Trials Evolution

To infinity and beyond.

A pre-presentation video isn't usually the most exciting part of a game preview, but after that achingly brief teaser from E3 that offered only a sun-blushed glance at the new Trials, all eyes were on the big-screen.

After a dizzying blast through landscapes of giant stone hands, canyon dashes, lunges through exploding buildings, and death-defying leaps through lumber-mill saw blades, there was no shortage of grins around the table.

Trials HD's greatest achievement and refinement over previous editions was in placing complete and utter control in the hands of the player. Prior to travelling to see RedLynx in Finland, I spent several evenings focusing more on the handling of the vehicles, rather than any serious attempt to compete on individual tracks. I wanted to commit the subtle nuances of the game to absolute muscle-memory so that when I got my hands on the new game, I would instantly feel any gremlins in the machine.

And the good news is that Trials HD's precision has been preserved perfectly in Trials Evolution. Every nudge, each yelp of delight as you psychokinetically force a shift in your centre of gravity to see you over the next checkpoint - they're all here.

Given Trials' hardcore nature, it would be understandable to fear that core credibility might be sacrificed at the altar of commercial accessibility for the follow-up. Instead, the checkpoints are now far more unforgiving, with re-starts planted less generously than in the previous game.

There's no more blindly stumbling your way through the more stubbornly fractious challenges. The intent isn't simply to add a further layer of frustration to the proceedings; rather that Red Lynx want you to understand how you achieved the impossible, so that you might use the skill in later levels.

Courses are now segregated into Events. Rather than bluffing your way through a few tracks to open up the next tier of difficulty, this new approach requires players to improve on their medal success so that they learn and are suitably prepared for greater challenges. Weighting is given to the relative worth of your achievements so that a Platinum medal will be worth more towards your unlock progress than a Silver, for example.

Screw the metal, get the Freebird on.

And to aid players on their way to the pinnacle of their ability, every player will now have basic data about each and every one of their best times uploaded to the servers. Denoted by unobtrusive, floating arrows that represent the height and positioning of each of your friends you'll learn to adopt their speed and height in order to master the track. While the traditional replays will still be available, the aim is to bring everyone to a higher level of competition at every moment of play.

The purpose of this refinement is of course to bring you to the online and local multiplayer components of the game. The four-deep racer revealed in that E3 trailer is available for both local play on one screen and across Xbox Live. Falling off the far side of the screen sees the player respawn at the next checkpoint passed by the forward pack. Playable as multiple heats, points are deducted from your final position to punish any mishaps.

While the local play tracks are, by necessity, of a simpler Supercross nature compared to the more complex obstacle courses of the game, more challenging tracks are available over the Live service, where competitors can be represented as ghosts.

Comments (55)

Comments for this article are now closed, but please feel free to continue chatting on the forum!