The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
The Trials series has a reputation for fun and challenge, and this entry offers no reason to change that expectation. Stages of escalating difficulty put a player’s motorbike platforming, jumping, and balance to the test. Endless retries are inevitable as each course is charted and memorized. While RedLynx has gone to great lengths to introduce a few new surface-level features, Fusion is firmly built on an established blueprint. For players simply eager for another batch of courses, that should be just fine.
From its slick front menu to the stage backdrops, Fusion catapults the setting of Trials into the future. Players are riding on solar panels and leaping off hover planes as often as dirt and asphalt. An odd meta-story about artificial intelligences who really like obstacle courses adds to the lunacy of the tracks. Those stages escalate quickly from easy to ridiculously hard, and I’m disappointed that there aren’t more courses that reside in the fun space that lies between the two extremes. A simple progression system offers rewards for medals and other achievements, and you slowly earn mostly cosmetic adjustments to your bike and rider. I like the streamlined unlock system, but it doesn’t have enough meaningful purchases to spend your currency on.
The flexible Track Central course builder returns, offering an excellent tool for enterprising creators, and a curated system to guide players to the best user-crafted tracks. Local multiplayer is another bonus, but a small one – only 10 courses are available at launch, and the four-rider competitive matches are good for little more than a party distraction.
The biggest addition in this installment is the new FMX system, which allows players to complete crazy high-flying antics in mid-air using the right stick. It’s a fun and easily mastered diversion, but FMX events are separate from the normal obstacle levels. They generally don’t affect the core gameplay, even if they do contribute to progression. You are also treated to your first chance to drive an ATV during a few courses, which is a nice change of pace.
Trials Fusion, like its predecessors, is a bundle of fun packaged in frustration, repetition, and memorization. If that kind of punishment is your cup of tea, Fusion offers more of what you’ve come to expect. The existing formula is an awfully good one, but with few meaningful steps forward, it’s easy to feel like we’ve crashed down this road before.
Email the author Matt Miller, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.