Game Trials Rising Review

Category: PS4, Review 20

Trials Rising is a sequel to a franchise that has a lot of things figured out. After multiple entries that have helped refine gameplay that was already good to start off with, Rising doesn’t veer too far off the track. It still has a wonderfully diverse set of destinations to visit, each with their own over-the-top track design and goofy finish line antics.

I’ve long since stopped physically leaning into my turns while playing racing games, but something about the Trials series still has me twisting and jumping in my seat as if doing so will just give my rider that little bump they need to get over an obstacle. Each course still encourages you to repeat it nearly obsessively in the pursuit of that next perfect run to show off online. Trials Rising has the same engrossing gameplay the series is known for, but it offers no new surprises. Counterproductively, though, it works against that urge with some tweaks and new additions which take the focus off of that loop of self-improvement and put it instead on repetitive challenges and discouraging PvP competition.

The balance of your motorcycle is the first hurdle. Although you’re only given access to three during the lengthy campaign (more can be unlocked using either in-game currency or real money), each of them handles in very different ways. One gives you more thrust from a stationary start but limits your rotational speed in the air, while another has a frame so light that you need to be cautious of applying too much throttle on a straight and having your front wheel fly into the air above you. Trials Rising gives you suggestions on which motorcycles are best for certain courses, and it is fun moving from one extreme to the other in between events and learning to adjust accordingly.

Controlling your motorcycle consists of shifting weight either backwards or forwards, determining whether you’re going to gently roll over a hill at the end of a steep climb or see your wheels bounce away from the platform before you hurtle towards failure. It doesn’t take long for basic maneuvers to start feeling like second nature. Small actions–such as leaning back to embrace a landing or shifting forward to go down a steep ascent–start blending together to create a tangible flow to Rising’s earlier courses.

These levels are less challenging and more instructive, giving you ample room to experiment with Rising’s mechanics while also rewarding you well for less-than-perfect finishes. Later courses start increasing the difficulty significantly. Tracks require careful consideration over throttle control and feature more gruelling skills tests, which punish even the slightest miscalculation. You have a large number of events between these two extremes, though, which makes each new challenge feel like an appropriate test of your skills rather than a jarring spike in difficulty.

However, even the most carefully executed runs through a course can become undone by obstacles that rely on seemingly random outcomes instead of skill to overcome. Catapults, exploding platforms, and more add an unpredictable nature to later courses that often feels more frustrating than exciting. A small variation on where you stop on a catapult before it fires you into the air can lead to wildly different outcomes, for example. It’s one thing to fail a course and identify where you can get better, but it’s another to be having the best run yet only to fail right at the end and not understand how you could’ve avoided it.

New to Rising are contract objectives from in-game “sponsors,” which offer an additional level of challenge and extra rewards. With sponsors, courses you’ve already participated in can be replayed with some additional objectives. Anything from pulling off flips to limiting the number of faults you can have is on the table, tasking you with reprogramming your muscle memory and coming up with new routines on familiar tracks. Some of the most difficult sponsors will require you to finish first across several events; make a mistake along the way and you might as well start over. These are the least interesting of the bunch by virtue of feeling too unforgiving (even by Trials standards), but they’re thankfully not required to unlock new events.

The loot crates seem to have an issue with duplicate drops as well, as I unboxed the same front fender part for a bike five times in my first 10 loot crates, two of which were literally in the same box. Those can thankfully be sold for in-game currency, which can then be used to quickly unlock specific items or stickers you like. Again, this is all just cosmetic, but it’s almost laughable how stupid these loot crates are. They are thankfully unobtrusive too though, and I was able to find a look I was happy with for my character fairly quickly despite all the unnecessary clutter.

Rising still lets you create brand-new courses from scratch, and race on any that other players have uploaded, but its tools for construction are still ridiculously complicated to grasp. The course editor has no tutorials on how to get up and running and no templates which you can build upon to make editing slightly quicker. The confusing menus, overwhelming taskbar at the bottom of the screen, and unintuitive movement within the editor make trying to create even just a simple track a needlessly difficult chore.

Trials Rising offers some of the coolest levels in the series to date, and its new tutorial system does a better job of teaching you how to actually execute its hardest techniques than any game before it. That wide variety of tracks is unfortunately bogged down by the frustrating grind it takes to unlock them all and some strange decisions that lead to a more discouraging experience, but it’s still satisfying to get back on the bike and try for better medals if you can make it to the finish line.

Trials Rising maintains the engrossing, challenging, and occasionally slapstick gameplay from past entries in the series, building upon it in small ways with a smartly implemented school to teach fundamental skills and modifiers to make events worth revisiting. But it also doesn’t fix issues from the past, either. Its track editor remains uninviting to learn, and the more outrageous stunt events and course obstacles frustratingly lean more into random luck than calculated skill. Trials Rising isn’t a reinvention of the franchise–it’s an invitation to lose more hours to new exhilarating, technical, and ridiculous Trials courses.

Video Game Trials Rising Review :

User Rating :

– The Good:

+ Local multiplayer and tandem motorcycle makes for hilarious play sessions
+ Simplistic controls are easy to pick up while technical mechanics give gameplay depth
+ Courses are varied in both setting and layout, making each course feel distinct
+ Sponsors give you strong incentives to replay previous events

– The Bad:

+ Stunt events and late-game obstacles shift success towards luck rather than skill
+ Gear unlocks are uninteresting
+ The track editor is needlessly complicated to work with

Mark : 7

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