Review: Trials Fusion – A Psychologist's Dream Come True
Let’s be honest here; motorbikes and stunt driving won’t appeal to everyone. I mean, who wants to see explosions, backflips from tall buildings, full on gymkhana-esque stunts and crashing a lot? I mean, who?
Trials Fusion, the motocross-style stress-tester, is a game that encompasses the wild world of stunt jumps, time trials and a vast array of tracks to crash on like you’ve just been handed an entrant’s ticket to the Red Bull X-Games. The idea is that you get from one end of the track to the other in the quickest time you can while avoiding any bone-crushing injuries to the sack of leather-suited flesh weighing your bike down.
The career starts off nice and easy, giving you tutorials and relaxed tracks to whet your appetite and apply a false sense of security to your steadily inflating ego. For every track completed, a medal is awarded, your wallet surges in size and experience is gained towards your overall level. That gives you more personalisation models for your “character” and a new bike of some description to use and customise.
Then the real games begin. Progressing through the career levels throws more expectations at you, while you’re busy trying to navigate through more obstacles on the actual tracks. Your personal objectives go from getting a gold medal and beating your friends’ times on the leaderboards to just getting to the other end without throwing your controller (or indeed keyboard) at your screen. I once racked up 84 faults on one run.
If there ever was a perfect test for gauging someone’s patience, Trials Fusion would be it.
This is not a bad thing, though. Trials might infuriate or be obstinate with you but that sense of achievement you from doing well at a particular level feels so much rewarding if you’ve worked hard for it. Plus you can be smug around your friends if you obliterate their times, which is a nice touch.
Friends will also come into play in greater detail later in the year when TF gets updated, as the fully-fledged multiplayer will open up for four-way duels and even more opportunities for bragging rights. Add this to the ever growing bulk of user-created runs in Track Central and the opportunity to make your own adds a community element to it.
Trials seems to get the sense of gravity about right. It’s not too heavy where all your stunts fall flat, but not too light that you unrealistically fly for a mile ahead on big jumps. The real accomplishment is the feeling of landing properly: Do it wrong and you have to reset to the last checkpoint as you hear sounds of wrangled metal and a cracking skeleton, do it right and the flow of the track turns up a couple of notches. It’s also essential to land your tricks, poses and flips right on the Skill Games otherwise you won’t get scored and your seemingly invulnerable character has to restart to get a “clean run”.
Trials isn’t perfect though, as although the game makes full use of the PS4’s graphics engines, cheesy blockbuster-movie effects are everywhere. Sound effects and music can get a little irksome too.
Trials Fusion, then, is not a game you can relax to. It’s one you have to work hard on to do well in, but that feeling of positive reinforcement really does mess with your psyche and constantly prods at your addiction centre like a child with a “Do Not Touch” button. B.F. Skinner would be proud.
(5 / 5)
Trials Fusion is out now for PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC.