PAX East 2012: Trials Evolution Hands On Impressions

I came into the ‘Trials’ franchise through the XBLA game Trials HD.  I really enjoyed my time with the game even though it was deliberately trying to suck the soul from your body with the difficulty of some of those courses.  When the debut trailer for Trials Evolution came out a few weeks back I was immediately drawn to how different the game looked.  It seems the bikers found out how to leave that warehouse.  Knowing Ubisoft was bringing the game to PAX East, I knew I had to find it and force my cousin to race me in the brand new multiplayer modes.

First and foremost, the game looks fantastic for a downloadable title.  I think this mainly comes from the fact that you’re no longer stuck in a dark warehouse.  Sure you have some indoor levels again, but this time around you’ll be racing outside in places like a forest, on the side of a building, and many other outdoor tracks.  Just having the sun beat down on the course really adds to the game’s visual style and has a way of making the colors pop more.

Instead of going hands on with the single player which looks like even more Trials HD (which is a very good thing), I decided to try out the local multiplayer aspect which is new to the series.  Local multiplayer is incredibly addicting especially when chaos ensues during a race.  Take for example, my cousin crashing right before the finish line only to have me come storming from behind for the win or a neck and neck race with only a tire separating the winner from the loser.  Again, being in the same room yelling at someone or frantically cheering during a race is where this mode shines.

Multiplayer matches can be played on a track by track basis or you can create a playlist which further can be customized to how you want it.  Up to 4 players race side by side in a 3D style Excitebike looking race.  Checkpoints still come at a fast clip and if you fall off your bike, you’ll have to wait until an opponent hits the next checkpoint to pop back into play.  The courses range from straightforward to downright crazy.  One track I played on had a huge incline that made things difficult if you didn’t find the right balance between acceleration and balance. 

I didn’t actually get my hands on the track editor, though to be fair, I’m not sure it was available to be played anyway.  The local multiplayer alone is enough to make me want to go out and purchase it.  I did manage to watch the guy in front of me play the single player and it looks like a wonderful ‘evolution’ of the series (har har).  The graphics are improved, the locales are varied, and the controls are very responsive.  In a game that demands pinpoint precision, you can’t ask for much more.  Trials Evolution is out this coming Wednesday and I for one can’t wait to climb aboard the bike once more.

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