Trials Evolution Gold Edition Review
Trials HD was perhaps one of the most difficult games of this generation. Getting through the later levels took such a degree of timing, so much muscle memory and a healthy dose of luck. For Evolution, Red Lynx pushed everything one step further, creating a game where the stunts were more deadly, the feats more impressive and the locations more interesting. Now the franchise is finally returning to PC, and to reward the long wait the developers have decided to pack in both Trials HD and Evolution. That seems like a lot of value, but remember that this re-release contains enough thrills and spills (mostly spills) to kill someone with high blood pressure!
Trials isn’t really a motorbike game. There’s that element to it, and if you like death-defying stunts and crazy riding, you’ll still enjoy it. It goes deeper though; you have to enjoy the physics, the almost puzzle-like experience, to get the absolute most out of it. The perfectionists among you, and those that love leaderboards, just won’t be able to escape.
The controls are deceivingly simple. Accelerate, break/go backwards and then the directional buttons to control which way you (and by extension, the bike) leans. The first set of levels will lull you into a false sense of security, but before long your concentration will need to be at its absolute best if you hope to complete a level without crashing. The complications come in the form of bumpy roadways, massive falls, moving landing areas, high-speed loop-the-loops and the deadly explosion. Often these things occur rapidly and in succession, and getting used to getting your balance just right at a precise moment will keep you going.
There really are times where it seems the developers don’t want you to make it to the end of the game.
You’ll start off slowly. Evolution has tutorials (in the form of “licences”) which teach you the basics of the game. This is fantastic, because Trials HD just threw you into the worst of it and hoped you’d learn as you progressed. When you complete a licence, you unlock the next, harder set of levels, complete with the things you learnt while “taking your test.”
After each level you’ll be rewarded with a medal; bronze: silver, gold or platinum. The more medals you unlock, the more levels you’ll have access to. You probably won’t collect enough medals to play the next licence just by going through the main Evolution level path, so you’ll need to try out other faucets of the game. The less serious “trials” return, so your UFO driving, skiing and wing flapping better be up to standard. You can also play tournaments, which have you going through several levels in a row.
If those don’t sound very interesting, Evolution on PC contains the full Trials HD as well, and medals from that game count towards your total. PC gamers who have never touched the Trials series are in for a series treat. Trials HD is a great game and it stands up very well against Evolution.
The level design is where Evolution really shines, even when compared with HD (which had marvellous design as well). You’ll travel the world, visit places from story books and from history. You’ll wheelie along bursts of water and flip between structures miles above the ground. You’re bound to crash one or twice, but if you want to get to the top of the leaderboards you’ll need to master every move and every angle.
Leaderboards are a big part of this game. They’re the number one reason you’ll almost certainly play a level time and time again, and almost certainly why you’ll put yourself through the hell of trying to finish the most difficult levels without a single crash. There were moments in Trials HD – usually after several hours of restarting what was, effectively, a 30 second level – that had me nearly snapping my controller in half, and Evolution will bring the nightmare flooding back. Of course, for good measure, you’ll need to do all the original HD nightmare as well. Prepare yourself for stress.
Trials Evolution is at its very best on PC, mostly because of the inclusion of Trials HD. It’s just stunning value. If you’re on the fence, buy it. You’re guaranteed to get hooked.
The graphics don’t look much better than the 360 version of the game, although that’s by no means a complaint. The 360 Trials both looked great, and Evolution continued to blow me away on PC. The developers have created a game that looks stunning at high speeds, but also boasts backgrounds that look very fluid as well. It’s not unusual to find yourself crashing time after time because you’ve spotted something nice in the background.
I found that there were occasional graphical issues that I hadn’t seen on 360; screen tearing especially. It didn’t seem to like prolonged play either, at which point even the menus started to seem a little laggy.
This is probably the weakest point of Trials. The music feels fairly generic, and the rider’s conversation is kept at a minimum. There’s odd moments of greatness, but you could play with the volume down and not lose any of the experience.
Trials Evolution is an awesome game, it’s as simple as that. It’s simple, it’s addictive and it offers more than enough content for the price they’re asking. It’s place on Steam means that 50-75% discounts during sales are almost going to feel like stealing from Red Lynx.
The occasional graphical glitch, frustrating level or annoying song can be easily overlooked when a game is just this fun.