I just can’t help but go back for one more go in RedLynx’s Trials games.
Determined on getting at least gold in any event I enter, I press the restart button time and time again as I bail on obstacles that would make even a real MX rider sweat bullets. Yet I never swear. I get frustrated but I don’t swear. Because I know it’s all about skill, and eventually, I will become a Trials master. Or at least that’s what I tell myself.
I’ve loved the Trials games ever since they were made using Java. I remember playing Trials 2 in the library at university, minimising the window whenever someone with authority came within reasonable distance. And with Trials Rising, RedLynx has put together its biggest collection of events yet. But it’s thanks to the variety of what’s on offer, in both track design and event objectives, that Trials Rising is leagues ahead of its predecessors.
Trials Rising adopts a new career progression system that’s powered by experience levels. You’ll initially start out in a rookie league, completing events that won’t cause you to break a sweat unless you really are new to Trials games. Then, once you’ve made your routine journey through them and acquired at least a bronze medal, you’ll find yourself revisiting those events to complete contracts. You might have to perform a set number of backflips, for example, or complete an event with less than a set number of faults. It keeps the gameplay interesting, and also pushes you to develop your skills the further you progress.
Each league is bookended by a championship event, but to access it you’ll need to reach a specific experience level. Essentially a tournament with three heats, emerging victorious in the final heat will unlock a new league full of new challenges pitched at a slightly higher difficulty level. New contracts are offered as you level up, too, and they get much more fiendish. Ever tried to complete a Trials event without leaning? Yeah, it’s as hard as it sounds. But what’s refreshing about Trials Rising is that it’s much more accommodating for players of all skill levels. To progress, it’s mostly just a case of levelling up, and there are many ways to earn valuable experience. Though of course, those who do display skill will find themselves progressing through the leagues much quicker.
For those who do need to brush up their Trials skills, Trials Rising also features a fantastic tutorial series that enables you to practice various techniques that will make you a Trials pro. Each one offers a great explanation of an essential technique that will get you through the toughest events, and then provides a challenge that rates your performance. Players will no doubt find themselves returning to these tutorials time and time again as their skills improve. And for those at the opposite end of the spectrum that are already Trials pros, there’s also a Skills event series to tackle that offers a variety of devilishly difficult minigames. Unlocked as you increase your experience level, just like everything else in Trials Rising, they provide a source of hilarity and a lasting challenge.
Its sheer wealth of content results in Trials Rising keeping you impressed from the first time you sit down with it. The rate at which you unlock new events eventually dries up once you’re well into your career, but until then it’s more of a stream than a near-depleted well. There’s more than enough to keep any player occupied for 20 or so hours, and then there’s also online multiplayer, an entertaining party mode and a track editor to consider. Even once you’ve made your way through Trials Rising’s career, you’ll no doubt return to the game time and time again to try out new tracks made by members of the community. And you’ll continue to earn experience, which may unlock even more events if you haven’t yet exhausted them all.
While Trials Fusion flirted with customisation, Trials Rising doubles down on it. Every level up rewards you with a gear crate, which when opened grants you three random customisation items. These can either be parts for your bike, items to make your avatar stand out, or stickers that can be applied to most items. Trials Rising‘s customisation options don’t really add anything to the gameplay and can be largely ignored, but some might be grateful for the chance to express themselves. More valuable gear crates can also be earned by completing special challenger events in which you have to defeat three opponents in a row without failing. These special gear crates offer greater rewards, and both these and standard gear crates can be rerolled for a small amount of gold. Individual customisation items can also be bought with gold via a store, but they’re rather expensive.
But forget about cosmetic customisation – it’s the combination of track design, responsive controls and believable physics that makes Trials Rising such a success. Everything comes together and creates pure bliss, making completing Trials Rising’s tracks more entertaining than ever. They may be more grounded in reality than those found in the futuristic Trials Fusion, taking place in familiar places such as forests and cities, but they are full of dynamic and ridiculous elements that can’t help but put a smile on your face. Biking your way through a jump jet is just as bombastic as it sounds, for example, especially when you realise that it’s in the air and experiences turbulence. The undercurrent of humour that the series has become known for is still present in Trials Rising, and I’m very glad about that.
Anyone hoping that Trials Rising would reinvent the series’ formula will be sorely disappointed, but perhaps were expecting a bit much. Trials Rising is yet another evolution of the Trials series rather than a revolution. It’s not the most impressive looking game available, but it’s certainly a step up from Trials Fusion, and in terms of content it eclipses it. This is a game that’s merely content with being bigger and better. It’s more inclusive, it’s more expansive; perhaps the only thing it isn’t is more streamlined. Its new world map system is definitely a bit more convoluted than the clean menus of its predecessor.
Ultimately, Trials Rising offers phenomenal value for money. The tried and tested gameplay has been refined to perfection, there are more than 100 events on offer, and its multiplayer modes are a blast. Any Trials fan should expect to get dozens of hours of gameplay out of Trials Rising, which is not to be sniffed at. And anyone who has a creative streak can even create their own tracks, providing they put in the time to get accustomed with the game’s powerful track editor. Trials Rising is simply the biggest and best Trials game yet, and with more content coming down the road by way of a season pass, it’s bound to only get better.