If you’re looking for an off-road simulator, look elsewhere. The latest from developer RedLynx is a high-flying, over-the-top experience where tricks reign supreme and in general, the more height, the better. Featuring slick, glossy environments that ought to look pretty darn good on next-gen consoles, a ton of tracks, and an in-depth content creator mode, you should get plenty of bang for your buck. Those who recall the old ATV Off-Road games on the PS2 will likely appreciate this similarly lighthearted romp.
The developers are offering over 60 tracks, most of which are realistically impossible to ride but oh-so-fun to attempt in the virtual world. There are also over 1,000 parts for the content creator mode, so you can produce your very own insane stunt course. The cool part is that trying user-created tracks will increase your overall character level, so there’s more reason to experiment with community-generated courses. As for a comparison to this title’s predecessor, Trials HD, the courses in question are brighter, airier and yeah, a whole lot bigger.
Tricks weren’t part of Trials HD, though, and they’ll play a prominent role in Trials Fusion. As you might expect, performing tricks is as simple as flicking the right analog stick in certain directions. You’ll have to practice in order to pull off the crowd-pleasing, high-scoring stunts, though; you can’t just flail about wildly. Also, don’t forget that you have to unlock point scoring for tricks by completing certain events. Once unlocked, you can begin to rack up the high scores by carefully timing your mid-air poses, and ensuring they don’t hinder your landing position. That could result in a nasty spill.
The regular tracks include three hidden Easter Eggs, but you’ll have to look around very carefully to find them all. Some will do exceedingly bizarre things, such as letting you play a game of tennis against a penguin (you can’t make that up). Others will have an immediate and drastic impact on the course, so be ready… You can tackle each available track with any vehicle, which includes the standard dirt bike along with the ATV and a special BMX bike. The speed and stability of each vehicle will vary, and you might have to alter your trick approach as well. Some vehicles will be better suited to certain courses, so be careful!
RedLynx teamed up with Ubisoft to get this project done, and I’m hoping the result is a solid, highly entertaining title that’s worth the price of admission. The digital version will only cost $20 (the physical copy will be double the price), and all versions will be available for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Xbox 360 on April 16. Don’t forget that if you purchase the Season Pass, you’ll nab all six planned expansions for the game. Yeah, six. This means you can expect a lot more tracks, items, options, etc. Like I said, this could be a great way to pass the time on a rainy day, and I love the amount of content and depth afforded for only twenty bucks.
The designers just have to execute, that’s all. Cross your fingers!
3/11/2014 Ben Dutka