“Just one more go”. The game even makes fun of this very real statement. Trials, as a series, is an abusive partner -- an emasculating (for me), standover [hired
] goon; a BDSM Mistress who knows how to paddle me into next week. Tears form in my eyes, blemishes form in various spots around my pale, weakened body. I’m tied up and gagged. Dribble forms around my mouth and I sweat profusely. If I weren’t handcuffed, TVs might get smashed and if I weren’t tethered to a chair, cartoon-esque tantrums might see controllers crushed beneath my childish feet. Such is my relationship with Trials and, most recently, Trials Rising.
Just. One. More. Go.
What’s interesting here is that for much of your early time with this new entry in the series, all courses are Easy. Of course, it’s easy
enough to finish these below Gold, but if you’re someone like me, anything less than Gold, especially on Easy, is not an option. But Trials Rising goes one further -- while on your Race map, you’ll see updates to every completed course in real-time. What’s this? Joaby has just posted a new best time, taking yours away. Fuck, okay. One. More. Time.
By now if you’ve played Trials in any form, you know the formula. Not much has changed. This is an anxiety-inducing challenge designed to upset and reward you all at once. Sure it’s pretty in 4K -- ragdoll deaths have never looked so good, but Trials isn’t entirely known for its graphical prowess -- this is a game whose very soul is a black hole. You’ll sit in a perpetual event horizon feeling that on the other side (ie, “one more go”) some kind of parallel universe is waiting for you to make a fresh new start. All the while not realising, at all, that that likelihood is so far removed from (known) reality, and that you’ll be crushed under a weight of gravity so dense, so unimaginable, that you’re just basically doomed to wail and ragdoll about in trademark Trials fashion. Hubris be damned.
But fuck it’s fun.
So what’s new, what’s different and why should you care? Well, Trials Rising is almost a “best of” of the Trials series. It’s also the best entry since Trials Evolution, and simply does everything we’d hope the series knows all too well by now, really well. The arcade mini-games, the ever-escalating challenge of learning to balance big air with restraint for traction on tracks that simply get harder and harder. The new two-player tandem bike option. All of it. It’s simply a game that is designed to lift you up and dump you, awkwardly, like a series of scenarios and jokes in a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode. You can’t watch, but you also can’t look away -- this is RedLynx’s design tentpole, and with Trials Rising, they’ve presented the perfect combination of all their learnings over the years.
Trials Rising also takes inspiration from another racing series, though the two on the surface might not seem compatible at all -- Forza Horizon. I say this because in Rising, the game attempts to make you feel rewarded regardless of your poor performance(s), much in the same way Horizon just rewards you for driving, even if you’re driving through
things. It’s not at all bad, though in Rising most of this comes by way of superfluous loot crates, but that it’s trying to give you a ‘good game, mate’ pat on the bum is still nice. And it does this beyond the loot crates too. You level up quickly, you unlock new areas quickly, you learn to Trials more quickly thanks to the Aussie-voiced and taught Trials University. As a Trials game, Rising is maybe the most challenging, but with the most support and the most rewards.
Race, Garage, Party Mode, Global Multiplayer, Private Multiplayer and Track Editor make up most of your gameplay options, and Party Mode is fun if you’ve got some friends around and a private collection of the finest red cordial. Private multiplayer, for whatever reason, is not activated yet and Global Multiplayer is also a bit of a weird one considering you’re always racing Ghosts. Garage is where you can add stickers and aesthetic parts to your rider or bike, but what you get with each bike from a performance perspective, is persistent. He said in alliteration. The point here is that, largely, the only other major
part of the game is in the Track Editor, but really, what you’re going to get with Trials Rising is a game that already knows its gameplay DNA -- it’s hard to evolve an almost perfect formula beyond level and puzzle design, but that is
what RedLynx has done here.
Trials Rising is infinitely better than Trials Fusion and feels like the proper
sequel to Evolution. You’re going to get exactly what you expect from Rising, if you’re a Trials fan: crazy course design, a sense of RedLynx just trolling you, some reward, mostly despair but now with added loot boxes for you to open and basically be disappointed with, or not even remotely caring of, their contents. What matters here is that Trials Rising is a game with longevity and challenge. It has options for the creators out there alongside that challenge tentpole for those of us who refuse to hit B or Circle in favour of a complete level reset. Sure, that probably sounds like a cry for help, and maybe it is, but such is the life of a dedicated Trials rider, ever rising
to the occasion.
And like Trials and RedLynx, for that last joke, sorry not sorry.