REVIEW: Trials Rising
Most of us have probably played a motocross platforming game (or something like it) over the last 20 years. Maybe in a browser game, an app or on console. Out of all of them, Ubisoft’s ‘Trials’ series has always reigned supreme, with six main entries over the years and perfecting the formula recently with Trials Fusion back in 2014. So, how do you keep the formula fresh? Ubisoft has had another go at this with Trials Rising.
Now, I’ll put my hands up. I’ve always been a massive fan of the series, from playing the original Java game back in my secondary school library to Trials Fusion (my first PS4 download). I was eagerly awaiting a new entry in the series and to see where it was going to go. Now there’s not a huge amount you can do with a 2D motocross platformer and kudos to Ubisoft for not radically altering the formula here with an open world or story driven narrative. What they have done is focused on making the series more accessible and races more exciting and I’m happy to say they succeeded here.
One of the best additions this time around is an academy where newbies to the series can learn the ropes, from learning not to floor the accelerator the whole time and how to change your stance to get the most speed possible. It’s a really useful addition that helps you get a lot more enjoyment out of the game and I’m frankly surprised that this didn’t exist before. It’s absolutely necessary for some of the later levels as the difficulty level of the tracks certainly ramps up.
Speaking of tracks, this time around those 5 years has really given Ubisoft the space to apply a huge level of polish. From racing through speeding trains, tomato soaked Spanish streets, Hollywood sets and power plants – the environments really help keep the game fresh as you traverse across the world. Yes, across the world. This time around, there isn’t a linear ‘Press X to play the next track’. You create your own rider, customise them and tour across the world partaking in different events. While it does add some variety to track design it also opens up this game’s main flaw.
Progression is now tied to your level as you rank up, and this is done by replaying events several times for ‘contracts’ which gets you new gear and experience for levelling up. It’s an utterly tedious exercise which artificially extends the lifespan of the game. New bikes take hours to unlock, new tracks take longer than necessary and for a casual gamer who wanted to experience the game it really leaves a bad taste in the mouth. The additional ki….. c….. ke……. r….. is loading times. I tested the game on a PlayStation 4 Pro and I was honestly shocked by the loading times for tracks (which exacerbates the issues noted above even more). It takes nearly 30 seconds to load up a track which really takes the enjoyment out of a session with the game. While Trials Rising does retain it’s instant restart if you make a mistake mid race this for me isn’t enough.
There is such a good game hidden under microtransactions, bad loading times and a bad progression system. The developers made genuinely good changes, brilliant tracks and still a great looking game. Given the nature of the game, we’d recommend checking it out the new Nintendo Switch version as it’s more suited to short bursts which is where Trials has always worked best. Fingers crossed Ubisoft sees sense and applies some polish in these areas.
I’d recommend this game if you’re a fan of the series (like me), it’s worth sticking with but Trials Fusion stands as the game I’d recommend if you’ve never played the series before.