We Were Free! I Was Free! You Were Free! WE WERE FREE! Free from what, I hear you ask. We were free from the evil clutches of the terrorizing mistress known as “Trials”.
We should all be familiar with the concept of Trials by now, unless you bypassed the first console instalment or just don’t have a 360. The game is deceptive via simplicity. It’s a man, his motorcycle and a series of courses that can either be rather simple or will inspire you to rip your hair from your head. As said, the concept is as simple as they can get, it’s you, a motorcycle and a track. The aim is to get from the start to the finish as fast as you can.
I told you it sounded simple. It’s not. Along the way, there are ramps, jumps and various obstacles designed to force you off of the bike and bail out. These could be in the form of pipes, tyres, fences or even explosives. As the game starts out, these are pretty easy to dodge and get to the finish line in one piece, but soon the difficulty ramps up and that’s where the cruelty begins.
To progress, you need to obtain various medals from completing tracks, a gold medal equates for three, silver resulting in two and bronze for one. Usually, you’ll simply grab a bronze for simply completing a track, silver for being faster or with minimum bails and gold being given away for meeting the desired time and not bailing out at all. In later courses, patience is the key unlike in some earlier courses where speed is the key. And boy, do you need a ton of patience for those later levels.
It takes a talented development crew to keep us raging and coming back for more. There are really two development teams that I currently know of that have that ability, one is Red Lynx. The other are the geniuses (or evil masterminds) that are “Team Meat”, otherwise known as the bastards that created Super Meat Boy. It’s an abusive relationship in videogame form, and it’s a cycle of abuse that may never end, especially if you’re a perfectionist.
The controls are very simple, throttle, brake, leaning controls and the ever present options to either restart the track from the beginning or just from the last checkpoint. Being the attempted perfectionist I am, I’m more acquainted with starting the track from scratch every time I screw up. Not quite the best course of action on the longer and more difficult circuits.
For people who have gotten into Evolution from HD, you’ll find that not a great deal has changed fundamentally, because as they say “don’t fix what isn’t broken”. Red Lynx have kept the system that works and I personally thank them for that. Don’t get me wrong, though. This isn’t some DLC masquerading as a sequel. Multiplayer has upgraded, the track editor has upgraded and Red Lynx have made custom tracks uploadable, so anyone in the world can grab a track you’ve made and play it without having to add you to their friends list.
The other thing is that in Trials HD, you had a meter at the top which basically told you how your friends coped on the track you’re playing. That’s no more. Now, you have your friends names on screen at all times, keeping up (or speeding ahead of you) as you make your way through at track. Essentially, it’s fueling the competitive nature of every gamer, because you are constantly reminded of how much you rock/suck (delete as appropriate) compared to your friends. This sucks majorly for me, especially when Chris F**king Coughlin is the King of Trials in my circle of gaming friends. A$$h*le.
The creation suite comes in two flavours, simple and complex. These shouldn’t need that much explaining, it all depends on whether you want to get nuts deep in the creation of your course or not. But to give you the scope of the creation suite, you’re not limited to creating regular, mind bending, patience testing tracks as you were in Trials HD. Rather this time, in addition to creating tracks like that, you can create mini FPS games, knock offs of Angry Birds or Super Meat Boy, even to a game of foosball! Yep. Foosball. So, needless to say the scope of creation in this game may very well be infinite.
What it all boils down to is that Trials is going head to head with Super Meat Boy in the newly created (by me) “Infuriating Puzzler” genre. These are the games that drive you to the very brink of insanity and give you that gentle nudge into a full on rage quit, but you’ll find yourself coming back for more. It is an abusive relationship in videogame form. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll jump for joy. It’s a game that harkens back to the old days of gaming where everything wasn’t handed to you on a golden platter. I love it, and I believe you will too.