Trials: Evolution

Forethought:

My only experience with Trials is watching the lovable idiots over at Giant Bomb play it.  I've been out of the loop without an Xbox 360, and I've been looking forward to checking out these games, with the motorbike 'genre' of game being subsidized only with Joe Danger on PS3.

I expect to like this game, but I'm not sure if it's going to capture me the way it has many others.  I remember playing a similar game (maybe even the original Trials, I don't remember) in a web browser when I was in high school, and I remember it being very frustrating for me.  Let's go.

Trials Evolution

The first thing I noticed about this game is that it's very metal.  And that isn't an insult, or some snide remark, or a compliment, or really any qualitative assessment.  Everything about the menus and the soundtrack and the style of the game makes me feel like it's trying to be hardcore.

This title screen looks like a guitar solo.

And maybe it is.  I don't know.  I'm a theater major with a serious love for Disney musicals; I could not be less hardcore if I tried.  And 'hardcore' is maybe my least favorite style of thing.  So the idea of all the wrappings of trials being played off as "metal", with very, very little sense of irony is perhaps as unappealing as i could imagine something being.  I hate the style of everything in Trials with the exception of the game part.  This extends to the fact that Steam does not launch the game; instead, it launches Uplay, which then launches Trials.  Dur.

Just to be clear, here's what the game is - you race a motorbike through relatively short stages with control over the gas, brakes, and which way your character leans (forwards and backwards), trying not to crash or hit your head, and occasionally trying to do flips.  And the game feels great.  There have been many, many knock-offs of the Trials franchise (including the hilarious Motorbike, whichyou should check out here), and none of them feel as good as the real thing.  I never once felt like the bikes weren't doing exactly what I wanted to, and that's good, because that would have made the game absolutely insufferable.

As it was, I did get frustrated with Trials.  It wasn't enough to make me rage-quit, but it was enough that I couldn't play for more than about an hour at a time.  The game's abstract requirements for silver and gold metals meant that I restarted each level every timeanything went wrong, despite the fact that there are copious checkpoints.  This is clearly something I just need to get over, since it's slightly ruining my enjoyment of what is otherwise an amazingly fun game.

And there's no problem getting going.  The game is fast paced, and the menus compliment that speed perfectly.  At no point did I feel like I was spending more time in the menus than in the game - if you want to go from one level to the next, you can just smash on the A button for about two seconds after a level and you'll be there.

And these levels that you're running through - they are awesome.  Like totally metal.  The pre-fab levels start off with a D-Day inspired level, with military vehicles all over and bombs bursting in the air. Explosions surround every movement you make, which is a feature that follows you in almost every level.  Even levels that take place in a relatively serene forest have arbitrary, unnecessary (but appreciated) explosions that accompany every significant jump and exciting move. 

Explosions!

And there are mini games!  There are very few things as thrilling to me as when games have satisfying mini games, and they're present in Trials: Evolution in spades. Ironically, however, the most frustrating experience I had with the game was trying to perfect the controls for a skiing mini game that controlled very (intentionally) poorly. 

So the game is great. It controls well and it's well-designed, and I enjoyed every moment with it. And yet I have no desire to keep playing it. After about an hour, my brain says, "yea, I get it."  And then I stop and come back in five or six hours. 

Even though I have no driving desire to return right away, the game is fast fun. So, chances are I 

Will Revisit

Trials: Evolution sooner or later. This Monday, I'm excited to take a look at

FEZ!