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Trials of the Blood Dragon Review

It’s hard to imagine RedLynx’s Trials Fusion and UbiSoft Montreal’s Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon getting jiggy with it, but indeed they have, and the result was stealth released during UbiSoft’s E3 2016 presentation.

Called Trials of the Blood Dragon, it’s a game than can only be described as batshit crazy, but that’s a good thing, as it just makes the whole experience immeasurably more entertaining.

The 80’s stylings and insane zaniness of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is immediately apparent by Trials of The Blood Dragon‘s ludicrous story that has you taking control of the former protagonist’s children, Slayter and Roxanne. Tasked with taking out communists before going places that I’ll not spoil for you, the 27 levels on offer will not only have you riding bikes, but also tanks, minecarts, and jetpacks to name but a few. And as if that wasn’t enough variety for you, there’s also many on-foot platforming sequences thrown in too, as well as gunplay elements sprinkled throughout.

As per the norm for a Trials game, each level is a simple case of getting from point A to B. It’s not quite as easy as it sounds though; in true Trials style the levels start out relatively straightforward, with environments thats don’t prove to be too taxing and gameplay elements dialled back. It’s not long though until you’re expected to shoot whilst perilously throwing your bike into outlandish jumps, grapple your way across gaping chasms, and wrap your head around mystifying changes in gravity. All the while the varied environments full of neon and synth-heavy soundtrack spur you on, eager to see just what ridiculousness it has in store for you next.

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Variety is the spice of life they say, and if true, Trials of The Blood Dragon could very well be the key to immortality. When you’re shifting away from dirt bikes, the tanks, RC cars, pedal bikes and mine carts that you control all offer their own nuanced gameplay, and that’s before the mental environments complicate matters for you. Whether you’re in a jungle, hell or just a lovely oriental retreat, the locales all have their own dangers to contend with, making each feel distinctly unique. RedLynx have also taken liberty to add in a few boss battles along the way, as well as a few particularly notable and challenging scenarios in keeping with the game’s narrative.

Whilst Trials of the Blood Dragon is assuredly at its best when you’re in control of a vehicle with the traditional Trials gameplay shining through, the game’s on-foot missions are still mightily enjoyable if not a little hackneyed. With the right stick used to fire your gun, the platforming sequences require the dexterity you’d expect of a Trials game, but the movement of your character doesn’t always have the tightness required to make them wholly fulfilling. Luckily though, they’re far outnumbered by the other gameplay types on offer.

Making your way through all of Trials of the Blood Dragon‘s 27 levels will only take around three or four hours if heading straight for the finish, but those who wish to attain the highest ranking throughout could spend a considerable amount of time doing so. Your level attempts are graded from F to A+, based on the number of times you’ve had to restart from a checkpoint and the amount of time remaining on the clock when you finish, and trust me, grabbing the A+ grade is a tall order on some of the later levels. With the presence of online leaderboards so you can compare your score with others around the world however, there’s always the motivation to improve your efforts.

Simply completing the game unlocks the ability to change your character’s costume, and, although there’s a limited selection on offer, it’s a feature which is sure to increase the replay value for some. For most though, Trials of the Blood Dragon‘s longevity will be boosted by trying to find and complete the hidden key challenges spread throughout the game, beating all five of which allows you to unlock an intriguing chest back in the game’s hub. There’s also a sticker book to complete for ardent completionists, which is sure to be a strenuous task.

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With its over-the-top story told via charming 2D cartoons and deranged presentation complete with random retro styled adverts and other madness, Trials of the Blood Dragon‘s gameplay is also suitably unhinged. I mean that in the best possible way however, as from beginning to end it’s a rollercoaster ride full of belly laughs, exhilarating challenges and implausible action. It may lack the focus and some of the features of it’s more straight-laced Trials predecessor, but it makes up for it with variety and humour, creating an experience that should not only interest Trials fans but also gamers that love arcade experiences. Trials of the Blood Dragon may have come out of nowhere,  but it does a hell of a lot to command your attention.

Trials of the Blood Dragon is available on PS4, Xbox One and PC. We reviewed the Xbox One version. Buy it now from Green Man Gaming.
Editor in Chief // An avid gamer since discovering the wonders of the Acorn Electron in the '80s, Rich has nearly played more games than he's had hot dinners. Not one to put all his eggs in one basket, Rich is happy to play games of all genres, but he particularly enjoys racing games and anything that's full of non-stop action, especially if it includes a good dose of humour, horror or crudeness!