Despite being around for almost twenty years now the Trials series has made very few changes over the years. Sequels like Trials Rising have typically only added more tracks, obstacles, and themes rather than new mechanics or skills. This dedication to its core formula is impressive since it keeps the game simple to learn no matter which edition you pick-up. Similarly, it is frustrating since it can be hard to have a need for a new game over simple DLC for an older game. It has been five years since a mainline Trials release, and three since the last spin-off, so that’s less of an issue than it initially appears.
The base gameplay of Trials Rising is basic on the surface, but beneath its simplistic controls is a complex physics engine requiring time, patience and skill to master. The game is built around three mechanics: throttle, brake and the ability to lean your rider forward or backward. It is this last mechanic that gives Trials Rising its depth. While on paper this may not seem like much but the lean of your rider is what will most determine your ability to complete an obstacle. More than that, it will
The main new additions to this game are a handful of bikes with different performance characteristics, and an expansive customization system. Sadly the customization system is hindered heavily by invasive loot boxes and micro-transactions. While it is true that these micro-transactions are entirely optional you will find that what is presented to you for free is a pale shadow of what you can get by spending money. Almost everything in the game can be earned with in-game currency, but the current rate of earning this is slow. The only place this impacts the game is in unlocking extra bikes. You will get three bikes through normal gameplay, as well as the two-player tandem bike (more on that in a moment). There are two additional bikes bought either using premium currency or the in-game currency. The in-game price is high enough that it will take quite some time to earn them, and the temptation to unlock them early for whatever advantages they confer is pretty high. Unless you’re a veteran, though, I would caution against this since until you get more skilled with the game’s physics you won’t be able to take advantage of the bikes properly.
With the exception of the loot boxes, there’s quite a bit going for Trials Rising. The new tracks are fun to play and play on that “just one more try” gamers are so familiar with. There’s also some variety to the gameplay with some tracks having objectives beyond just “complete the course”, and there’s also a training arena to help learn advanced techniques. The majority of races also will place you against ghosts from other players so that you can have a sense of competition, even if the results don’t actually matter. For gamers who really want to test their skill there is also the tandem bike which lets two players control one bike. If you thought
The core gameplay of Trials Rising is addictive and fun, and on that basis alone it is easy to recommend. However, that comes with a significant number of caveats. First, the game is hard. Much harder than you would think just by looking at it. It starts off easy enough, but it is not long before the difficulty curve ramps up and you’ll need to spend time practicing skills just to advance. Second, there are loots boxes. They are completely optional and only impact cosmetic options, but there is a decent emphasis on looking good since your ghost will show up in other people’s games. Third, the game’s performance is spotty at times. Based on reports I’ve seen the Nintendo Switch version is the worst in this regard (I have not played that version so I cannot confirm), but the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions both had a hard time maintaining 30 FPS
Trials Rising Review Final Thoughts:
Trials Rising is a straightforward continuation of the series, and although it only has a few new bells and whistles it is still very good at what it does. If you are a veteran Trials player and you don’t mind the inclusion of cosmetic microtransactions then it is easy to recommend this game. It’s exactly the rag-doll simulator that you remember, but also with new tracks and features to enjoy. There’s also an updated track editor with assets from a number of previous Trials games. I’m sure the community will crank out some devilish tracks with them. On the other hand, if you are new to the franchise you may want to rent this first, or perhaps track down a discounted copy of the previous game, Trials Fusion, to try that before taking the plunge.
Trials Rising on PS4
- "Just one more try" addictiveness.
- Tons of tracks to try, with community tracks as well.
- Excellent party game, either competitively or in co-op.
- More objective varieties than previous Trials games.
- Heavy handed with micro-transactions.
- Controller-throwing frustration.
- Performance issues.