If you have never played a game in the “Trials” series, “Trials Fusion” is a great game to get you started. RedLynx and Ubisoft incorporate an unforgiving touch-sensitive control system balanced against an authentic gravity component. One could even call the process… wait for it… Fusion (reference!). You start each track as the light turns green and race up, down, over and under various obstacles that get in your path, vying for the best time.
The sensitive touch is essentially the biggest challenge in the game. “One does not simply drive through a “Trials Fusion” track…” instead, you will use all your concentration to mix the accelerator (R2), brakes (L2) and your balance (left analog stick to lean forward or backward) as you traverse tracks of all varieties. Once you unlock the Fusion Motor Cross (FMX) license, you will then be able to incorporate different grabs and tricks (using the right analog stick) to make your runs look more impressive. The levels in the “Easy” and “Medium” tracks are simple enough to navigate through, but once you reach the “Hard” tracks, you will discover just how unforgiving each is and how merciless the physics engine can be.
There is a basic character creation element to the game. You can choose different outfits and purchase them from the Garage once you’ve earned enough money and medals. Colors can be adjusted but there could have been a lot more room for personalization. The same goes for your other bikes and ATVs. You get to pick between several dirt bikes and only one ATV. Each handles differently from speed to agility to durability and stability. For instance, the Foxbat is much better with the FMX arena than any other bike. The personalization for vehicles is just as dull as with the character creation.
As you attempt to conquer each track, you pass waypoints that chime and turn green as you do. Once active, you can return to that point quickly if you screw something up by pressing Circle, though the retries affect your run time and ranking. If you decide you want to restart the race altogether, the PS4 controller’s touchpad is the ticket to the starting line. And honestly, you will be hitting that bad boy as much as your accelerator.
The biggest reason for replay is the “ghost” versions of your friends. As you start each track, a ghostly helmet and a username will appear next to and race alongside you as a constant reminder of how good or bad you are doing. If you are a super competitive person like I am, this is where you really get the most bang for your buck, and where the true obsessive nature of “Trials Fusion” rears its beautiful, devious head. Hitting every ramp perfectly, finding a way to leap over specific obstacles with enough speed to clear another one or taking your time to find moments where the game helps blast you ahead of your opponents will quickly eat up all of your free time before you realize what happened to you.
As with a lot of new titles in their first months, there are a handful of issues with “Trials Fusion” that will need to be addressed for the game to be all it can be. While I was racing on one of the tracks, the game crashed, and when I reloaded it, I was informed that the save data was corrupted and needed to be deleted in order for me to continue. All of my medals and times were erased, but I was surprised that when I raced those tracks again, the ghost helmet of my former run time was present and accounted for.
While the online component is not yet available (it will be released in months to come) to “Trials Fusion” players, there is local multiplayer available for you and your friends. The heart of which lies within the user created content. At last I checked, there were over 3,500 user-generated tracks created. Players have created trick contents, time challenges and everything in between. Only after you finish a track can you decide to vote it up or down. The best reviewed tracks are advertised and promoted, while the tracks that don’t fare as well are slipped to the archives. It’s a smart system that makes good use of crowdsourcing to decide what should be promoted and what should be ignored.
“Trials Fusion” is a very pretty game. The 3D background is layered seamless against the 2D space you ride around. The color scheme is varied from track to track, and races that take place at sunset are as awesome to look at as the dark and neon tracks. The art is visually stunning running at 1080p on the PS4.
The “Welcome to the Fusion” intro song is Pop-y and fun to listen to each time you start up the game. While you race through each track, a female and male AI commentator provide fun quips and comments and information about the world you’re in. The female AI seems to fall for the rider a little bit, while the Male AI is more of a tour guide through the world. While the game would have been perfectly fine without the addition of the two commentators, it is a fun addition that fills the world, unless you get into a rut of starting a track over and over again, in which case the voices’ repetition becomes tedious and a little annoying.
“Trials Fusion” puts into place an unforgiving balance of touch controls and gravity that is an absolute blast to play. Every race is as unique as it is challenging, and you will constantly find yourself surprised with all of the different things Redlynx has been able to do with their tracks. The replay value is great, especially if you are the type of person that obsesses over beating your friends’ scores. Having their ghost helmets competing alongside you is an added bonus that pushes your rider to be the best he/she can be. The only drawback is the glitches that are cropping up here and there and the lack of online multiplayer at launch. Bugs aside, this is definitely a game you should consider checking out.
*This review of "Trials Fusion" is based off playing a digital copy of the game on the PlayStation 4 console.
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