other players. I found this to be much more fun that the Supercross mode, as it retained the feel of the single player.
Returning to Trails Evolution in a much-improved form is the constant competition between XBL friends. In this iteration, RedLynx opted for marking other players’ positions with a dot and their name. It’s much less distracting and fluid than the name indicator that filled the top of the screen in Trials HD. I found this to be the most compelling form of multiplayer, and constantly replayed levels in an attempt to take the top spot on my friends’ leaderboard.
Trials Evolution remains the best Trials experience available today and one of the best values on the Xbox Live Marketplace. The social competition between friends will continue to rage on long after you’ve made your way through all the tracks and keep you coming back to reclaim the top spot. Between the race tracks, skill games, tournaments, extreme levels, and multiplayer matches, there’s enough content prior to the insane difficulty spike to make the purchase worth it, even if you aren’t interested in attempting the extreme levels.