These are my impressions of the game and not a review.
I gotta say at least before the game’s launch, I’m quite addicted to Trials Fusion. I’ve played it for a good week up to launch. It’s fun to play a finished game before it gets out in the wild. In this case, the leaderboards grew slowly and I’m actually in the top 3 and top 10 in a few tracks, which feels great. Though there’s this dude called Paavi who just kills it on most tracks and achieves heroic completion times that I cannot even dream about. As soon as the general public begins to play the game, I’m pretty sure the fun of trying to achieve a high rank on the leaderboards is gone as it’s just impossible to compete with the best players. Which is of course why there’s the Friends list to keep the competition closer.
I got play the game a few months back at RedLynx and the futuristic theme of the game left me a bit cold at first. It just feels a bit off putting. RedLynx seems to acknowledge this as pretty much the first thing you do in a race is to bust out of the clinical futuristic sort of warehouse into the great wide open (tm Tom Petty) and the game feels far less confined than before, but I’m not entirely sold on the futuristic theme.
It’s nice to have 1080P on the PlayStation 4, though really in this game it’s all about the handling. I dont want to get into the whole resolution-gate bullshit too much of frame-rate, but let me say this…hitting 60fps on any hardware where you push really complex graphics, physics etc is super difficult and often not worth it. 60fps means you have 16 milliseconds to render everything in the frame from lighting, geometry, visibility, shaders, AI, everything. So the fact that you have the PS4 and Xbox One with a lot of power doesnt make it that much easier since the resolutions are higher and there’s just so much more to do. Lot of PS4 and Xbox One games will stick to 30fps, 1080P where you can just do so much, much more in terms of visuals, AI, dynamic stuff than what you can at 60fps. Those are facts.
Back to Trials Fusion. I found the main menu a confusing mess at first. It’s not very welcome at all, with too much information laid out in a confusing manner. You see the bottom navigation pane, but you cannot access it always which is a bit strange. It’s not always clear what options are available in the main menu at first. Once you get going, the interface, while still crammed too full of information on every screen, works well. A really smart bit of design is that you can click the left-side of the touchpad to access a screen listing the last tracks you have played, which is super great. So once I boot the game, I can just quickly tap the button and go race the tracks I’ve raced the most before.
The handling seems pretty sublime to me and there’s so much nuance involved that you can spend a crazy amount of time perfecting your runs. There’s a new layer added into the proceedings aka the trick system. You can perform tricks by pushing the right stick into various directions while airborne. There’s separate tracks where its’ all about busting out tricks and getting a high-score but the majority of the game is about completing a track as fast as you can. I dont think the tricks make you go any faster or slower, though I’ve been told in Trials Evolution the fastest times were achieved by spinning the bike in the air during jumps.
The progression seems good and actually completing the tracks seems quite easy, but of course, getting a good time and a faultless run, that’s something completely different.
Looking at the credits and the gazillion Ubisoft names there, I’m pretty sure this game has to sell a whole lot more than before to support a huge organisation. Hopefully it can do that. The really awesome thing that I wish was communicated more is that the core RedLynx team was able to concentrate more on the core of the game than before since Ubisoft Shanghai and Kiev did some of the heavy lifting behind the scenes. I know that RedLynx folks are really happy with how things are with Ubisoft, so while I’m seeing some negativity online as to why there is no online multiplayer at launch etc, based on what I’ve heard, the collaboration between the studio and it’s owner has been awesome.
Overall, this is damn good game.
It’s so easy to pick up and play, loads up fast, you can just try to spend 15 minutes with it, which turns into an hour of course as you cannot put it down. The great thing is that it’s a great video game, it’s got depth, but it also works on a casual level.
RedLynx has not lost any of it’s identity or anything like that with it’s Ubisoft-merger. The game feels a bit bigger and more…professional in some ways, but it undeniably feels like an RedLynx and Trials game down to the super catchy catchy yet tacky theme music (“welcome to the future! man, machine…” great lyrics akin to those lines :)) and the not very good in-game music. The audio mix is superb though!