An Evolution? In every sense of the word!
Posted 11 months ago By kingquagmire - David Collins
“Bigger, Badder and Better!” How many sequels have laid claim to that moniker? Probably too many to count. The more appropriate question would be how many have actually delivered. The answer? Very few. While most of the time, sequels do indeed better their predecessor, it isn’t often that one comes along and surpasses it in every conceivable way. Especially when the original was so well received to begin with. Happily I can report that Trials Evolution is one such ‘diamond in the rough’...
To say that Evolution is better than Trials HD would be a gross understatement. Sure, the basic gameplay hasn’t changed. Players are still tasked with manipulating the pitch of the bike via weight distribution - along with careful throttle control - in order to navigate to end of the track. Along the way, players will encounter many challenges that will put those skills to the test. The difficulty is ramped up from Beginner to Extreme, although the much needed bikes that unlock along the way will introduce more precise handling, and require a greater skill level to survive. This is a good thing though, as the incredibly addictive gameplay didn’t need to be changed. Instead, developer RedLynx put their attention on...well...everything else.
"...if you fell in love with Trials HD back in the summer of 2009, get ready, because you are about to meet the new love of your life!"
Take the Single Player mode, for example. The core course count has virtually doubled, which isn’t an unfair expectation mind you, but the design work is stunning. With a wide range of styles and settings, each newly unlocked course was a real treat. Layered over that are the subtleties, both in level design and challenge placements. RedLynx kept each track’s design individual, expanding on the types of challenges and arranging them in such a way that was nothing short of brilliant. Players are kept constantly on their toes, and you never know what to expect next. High jumps, bumps, various piles of debris, so on and so forth, all require precise attention. Some courses even pay homage to other fan-favorite experiences, such as Trials of Limbo, or the seemingly Inception-inspired Mind Bender. The design work was so solid that I fought an internal struggle between cultivating leaderboard dominance on my current track and moving on to the next just to see what they had in store for me.
Speaking of leaderboards, the famed in-game ticker returns, albeit in a much more in-your-face sort of way, and in the processes heights the already addictive competition that Trials HD had mastered. Now your friends will appear as a dot with their name above it, ghost riding through the course with you, instead of a live ticker across the top of the screen. It may seem like a minor adjustment, but trust me, what it does to the competitive angle is astounding. Adding to it is the ability to select a rival, making their marker red, letting you focus on besting him or her more by setting them apart from the pack. That single feature alone has caused me more hand pain than any other game in recent memory.
In addition to the 50+ single player courses, there 10 skill games - some new, and some variants of what we had before - plus 12 tournaments to throttle through. While the tournaments certainly have their place, and will entertain fans who enjoy to tournament structure, the skill games are what really captured my heart. I was almost let down by the fact that there is only 10. Almost.
Other notable additions include a much more enhanced level editor, and yes, multiplayer. If there was anything that Trials HD was lacking, it was a multiplay component. And while Evolution’s attempt doesn’t come ahead of its single player side, it is a fine effort that is enjoyable both locally and online. The gist of it comes down to tournament point scoring. Each track is designed in the same vein as Motorcross, and players are awarded points based on what order they finish, and how many faults they gain during the race. The winner is the one with the most points after the entire set of tracks (up to seven) have been completed.
Should the stock tracks not be to your liking, the new level editor has been split across both advanced and novice modes, allowing for just about anyone to exercise their creative side. Note: The Advanced editor is no joke. That is for the truly inventive types, and is more than robust enough to provide the community with tons of fantastic user-generated content. Oh, and did I forget to mention that RedLynx fixed one of their biggest flubs with Trials HD? Yes, user-generated contact is no longer fixed to friend sharing alone. Now, you can send your dream courses up to the servers for the rest of the world to enjoy!
Trials HD was already a decent looking game, with plenty of exploding distractions to throw off your intense, white-knuckled concentration. Trials Evolution kicks those up a notch as well, adding a tremendous amount of detail that should be immediately evident to HD vets. The levels look fabulous, and the various happenings in the environment have been increased dramatically. Putting the two games side-by-side, Trials HD looks almost archaic by comparison, even though it is only two and a half years old.
It may sound like I’m gushing, and, well, quite honestly, I am. With more, better designed tracks, better visuals, and loads of other goodies like the multiplay, skill games, and even a ton of items to buy with your winnings to customize your bike and rider, I really don’t have any major complaints about Evolution. Sure, the multiplay, while a valiant effort, isn’t the most engaging aspect of the game. And I would have loved to have seen more skill games. But the addictive physics-based gameplay that made Trials HD such a well-loved game returns with so much swagger that it is hard not to be thoroughly impressed. If you didn’t care for the first Trials, this isn’t going to change your mind at all. However, if you fell in love with Trials HD back in the summer of 2009, get ready, because you are about to meet the new love of your life!
+ Same addictive gameplay
+ Track design has greatly improved
+ Subtle changes like the new leaderboard system and redesigned editor is fantastic
- More skill games would have been great
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Release Date : 2012/04/18
System : Xbox 360
Publisher : Microsoft Game Studios
Developer : Red Lynx
Category : Racing
ESRB : E10+
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10