Trials HD was set indoors and while it allowed for some impressive locations it did at times feel very claustrophobic and limited with brief glances to the outside world via the windows. Trials Evolution is set outside on what appears to be a large island with over 50 varying locations to race on. From motocross style tracks, to high rise oil rigs and eerie castles, everything seems to be covered. The tracks are more engaging, using scenery and lighting effects very well. It does not feel like a bunch of extra tracks that could have been found in Trials HD thanks to the improved game engine.
What made Trials HD so addictive and competitive were the leaderboards. Trials Evolution follows the same recipe for hours upon hours of blood, sweat and tears as you try to beat your rivals times or gain the gold medal. Your best times are uploaded to the leaderboard, as are your friends. They are a constant reminder as their times appear on the track selection screen and most importantly visualised with a ghost rider style ‘dot’ on the track. If you have the smallest amount of competitiveness in you, then you will happily spend a hour (or more) to perfect the track even if it means shaving a millisecond off your time, if it beats your friends then it is all worthwhile.
For some, the main annoyance in Trials HD was the difficulty curve. Once you reached the Hard tracks it stepped up a few levels and many found the increase a tricky one to overcome. I have to admit that I did find the Hard tracks easier to complete, this in my opinion is due to better track design rather than experience. Trials HD threw everything at you in terms of difficulty, Evolution takes a more relaxed approach and eases you in. Of course, the Extreme tracks are as hard as ever, so veterans have little to worry about. Once you reach the Extreme tracks, the fabled Platinum medals are unlocked for all tracks and require a very high degree of skill to earn!
The Skill based tracks were a big favourite of mine in the first game and Evolution includes a set of new mini games to test your skill. They are however a mixed bag, games that you can replay again and again to perfect your results such as the Icarus game in which the aim is to fly your character as far as possible. Some games are throwaway challenges which you may only attempt once or twice to get a gold medal and never return to. Admittedly the new Skill games did not grab me as much as the original, but there is always the possibility of new games with the track editor.
The track editor is not simply thrown in for fun, it was what the game developers actually use to create the tracks. Trials Evolution comes with two editors; a standard version much like the one in Trials HD and a Pro editor which offers more features to create your tracks. Once completed, you can upload and share your creation with the world via the Hub which allows anyone to download and play them. It was too early to fully experience the hub, but if the user created content from Trials HD is anything to go by I expect some amazing tracks!
Minor additions to the game include the ability to customise both your character and your motorbike. Using the in-game currency you earn from completing tracks you can change the helmet, shirt, bottoms, boots and gloves. The variety of clothing is fairly good with options such as flight and motocross clothing, some of which you can change the colour. The motorbike customisation is a little more in depth with the ability to change the designs and decals on most aspects of the bike. It adds a bit of visual difference when playing online to identify your player which is fun.
The big new addition to Trials Evolution are the multiplayer races. There are two forms of races in which up to four players can compete in. Trials mode is much the same as playing a normal track with real time ghost riders as your opponents. The Supercross races, reminiscent of games such as Excitebike, show all the players on their own racing lane. It all works very well, with the ability to create your own tournament playlists, including downloaded or custom tracks or simply let the game choose a random selection. I can’t stress how fun the races are, it is true white knuckle competitiveness as you race your friends!
Trials Evolution exceeds the very high standards set by Trials HD. Everything has evolved in the right places, while still retaining what made the first game a great game to play and return to again and again. It is one of very few games I can’t find any real fault with, in fact the only faults you will find are in counter in the top left showing how many times you have crashed. Trials Evolution is very likely to be the best arcade game you will play for a very long time!
Your friends times keep the single player mode addictive and competitive to play. The multiplayer modes are great fun and work seamlessly.
Very impressive use of graphics, usage of the lighting to change the theme of levels is great.
The soundtracks are a nice mix of themes which work well in the game. Sound effects are great, the return of Rake Yohn providing the vocals is a nice touch.