“If at first you don’t succeed, try, and try again.” The old saying really applies to all of the Trials games, but Trials Fusion stretches it to its breaking point. It’s rare these days to see a game that is so unapologetically challenging, punishing, and immensely satisfying once mastered.
What Is It?
This is the third installment in the Trials series of motorcycle obstacle course games. You play from a side scrolling ¾ perspective and navigate increasingly more treacherous courses as the game progresses. It’s really that simple. It sounds easier than it is though, since there are a number of different mechanics to master before you can really be competent at the game.
Trials Fusion starts you off on fairly simple courses where all you really need to worry about is getting your landing angle right. As it progresses though, you’ll need to master a variety of techniques to stand a chance of getting good scores. The controls may seem straightforward at first, but there is one quirk that gives Trials games their challenge. The controls do not self-center, so when you lean back to get your front wheel up, your weight remains shifted back until you manually shift it forwards again. You’ll spend a lot of your time early on wrestling with that mechanic.
The game’s career is structured in such a way that just going through and scoring bronze medals will not allow you to progress. To proceed to the next area of the game, you need to score at least one silver medal. So the game is forcing you to replay and master levels, just so you can continue. This isn’t actually such a bad thing; the game forces you to hone your skills. It’s a little bit of tough love, which you just don’t see from most modern games these days. When you do finally master that level though, it feels all the sweeter.
Why Should I Care?
Trials Fusion features eight zones to play through in Single Player, a turn based Multiplayer mode, and a Track Creator tool and hub to download user-created tracks. The track editor is very comprehensive, but not exactly easy to use. To get the most out of it, you’ll want to spend some time on the Red Lynx YouTube channel watching their video tutorials. It would have been very nice if those tutorials could have been directly linked from the game, but hey, we can’t have everything, right?
New to Fusion is the ATV, which handles completely differently than the bike does. Even though you have four wheels instead of two, it’s by no means easier to handle; it’s just different. Of the two styles of vehicle, I do tend to prefer the ATV, as it is a little easier to land solidly.
For an early PlayStation 4 and Xbox One release, Trials Fusion is a very good looking game. It makes liberal use of reflections and neat lighting tricks to give it a really pleasing look. One level in particular has you riding against a setting sun. The entire track, including your rider are in silhouette, and it just looks great! The game’s lighting is both its defining visual feature and its most annoying trait. It seems like it goes out of its way to put the sun right in your ‘eyes’, temporarily obscuring your rider. If you were trying to get your landing angle right when that happens, it’s very likely you’ll be eating steel, pavement, rock, or any number of other hard surfaces not typically suited for human consumption.
What Makes It Worth My Time & Money?
This game is not going to be for everyone. It does very little to ease you in, and it forces you to build a skill set before you can proceed further into the Career. It’s not a game that you can coast through. If you are prepared to put the time and effort into memorizing the tracks, learning the finer points of weight transfer, and learning that even a slight touch on the throttle can make the difference between staying on your saddle and bailing, then you’ll enjoy this game. The best thing that I can say about Trials Fusion is that it’s a game that knows what it is, and who it’s for.