Hands-on / Trials Evolution

I have a love/hate relationship with any Trials game, especially so with Trials HD, the Xbox Live Arcade version. After so many hours spent within the game, trying to overcome a block placed precisely so that the proper angle and acceleration had to be achieved or else it’s crash city, weighing the controller throwing satisfaction versus the cost of a new TV, I still couldn’t put it down. Now, RedLynx and Microsoft have presented Trials Evolution at PAX Prime in Seattle and let me see if our rocky relationship is in danger.

I’ll get straight to the point here: Trials Evolution is pretty much the same as Trials HD – but better. In HD, the courses were set within the confined space of some random back-alley warehouse that could have been used for a rave or set piece for ‘Dexter’ just as easily as it was for motorcycle racing. Evolution breaks out of the limited space by bringing mother nature to the tracks with an outdoor setting, providing a sense of space and diverse scenery. I have to admit, it was really nice seeing trees and grass instead of the same propped up plank of wood over and over.

Another change is with multiplayer – Trials Evolution actually has it. While HD had leaderboards and ghost times for friends displayed on the track, marking how much farther they had gotten and making me wonder just how in the world they got up there – I mean, how is it even possible to reach that height?! – Evolution has complete on-screen multiplayer. With up to four different players on-screen, locally or via Xbox Live, the multiplayer tracks look as expected, with different colored starting gates and a specific path for each player. There are the expected technical skill tracks, both in the single- and multiplayer sections, but when racing with friends, as one Microsoft PR person told me, “you want to beat your buddy to the end, so speed is the primary focus” in multiplayer.

With gameplay as tight – if not tighter – as before, opened up scenery, actual multiplayer, and challenging technical courses, Trials Evolution definitely lives up to its name by evolving the previous game. Without a doubt, I’m going to need a new TV.