Having originated on the PC, it was a dear shame to many when RedLynx decided that Trials Evolution would release as an Xbox exclusive. Now, around a year later, we’ve got our PC version and it’s comes with some extras. Here’s our Trials Evolution Gold Edition Review.

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RedLynx have essentially carved out their own genre with the Trials series. I first encountered the balancing act of this gameplay in an online Flash game, a long time ago (when I say long, I seem to remember a friend first showing me in an IT class at school, so that’s ten years, at least). When I discovered Trials, though, it was taken to the next level — and Trials Evolution Gold Edition takes it even further.

The base game is essentially the same, you try and get your rider to the end of a level as quickly as you can, with as few faults as possible. The only big change in basic gameplay from the old Trials games on PC is input; the wonder of analog throttle control, granted by gamepad compatibility. My 360 gamepad was — as should be the case these days — instantly recognised by the game.

It’s all the stuff around it that makes the difference.

There’s still a fork of tracks that are set in the dimly lit warehouse of old, but a second too, where each level has its own varying landscapes, which are also interactive in parts. Things move about, sink in water, parts explode as you pass them. At one point I was even grabbed and crushed by a giant stone hand, which until I rode upon it appeared to be nothing more than just scenery.

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These changes are right in your face when you start playing, and instantly make the game look far more appealing and interesting. Meanwhile, the giant grabbing hand (and other similar situations) certainly keep things dynamic, and further increase the amount of improvement that’s possible by learning the levels. More powerful bikes unlock along the way too, they’re faster and can help with better times, but go easy on the throttle as those extra CCs sure make them a little more unwieldy — another interesting dynamic.

I also have to tip my hat to a particular level that’s all dark and shadowy. It looks like a simple design variant at first, but with the inclusion of a giant ‘Hotel’ sign, I soon noticed it was styled like the puzzle platformer, LIMBO. A small homage that shows RedLynx love games just as much as the rest of us. A little thing, but one of the kind that I personally love to see thrown into a game.

Trials Evolution Gold Edition feels much more of a complete game than it’s predecessors.

Other new stuff includes the need to attain licenses that are required to unlock future tracks, each one serving as a sort of progressive tutorial to the specific skills you may require in each band of levels. A medal system is also in place to limit your moving on in levels; you need a certain amount before you unlock the next section, with the gold, silver and bronze counting for three, two and one medal(s) respectively. It’s a nice addition, as it means you can jump around and improve times on certain tracks in order to progress — it basically makes it far less likely that you’ll be banging your head up against a wall trying to do a specific track, while requiring enough medals that it’s never too easy to continue on.

Customisation is something else we get now; bike colours can be chosen from a full colour-wheel, as can the colour of the rider’s clothing, and even the particular clothing that’s worn can be chosen — different helmets, clothing, footwear, and even a Dragon Age-esque suit of armour once you accrue enough of those strange Uplay point things (yes, Uplay is required to run this particular game, if that makes a difference to you).

TRials Evolution ski jump

If that little inclusion surprises you, then you’ll be even more happily amazed when you stumble upon the ‘circus’ levels. These are a kind of motorbike-based selection of mini-games that are included, breaking up the flow of just being as fast as possible. One asks you to balance atop a ball, another to travel as far as possible on a limited amount of gas, and one even sees your bike being swapped for a pair of skis. They’re all uniquely fun, and just add to the over-the-top, comical silliness that’s always been a part of the series.

Finally, you can gloat about your best runs in a far greater way than just moving up on a leaderboard. Replays can be viewed after playing a level, but you can also upload them straight to your YouTube channel at the press of a button. It was a little awkward to grant it access to my account, but once setup I sometimes found it difficult  to not press the upload button every time I felt I’d done good.

Oh, and if you’ve ever been a fan of the ‘CKY’ videos (CKY2K being one of the most hilarious things I’d ever seen at the time it came out, which perhaps demonstrates my particular sense of humour), you’ll no doubt enjoy the inclusion of voice-overs from the likes of the infamous Rake Yohn.

It’s certainly the best Trials yet.

All of the above leaves Trials Evolution Gold Edition feeling much more of a complete game than it’s predecessors. That’s not me trying to knock the old Trials games, I loved them to bits, but they certainly felt a little more like a casual, time-waster — where here everything feels much more fleshed out.

trials evolution editorIt’s also a pretty good PC version, with appropriate keyboard support alongside the gamepad option — and a decent amount of graphical settings and such within the options menu itself. I did run into a few framerate issues on certain levels, something that a friend I spoke to who was also using an AMD card was also experiencing. After lowering the aforementioned  graphical settings, neither of us saw an improvement. It was rare enough to not really impede gameplay, but is a shame after the time they’ve had to get this version right since the game landed on Xbox last April. We can, however, hope that a patch from RedLynx, or a driver update from AMD fixes it soon.

That said, this minor issue doesn’t change how much I love this game in the slightest. As somebody who’s always enjoyed the Trials gameplay, I’m left more than satisfied with what’s in this one. It’s actually a whole lot more than I expected; having not played it on the Xbox before and waiting a year for the PC version, I’d have been happy with far less than what I got — and the included level editor — and Excitebike-like multiplayer mode — should hopefully keep things fresh long after I’ve mastered the tracks that are included. The price isn’t bad either.

If it wasn’t for the occasional framerate issues, I’d have given Trials Evolution Gold Edition full marks. As it stands, I’ll dock half a point to not be seen as too forgiving — but I’ll still say it’s one of those games you should probably (most definitely) pick up when you’ve got the chance.

Score: 4.5/5