When I reviewed Trials HD back in 2009, I wasn't so sure the game would see the level of success I and other fans felt it deserved. Those concerns were ultimately unwarranted, as it now sits among the all-time best-selling titles available for Xbox Live Arcade. Better yet, RedLynx was able to create a follow-up.
As the name would indicate, Trials Evolution isn't so much a fundamentally new game as it is an extension of everything we've come to love (and hate) about its predecessor. That said, don't go into this expecting little more than a few new features and a fresh coat of paint.
After playing through the first few levels, you'll understand why the new content warranted another full installment.
Trials Evolution (Xbox Live Arcade) Developer: RedLynx Publisher: Microsoft Studios Release: April 18, 2012 MSRP: 1200 Microsoft Points
As much as I still love Trials HD, looking back at it now is rough. Trials Evolution makes its art style appear drab and unappealing and its scope entirely limited by comparison. For those reasons alone, I'd be quick to recommend that new players simply skip ahead to this game should they feel compelled to get into the series. Don't be turned off by the annoying intro song; it's the worst part, by far.
The standard Trials formula, a mixture of delicate platforming and risk-reward racing, is left largely untouched. Similarly, the movement of your character is as sensitive as ever. I hesitate to comment too much about the controls because I'm not certain what behind-the-scenes tweaks were made, if any, but some of the more technical moves do seem noticeably easier to pull off.
While that could just be my imagination, it was surprising how quickly I was able to get situated in Evolution having not touched Trials HD in quite some time. Simply put, the controls feel right. Those of you who never got accustomed to the physics are likely to face similar hurdles here.
The most welcome change has got to be the levels themselves, both in terms of their look and layout. I won't go so far as to say every single course has a unique aesthetic or gameplay hook, but it's staggering how many absolutely do. Taking Trials outdoors was a wise decision indeed.
One track captures the pure essence of Halloween, while another looks like it was ripped right out of Limbo. Beyond this diversity in styles, levels also -- for once -- feel alive. Thanks to smart camera placement and action which happens all around you, Evolution's courses never come across as static or uninteresting. I can't wait until everyone gets to play the Inception level.
On the whole, pacing is excellent and much improved. Tracks are unlocked in groups; to get the next set, you'll need to acquire a certain amount of medals, with Gold being worth more than Silver and Bronze. They also have you play through a tutorial level every so often that includes explicit instructions on how to perform increasingly advanced moves (e.g., bunny hops and riding straight up steep slopes).
Those worried about not having the skills necessary to unlock all of Evolution shouldn't be, necessarily. Don't get me wrong, the game does eventually get brutal, but the difficulty is spread out nicely. I'd wager most of you reading this will -- with a little persistence -- be able to earn access to all but the final set, which is made up of the sinister Extreme tracks. I let out many a naughty word in the process of getting to this final tier.
Although mini-games are back, they're not exact duplicates of the ones found in Trials HD. A few examples include a Marble Madness-esque game and one in which you pilot a flying saucer. These are enjoyable enough during the first handful of attempts, but I think most of us will move on after we earn the obligatory Gold medal.
Speaking of custom game types, there's a track available for download that is essentially a working shmup. Granted, it's not very fun, but the fact that it was built using Evolution's level editor -- which comes in a beginner and advanced version -- is crazy. Creative types will want to give this thing a serious look; all of the game's levels were made by RedLynx using these same tools. (Look over some of the studio's tutorial videos to see for yourself.)
Of course, user-generated content would be meaningless if it was difficult to discover. Thankfully, accessing other players' creations is about as intuitive as it can be. I'm eager to see what the community comes up with in the long term, because designing courses is not one of my hidden talents.
Though I previously referred to the new tracks as Evolution's big selling point, I know that some of you are more excited about the game's multiplayer component, and for good reason -- it's pretty neat, if a little basic. As great as it is to see friends' names zip around as you play through a level in single-player, going head to head against ghostly representations of fellow players in real time is a nice step up.
The multiplayer also allows you to play with three competitors simultaneously on tracks that are more racing-oriented as opposed to ones filled with tons of puzzle-like obstacles. The beauty of this mode is that each player gets their own individual lane so there isn't that same disconnect found elsewhere in Trials. The game takes on a different (i.e., somehow more tense) vibe when you can't lazily rely on the reset button and other human beings are watching you. Right now, matchmaking seems to be on the slow and sometimes janky side. I've heard reports of other launch-week oddities but have not encountered any of those issues myself besides the occasional screen tearing and texture pop-in.
Trials Evolution feels fresh and makes its predecessor look dated while simultaneously keeping the core gameplay the same. This type of skill-heavy experience will infuriate some people who struggle to pick up on its subtleties, but the end result of clearing a particularly challenging track is remarkably satisfying. Multiplayer is a fine addition, as is the new focus on providing genuinely creative, diverse level designs.
Evolution is a must-buy for fans of Trials and it also serves as a terrific starting point for new players. It can, at times, be maddening beyond belief, but the payoff is so worth it.
Entrancing - It's like magic, guys. Time disappears when this game and I are together, and I never want it to end. I'm not sure if this is a love that will last forever, but if it is, you'll get no complaints from me.
Nekrosys So... how long is it until we get the inevitable Colonial Marines or Ride to Hell: Retribution PS4/Xbox One re-releases?SeymourDuncan17 Screw Bloodborne. I finally managed to overcome not tearing up while listening to the entirety of Never More. Git gud!
[youtube]https://youtu.be/JQmZi94cjL4[/youtube]NYCpunk you know what's not okay? scalpers with 10 copies of fire emblem fates SE on ebay for $200+. and no one is saying anything. ChrisHannard Fallout 4 wouldn't be Fallout with ridiculous glitches and shenanigans. Here are a few I've run into - [youtube]https://youtu.be/qgYAXsDq4Uw[/youtube]StriderHoang I've never earnestly went drinking before so it's cool to know I'm the slow, sleepy, impaired type.The Dyslexic Laywer Got to admit I didn't expect to find a mewtwo amiibo at my bookstore of all places...Mike Martin My cousin found out I slept with his girlfriend and is pissed. Understandable. I am totally sick of the angry phone calls though. It reminds me so much of playing Call of Duty online. The screaming 11 year olds suck on there too. OverlordZetta Huh. Apparently even Japan has a Black Friday sale going on on PSN right now.Lawman Yes, Resident Evil: Revelations 2, I know that somebody has 2,625 more medallions than me. No, Resident Evil: Revelations 2, I don't really care.Dr Mel This fucking Bloodborne DLC, jesus. I'm on new game+, about level 90, and shit just tears my dick off. I don't know if I want to start another guy just to avoid NG+ and level him up, etc. sigh....Shinta Wii U, top selling black friday item on target.com. Take that you anti-Wii U people.
http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/11/27/wii-u-helps-drive-targets-biggest-online-shopping-day-ever?utm_source=IGN%20hub%20page&utm_medium=IGN%20(front%20page)&utm_contenCoilWhine I am pretty hyped for when I get a laptop because I'll be able to have a good enough connection to stream XbOne/soon PS4 games to it along with natively rendered Steam games. Hype!Avoclefo Got a PS4 that came with SW Battlefront this week, and planning on picking up the FFX/X-2 remake. Hype is through the roof, especially for FFX. If I were to get one other game, what should it be?Niero Desu Did a google maps search around my parents house for bars and there isn't one in like 25 miles, so I picked up an Intel compute stick and South Park: Stick of Truth on Steam. That's more or less the drunken screaming I'm in the mood for at about the cost.OrochiLeona Do you ever have that moment of clarity when talking to someone and suddenly realising: You're just a skull, and they're just a skull, with fucking eyeballs and a sac of skin being the only comparative difference between you visually? ..just me then?Nathan D After quitting for two days out of frustration, I beat Ludwig on my first try of the night. I'm on cloud fucking nine right now. Pixie The Fairy When I did my retail shift today, we were moving more Smash/Splat Wii U bundles and the Gears/Rare Replay/Ori XB1 bundles than Uncharted and Battlefront PS4s. I think Nintendo and MS have better value on their side this holiday. Sony got lazy.Confuseddalek I found this weird game called Samurai Heroes for 8 dollars today. Its not bad.Solar Pony Django Got Deadpool, Arkham Asylum and BioShock 1 and 2 all for 30$. Not to bad for going Black Friday shopping late.RadicalYoseph If you haven't played Tales from the Borderlands yet, GO BUY IT! By far the funniest game I have ever played, and the characters and narrative are incredibly well written. Very few memes unlike BL2 by the way.