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Trials Rising

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Racing
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: RedLynx
Release Date: Feb. 12, 2019

About Andreas Salmen

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Switch/PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'Trials Rising'

by Andreas Salmen on Sept. 8, 2018 @ 4:00 a.m. PDT

Set in new epic locations around the world and featuring over a hundred tracks, Trials Rising lets riders travel the world and put their skills to the test through various levels of difficulty, beat the competition, grow their fame under the eyes of experienced sponsors and work to become Trials champions.

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The Trials games have been around for quite a while, but they have always retained the same addictive formula: simple but challenging, difficult but rewarding, competitive but fair. Sure, there were qualitative ups and downs, and not every entry has been equally celebrated, but the core gameplay remained fun for all the right reasons.

Trials Rising is attempting to preserve this very core experience and to craft the ultimate collection of features around it. A fun local co-op mode, an abundance of challenging levels, new boss events, a level editor, and countless visual customization options will be part of the finished experience in an attempt to create a lasting Trials community around its newest iteration.

When we sat down to play a whole hour of the game at Gamescom 2018, developer RedLynx was very specific in saying that Trials Rising has not only been crafted based on previous iterations of the franchise, but also in accordance to feedback from players and pros of the game. There will be tracks in Trials Rising that can currently only be completed by pro players of the previous games, highlighting that the skill ceiling will be as high as ever. It's also something that the included level editor, which we couldn't try yet, will ensure.


In an hour of playing Trials Rising, we found joy, anger and despair in quick succession followed by the familiar "just one more try" attitude that made previous Trials games so addictive. The gameplay has remained largely unchanged. We are still part of a ridiculous physics-based stunt bike race, trying to traverse difficult and occasionally ridiculous terrain by carefully racing, braking and shifting our rider's weight on a motocross bike to finish the track quickly and — if we're good — flawlessly. This title, like the ones before it, is incredibly easy to pick up but difficult to master. Gravity is not your friend, and before long, you'll see your digital avatar squashed, exploded, fallen, and close to decapitated on the race track. It's part of the fun, as failing is an integral part of the experience. It's hard to not give way to a frustrated chuckle as your driver face-plants into the concrete because you came up short on a jump or leaned forward too much.

This is only amplified by the track designs. We tried approximately a dozen tracks ranging from easy to brutally hard, and they got more ridiculous as we progressed. Soon, we were jumping (and inadvertently hitting) explosive barrels, riding through loops, crashing through barriers, and traversing tracks that would fall apart or fired rockets. They are still the main attraction, and they're done beautifully and work well with the general gameplay. Just finishing a race isn't all, of course. Depending on your finish time, you'll be rewarded with an award — bronze, silver or gold — which is quite forgiving and easy to achieve. The real challenge comes in when we attempt to get and hold the best time for a track among our friends. Trials makes it very easy to keep track of your best times and any friends who are closing in; notifications prompt you to beat a new best time whenever it occurs.

It doesn't end there, as there are always secondary challenges for each stage to achieve, such as completing a certain number of flips during the course of the race. Completing these challenges and achieving medals unlock customization options, from outfits to helmet decals, similar to those found in games like Rocket League. Every few events, we can complete a new boss event, which essentially boils down to tournaments over three rounds. We have to race against eight opponents, four of which continue into the second round until we reach the final one-on-one race.


It's equally great to see that Trials Rising will have a local co-op mode, even if it's different than expected. We don't race against but with each other. Both players are placed on a tandem bike and have to cooperatively brake, go, and lean. The challenge is that if they're in tune, it may amplify the movement, but if their inputs are at odds, they may even cancel out one another. The result is an experience that is fun, silly and challenging throughout and can create a lot of interesting situations. It's everything one can hope from a co-op experience, since it's an additional mode in a game that mostly relies on racing against ghosts and online connectivity. While on the subject of online play and the fact that Trials Rising is set to release on PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One, there are no current announcements about possible cross-play implementations between certain platforms. If we look at recent events, chances are all but Sony's platform will support each other online, but we're open to and hopeful for surprises.

We only had a limited number of tracks to race on, but based on what we've seen, we were quickly challenged through the increasingly difficult level design. Regardless of the number of tracks, what we saw looked very polished and in an almost finished state. It instills confidence that the game is solidly stable a full six months before its official release date. Trials Rising will have an open beta very soon from Sept. 14-16 for everyone to give it a go before its official release date of Feb. 12, 2019.


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