It was famously said that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Ubisoft ought to remember the phrase; they quoted it in 2012’s Far Cry 3. Trials Fusion is proof that Redlynx and Ubisoft are content to go mad; since the last game was popular and successful, why not just exploit the same formula over and over again?
There is not much new here compared to the two previous games; Fusion is still —essentially— a physics based platformer with a motorcycle theme. The game’s single biggest change is its setting. Where Evolution was scattershot, taking players to a variety of different locales, Fusion is focused, offering a single futuristic environment. This new aesthetic does play into a larger story, but suffice it to say there is not enough of one to make it feel like a meaningful addition.
Trials gets away with offering more of the same, because its signature gameplay is still a blast — though it is not without its flaws. After the third installment –on home console– it has started to feel like Redlynx is playing it safe. There is an all new stunt system, but it is limited to a few select tracks and feels like an afterthought. Recurring players will know exactly what to expect, and chances are that they will still enjoy what’s there — even if, in the end, there isn’t much new to see. New players, on the other hand, might be at a loss.
The starting levels are easy enough, but in the second half of the game Fusion shows its true colours. The difficulty ramps up too quickly, and the last set of levels especially are a world apart from the ones just before them. The difficulty can be a godsend for the better players, but it also demonstrates the game’s biggest flaw: it does a really bad job explaining its more complex maneuvers. As the obstacles get more intricate, players will end up scrutinizing the game’s replays hoping to see where they went wrong, or just hoping they’ll get lucky enough to move onto another section. Sadly, the game’s playback options are limited; it is impossible to rewind or to slow down the video, which makes watching replays a less than ideal teaching tool.
Ideally, this problem would be fixed by adding more visual cues for when the physics are working against the player; Trials Fusion is precise —as any skill-based platformer should be— but it is often unclear what made you fail, and what is needed to succeed.
Trials Fusion‘s motto is repetition. It isn’t abnormal for a sequel that’s essentially the same as its predecessor to thrive on repetition, but that does not make it any less problematic. The game’s early sections are fun enough, up to a point; after that it’s mostly frustration sandwiched between infrequent success, and only the most insane players will eventually succeed.
- Regardless of the difficulty, I did complete the game. I kind of feel like I should regret that.
- The humor is all over the place. The AI who comments throughout the game are deeply unfunny, but the end level animations have an absurdist quality.
- Some bonuses can only be unlocked by playing the mobile Trials game. It is not worth it.
- Every levels has a set of challenges associated to them. The rewards are minimal, but it’s a welcome challenge.
- There is still a bit of variety in the design and every level feels different while staying true to the theme.
- Level editor means this game will have crazy user-made content in the future.
- As with Evolutions, there is a stupid intro song. It is stupid.