Trials Rising Review

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The Trials series has finally returned after a lengthy amount of time between titles. Find out what we thought in our Trials Rising Review!

Release DateFebruary 26, 2019
GenreRacing
PlatformsPC/XBO/PS4/Switch
DeveloperUbisoft RedLynx/Ubisoft Kiev
Price$39.99 US
ESRB RatingTeen
Players1-8 Players

 

*A copy of this game was provided by Ubisoft to FYIG for review purposes*

I’m by no means a veteran of the Trials series. In fact, Trials Rising is the very first game I’ve played in the series. I never really understood how the series had such a cult following, it seemed like a pretty simple game that wouldn’t entertain me for more than an hour at a time. You wouldn’t think a 2D game with basic controls like gas, brake, and leaning left and right would be very thrilling, but it is. It’s easy to pick up and play, but very difficult to master and that’s what kept me coming back race after race.

It’s a weird sensation to go through a course for the very first time. You’re trying to figure out the terrain and how to control your bike while paying attention to what’s coming up ahead. That’s hard enough, but you’re also racing against the clock trying to get through the course as fast as possible. It may seem like all you have to do is hold down the accelerator and hit the jumps in the right way, but there’s a lot more to Trials Rising than that. Each level is almost like a puzzle that you’re piecing together as you go. There are things like loops, catapults, switches, alternate paths, and other things that might change your perception of any given track. It’s definitely a lot of fun to figure out how to shave off a few more seconds of time or, with some of the tougher levels, figure out how to finish them at all.

Trials Rising Review
The train passes underneath.

There are over 100 courses in Trials Rising and they are all pretty well laid out with plenty of jumps and different obstacles to overcome. I feel like the development team tried to go with a more real-world feel to the levels in this game with things like construction sites, movie sets, roller coasters, skate parks, and so much more. I feel like it gives the game more variety than it would if it was just a bunch of abstract courses. I also feel like the levels are full of life with people and objects scattered around the background. It really feels like these aren’t just levels, but real places that the courses just happen to be in and the fact that the game looks great graphically definitely helps that cause. I especially like the set pieces like wrecking balls, trains, and mine carts that pass through as you’re going through the course. It’s very reminiscent of Showcases in the Forza Horizon series. The only thing I didn’t like was the fact that some of these levels get remixed later in the game which felt a little lazy. 

Courses are split into 9 different leagues which traditionally have 8 courses in each, but a couple of them have less in the later stages of the game. Each league is unlocked by beating the previous league’s stadium finals. These are a series of three short multi-lane races that only unlock once you’ve gained enough XP to reach the required player level. This doesn’t seem like an out of the ordinary thing, but it starts to feel grindy as you have to keep completing sponsor contracts (which can be things like doing x amount of backflips in a race or other similar goals) to reach the level you need to progress in the game. If progress was tied to getting gold medals, I feel that the entire game would have had a better flow.

Trials Rising Review
The levels in Trials Rising look great.

Contracts reward you with experience and cosmetic items for completing a course with a specific set of requirements, as I alluded to earlier. These can be simple things like getting a certain medal to crazy things like doing 10 backflips while on fire. Sometimes you can even have multiple objectives on a single course. I found these to be pretty fun every once in a while as it gave me a new perspective on a level and it made me be a little bit more carefree with my approach. Maybe I’ll try a risky backflip to try and hit the contract? Maybe I’ll do a quick wheelie on a short straightway? It’s a fun way to shake things up and keep you on your toes.

The problem with Contracts lies in the fact that, even if you want to put them off until later, you can only do that for so long. They’re central to the entire game because they’re the fastest way to gain XP. If you want to unlock everything, just grabbing gold medals and beating your best times won’t be enough. Later in the game, you need 10,000 XP to go up one level. Contracts only offer a max of about 5,000 with some being as low as around 3,000. Getting a gold medal on a hard track will only net you 450 XP. That’s a huge difference! So obviously the XP balance is pretty awful which is sad with an otherwise great experience.

Trials Rising Review
My character, complete with boxing gloves.

One thing that was nice to see is that Trials Rising actually gives you great tutorials on how to do basic and advanced moves to tackle even the toughest challenges. Each technique has its own course that you can go through to understand how to perform it in a regular course. The moves and physics of those moves are explained really well and you can even watch a ghost rider next to you if you’re still not understanding what’s going on. It’s a big addition to the series and something that helped me a lot at every stage of the game. If you’re an experienced player, you can ignore these courses, but I recommend them for most players.

The level editor is not as intuitive and is something that only experienced players will probably deal with due to the complex nature of the tools involved. It’s all laid out quite well, there are just so many options that it can be very daunting for a beginner. It’s amazing what you can create with this editor with these tools, but it definitely wasn’t something that I played around with too much. It’s great to see it continue to be a part of the series and I’m sure that we’ll see plenty of great levels from the talented creators out there in the coming years.

Trials Rising Review
Example of a loot crate.

Level editing isn’t the only customization available. You’re also able to customize your rider and the bikes that you unlock with different parts and stickers. I have a stuntman outfit early in the game that I used for the bulk of it, but there are plenty of pieces to create anything that can fit your style. Each time you level up, you earn a loot crate filled with 3 cosmetic items or stickers. These can also be purchased for in-game currency. There are also items you can buy for real-world money or by finding hidden collectibles. There is never an absolute need to buy anything extra and you can get any of the cosmetic items by simply playing or obtaining collectibles. Each item you get can be decked out with stickers that can be coloured and sized to your liking which is a nice touch to make everyone feel like they have a truly unique character. It was a little annoying that there are way more stickers than customization parts and that I seem to get a lot of the same parts (I’ve received one part about 5 times now) so hopefully, we’ll see more parts and fewer doubles in future updates.

One of the coolest new additions that I’m going to touch on is the Tandem Bike. This bike gives two local players control over the same bike at once. You can use it on almost every course, but it’s incredibly hard to master the movement with another person. Still, it’s a really innovative way to break up the gameplay and give two people control at the same time which would otherwise probably not be possible. Trials Rising also includes asynchronous PVP races, but I wasn’t able to test that during the review period. It’s a nice addition for those who want real-world competition.

ProsCons
Lots of interesting coursesTough grind to get to higher levels
Accessible to all audiences