Trials HD sold over 2 million copies and was one of the rare XBLA games to be pressed to disc. So it's no surprise that developer RedLynx is primed to make another entry full of awesome improvements like multiplayer. We got the full rundown at Gamescom!
Everyone knows that Trials HD was crazy hard and RedLynx isn't backing off this time. The team has added a series of license tests in order to train players on new skills in hopes that if players are ready for tough sequences then maybe they won't get stuck and frustrated as much. Players will also earn money alongside track rankings which can be spent on cosmetic character model upgrades. The team doesn't want to give out stat advantages in consideration of the leaderboards.
Visually, the biggest change for the series is all-new outdoor tracks. All the stages in Trials HD had the same old warehouse background, but I saw all kinds of environments in my demo. One has you rocket down a mountain and shoot off huge ramps. Another is inspired by Omaha Beach with your biker zipping past mortar fire and popping wheelies off of machine gun nests. The coolest track I checked out was floating hundreds of feet in the air where one missed landing would send you plummeting to the ground below. Normally, games cut to the next scene before you fall very far, but Evolution's maps are built so big that you can watch your character fall for at least a good five seconds before he smashes into a wooden house on the ground. RedLynx plans to include a train that will smash through the house once you've landed in it for the final release.
New wacky challenges abound. I saw a UFO bike fly through the skies and make careful touchdowns on landing pads. Another challenge included a massive metal cup welded to the player's bike with a huge steel ball inside. You have to ride all the way through a bumpy course without letting the ball tip out of the cup. It looks like a great mix of absurdity and challenge that will keep me coming back.
Outside of leaderboard times and ghosts, Trials HD was predominantly a solitary experience. All that's changed with a new Excitebike-inspired multiplayer trick racing mode. Up to four players can battle it out locally or online on tracks with multiple lanes and plenty of jumps. If you wipe out, don't fear. Every checkpoint warps the ousted players right back into the pack so you don't have to sit there watching everyone else have fun.
Perhaps the most exciting new element is the fully featured track editor, which RedLynx claims that all of the planned 60 courses were designed on. But what use is a track editor if you can't share your work? Evolution's Track Central lets players submit their masterworks and try others'. Don't worry. A rating system will make it easy to find the quality tracks. Multiplayer courses can also be designed, uploaded, and played against others so it really extends the life of the mode past the planned 10 to 12 multiplayer maps.
After all the tasty new features I witnessed, I can't wait to try out some more Trials Evolution. It's expected to launch this year so keep your fingers crossed that it hits before the holiday game rush.