There’s a certain sense of accomplishment when you manage to finish a level in Trials Fusion without any faults. While it’s easy to breeze through the initial chunk of stages, it doesn’t take long before you are hitting the ‘redo’ button over and over again, all the while, your poor on screen rider repeatedly falls to his death. Indeed, Trials Fusion is as much of a perfectionist’s nightmare as previous entries in the franchise – and you’ll love it for that.
For the uninitiated, the Trials games could be called dirt bike platformers. Jumping over ramps is just the tip of a very complex iceberg that goes just about everywhere in terms of complexity and pure insanity. In Trials‘ defense, you’re given total control over your rider – one analog stick controls his posture, while the other takes care of the bike’s direction, as well as full control over throttle and such. With that in mind, you should just accept the fact that in just about 99.9% of mishaps during a run, it’s your own damn fault.
Trials Fusion goes a little crazier than its predecessors. Now set in a very metallic and chromed future, extra factors are thrown into the design for the courses. For instance, the gravity might suddenly change in certain sections of a track, slowing you down or completely turning you around, which gives an edge to the game in terms of what you are expecting to see during a run. There are also cosmetic gimmicks thrown in that affect gameplay in ways that make Fusion even more of a trial and error game than any of the ones that came before it, pardon the obvious pun.
As for substantial additions to the game, outside of a new type of stage that puts you in the air for tricks and points every so often, is the introduction of a quad bike. The quad is heavier than the normal bikes, but controls much better. Sadly, there’s only a handful of stages that actually allow you to use it.
Faults, faults and faults, patience is the key to playing any Trials game, especially Trials Fusion. The difficulty slowly ramps up and the progression does a terrific job in easing you into the core tenants of platforming but leaves enough out for you to figure out on your own. Previous experience with the series will help you out as far as getting to the later, more challenging stages, which are by far the best and at the same time, most frustratingly rewarding parts of Fusion.
In terms of real frustration, Trials Fusion manages to disappoint when it comes to multiplayer. Unlike Trials Evolution lightly packed online mode, Fusion opts to sticking to local only, which comes as a shock. That omission might leave you baffled, but thankfully there are other uses to online that manage to redeem Fusion somewhat.
That saving grace is once again the user level creation suite. This is where the meat of the game lies once you are done with the host of levels that come with the base game. Close to release, there were already a metric ton of excellent tracks available for download, curated by RedLynx and user scores. The tools that are available are relatively easy to use and much like the saying goes, there are no limitations to creativity – proved true by some of the levels that are up there for you to go through.
If you are somehow still looking for more to ride through in Trials Fusion, Ubisoft is taking the series into the season pass bandwagon, practically doubling the initial price of the game with the promise of a regular series of downloadable content starting soon. Considering the amount of DLC offerings for previous games, there’s a precedent for quality, but it’s still too early to tell how they’ll be implementing this delivery model into this game.
The PC version of the game was provided for this review and it’s unfortunately plagued by some performance issues that slow it down and out randomly during gameplay. There are plans for a patch to be out for this widely reported problem, but as it stands at the time of this review, Trials Fusion might run unevenly on your computer. It’s not enough to kill the game, but it’s annoying to see that even with a delayed release, this version of the game is still not optimized.
It’s very much worth noting how beautiful the game looks. It starts out very clean and metallic, but quickly moves to more urban and chaotic environments, down to a jungle, a desert and even through the bits and bytes that float through the insides of a neon powered computer space. You’re also cheered and punched along by a host of different robotic voices that take cues from fan favorite GLaDOS and are genuinely funny the first few times you get to hear them as you retry sections of levels.
Perfectionist or not, whether you can stomach repeating levels over and over again, Trials Fusion is bound to get some sort of reaction out of you. It’s a polarizing game that hooks up onto your nerves in a variety of ways. Frustration on one end, pure happiness at the other, balancing out and tittering at the drop of a hat. All in all, there’s lots to enjoy and just as much to hate in Trials Fusion. It’s that unique paradox that makes the games of this ilk as cherished as they are, faults and all. Among the franchise overall, Fusion stands as a great but ultimately flawed addition that’s still very much worth jumping and crashing through.