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Trials Evolution: Gold Edition

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By MrJenssen03-05-2013
Bobfish (editor)
Bis18marck70 (editor)
Trials Evolution: Gold Edition

The Defence

Developer:
RedLynx
Publisher:
Ubisoft
Genre:
Racing, Platformer
Release Date:
21-03-2013

The Prosecution

CPU:
Intel Core 2 Duo E6700
AMD Athlon64 X2 6000+
VGA:
Nvidia GeForce 8800
AMD Radeon HD 3870
RAM:
2 GB
HDD:
4 GB
DirectX:
9.0c

The Case

 

Trials Evolution became an overnight sensation when it launched on Xbox Live Arcade last year and ended up being the best-selling game ever on the Arcade. Nearly a full year later, Redlynx returned the series to its PC roots. They hoped to make up for the long silence by including the series' previous game, Trials HD, in the bargain as well as some other new features. But is that enough?

The Trial

 

Trials, for those unfamiliar, is a series of 2.5D, physics-based sidescrolling racing/platforming games, where players ride dirt bikes to complete increasingly challenging tracks. The gameplay is very simple, all you do is punch down the throttle and use the left and right arrow keys to keep your bike balanced and avoid smashing your face into the ground until you reach the finish line. You start the game off with only the Beginner difficulty tracks and a single bike available to you. As you earn more medals by completing tracks quickly and with as few crashes as possible, you unlock more bikes, tracks, minigames and customization items. Do not mistake the word "simple" with the word "easy", though. Making a single twitchy mistake might make you fall, which might in turn lose you the gold medal for that specific track, requiring you to start over and try harder.

The community knows what they’re doing.

The community knows what they’re doing.

Though Trials originated on the PC, Redlynx have since moved on to the greener pastures of the Xbox 360. When Trials Evolution was released on the 360 in April last year, it upped the ante for the series in several ways. For the first time, Trials took its first steps outside the warehouse it had been hiding in for the previous three installments of the franchise. Multiplayer was another big first, which is likely one of the main reasons the game became so popular and remains popular to this day.

Now, the PC version, dubbed Trials Evolution: Gold Edition, is out. At its core, it’s still the same game. It essentially looks and plays the same, with some added anti-aliasing features and some spruced up textures. Controls are responsive and the keyboard works great for steering. Well, at least for the most part. Once you unlock the most challenging tracks, it'll become difficult to complete a track without wasting precious seconds fiddling over obstacles or falling on your face, due to the keyboard's lack of analog controls. For the harder tracks, you'll want to get yourself a controller, which offers a much more fluid and responsive experience. I swear, there're Extreme tracks you won't even be able to complete with a keyboard. In fact, if you feel destined to top the global leaderboards for Evolution, the controller is essential.

RedLynx have also been nice enough to include a re-worked Trials HD, the series' previous installment, from scratch in Evolution's Gold Edition. This means that the game ships with 129 tracks and minigames to enjoy, and each track will take you anywhere from one minute to an hour to really complete, depending on how much of a perfectionist you are. In other words, there's plenty of content for the money you pay. In case you should run out of tracks to play, there's a hefty track creator at your disposal so you can make new ones, upload them and have others play and rate them. How hefty is this track creator? Well, Redlynx basically used the same thing when they made Evolution's tracks in the first place, so that should give you an idea. In fact, the editor comes in two modes: the simple one which lets you create basic tracks with jumps, ramps and obstacles - and then there's the advanced one, which lets you go wild and make literally anything you want. The community is lively, and there're always new tracks added to the rosters for those who aren't into creating, but just want to play. Downloading, playing and rating through the in-game menus is usually pain-free and makes for unlimited replayability.

Hill climbing - the keyboard user’s worst enemy.

Hill climbing - the keyboard user’s worst enemy.

Though it's fun to play new tracks on your own, multiplayer brings with it a whole new, much more seminal and immediate experience. You won't earn medals or have your time uploaded to the leaderboards, so here it's all about being the first to complete each track. Multiplayer has two modes of play, which depends on the tracks themselves. Regular tracks play like they do in singleplayer, except you are competing against your competitors' "ghosts" in real-time. Supercross tracks have four separate "rails" that each player rides to the end. With regular tracks it's all about finishing in first place, the time it takes has no influence and mistakes you make are of no consequence. When racing on Supercross tracks however, each fault you do subtracts one point off the potential ten you can earn per race. So even if you come first, the second player might earn more points than you as long as he was better at keeping his balance. Setting up tournaments with a mix of both Supercross and regular Trials tracks, creates for a fun and varied experience that'll have you quite literally, at the edge of your seat the whole time.

Multiplayer is tons of fun, but it does come with a handful of issues. For one, you have to choose whether to play online with random strangers, or in a closed online or LAN party with friends. You can't set up a party with two friends and then make the party public to find the last player online. There're different benefits to playing public and private. Public play has a ranking system that you level up in as you win tournaments. But playing with strangers doesn't let you choose the tracks you play, and tournaments never have more than three tracks. Having a closed party gives the host the ability to add up to seven tracks to the playlist, from the list of all the tracks in the game in addition to any custom tracks you've downloaded. It's too bad they couldn't find a way to combine public and private play better. One nice thing to mention though, is that only the host needs to download the custom tracks.

Inviting friends to your party is awkward, too. You need to open the Uplay overlay, then invite the friends you want to play with. Once everyone has accepted and are in the party, you close the overlay and hit the "invite party to game" button to have everyone join into the in-game party. It's not a huge deal, but it does feel like a few button presses too many. What truly is a huge deal though, is how if you don't have access to your router, or don't know how to forward ports, you're pretty much screwed since it's obligatory with this game. There’re a bunch of ports that need to be forwarded for your NAT to be listed as open, and there's no good guide or complete list of ports offered from Redlynx or Ubisoft. If you don't forward these ports, you risk not being able to find anyone online to play with at all. It's like Modern Warfare 2's matchmaking system, only maybe worse.

This looks way easier than it really is.

This looks way easier than it really is.

The game also has some other issues. Some players report framerate issues, and the soundtrack consists of only a few songs that you'll get tired of really fast. Best you just fire up Spotify with your own kickass playlist instead. I personally have been having one issue that is incredibly frustrating - and though it's rare, I'm not the only one suffering from it. The issue is that sometimes after you've slaved over an incredibly challenging map four what feels like hours, you finally nail every obstacle, pass the finish line without a single fault and making great time... and then your score isn't saved onto the leaderboards. It’s a literal kick in the teeth. It may be a non-issue to some, but completionists and perfectionists who want to top the charts of global Trials domination will likely find this issue so frustrating that it ruins the game for them, if they are among those who have the issue.

The Verdict

 

Though Trials Evolution doesn't stick its landing on the PC perfectly, with most issues attributed to Uplay, it's such a fun game that most of its issues are easy to accept. There're a ton of different maps to play, ranging from easy and relaxing, to brutal and unforgiving. There's something for everyone here, and the transition is so gradual that the game practically holds your hand while you're fresh and insecure, but won't hesitate to smack you around once you get up into the big leagues. Ubisoft need to work with their Uplay service, because it isn't optimal at this point. I wish there were more customization items available for both the driver and the bikes, and it would be nice to have at least a few extra songs in the soundtrack. It cannot be denied however, that with the amount of tracks and minigames, the online multiplayer, the track creator and the lively community, Evolution' Gold Edition is truly golden. It may be slightly rough around the edges, but it is so packed with quality content that you'll be foolish to ignore it. The mere fact that while writing this review I had to keep reminding myself this isn't a $50 game, just goes to show how much bang you will get for your buck.

Case Review

  • Pure Fun: Quite simply put, Trials Evolution is just fun. Whether you play alone with friends.
  • Your Imagination Is The Limit: The track creator makes for infinite replayability.
  • Keyboard-Free Zone: While most tracks can be completed using a keyboard, a controller is necessary for the Extreme tracks.
  • This Song Again?!: The soundtrack consists of only a few songs.
  • Ultimate Frustration: Uplay integration isn't perfect. Sometimes your new record doesn't save to the leaderboards. FFFFFF---
4.5
Score: 4.5/5
Though slightly rough around the edges, Trials Evolution is pure golden fun at a low price.

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Comments (3)
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Posts: 341

Very fun game.

However, you cant seem to keep track of which Tracks you've already played or how many times you have played them. Annoys both me and my friend when we play multiplayer, randomizer tool doesnt cut it and you cant see which you havent played yet.

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Posts: 1245

Yeah the game is tons of fun, but Ubisoft really do need to not lag behind on fixing those issues.

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Posts: 3

Very good review man, I completely agree with you about everything. Tons of content, incredibly addictive, great multiplayer possibilities versus maybe not enough biker customisation (while there are still a lot of stuff that can be changed for the vehicles with different wheels, any color possible for many bike pieces, etc) and a crappy third party software that not everyone like that should be called U-Suck but still, not worst than the Microsoft one.

While I never had any trouble with leaderboards and score uploading, I did had a save lost after a patch on the beta, but it was fixed by moving a couple of files. The game was in an older version though, so I doubt it will happen again.

Thanks Red Lynx for getting one of the best console game of all time on our PC with a very decent port.

P.S. I'm in a screenshot, yay !! ;p