Tri­als Fu­sion

How RedL­ynx is weld­ing to­gether the most am­bi­tious Tri­als yet

EDGE - - GAMES - Pub­lisher Ubisoft De­vel­oper RedL­ynx For­mat 360, PC, PS4, Xbox One Ori­gin Fin­land Re­lease 2014

360, PC, PS4, Xbox One

The prob­lem with mak­ing some­thing pure is that chang­ing it makes people ner­vous. That’s some­thing of which RedL­ynx be­came in­tensely aware af­ter an­nounc­ing at E3 2013 that one of the ad­di­tions to Tri­als Fu­sion would be a trick sys­tem. The up­roar was im­me­di­ate: this ex­act­ing game of bal­ance, con­trol and ex­quis­ite physics was doomed to be­come a showy, score-chas­ing mo­tocross romp. But as cre­ative di­rec­tor Antti Ilves­suo ex­plains, that was never go­ing to be the case.

“People were wor­ried that we were ru­in­ing Tri­als,” he tells us. “But we’re the de­vel­oper; we know how to make this game. People should rest as­sured that we know what Tri­als is. We’re not break­ing any­thing.”

On the ev­i­dence of this first look at Fu­sion, he’s right. Tri­als is, first and fore­most, a re­mark­able physics model from which game de­sign spills out, and the freestyle mo­tocross (FMX) sys­tem is grounded in real-world physics. As be­fore, you use the left stick to shift your bal­ance and, with it, the po­si­tion of the bike. Now you can use the other stick to move a rider’s legs. Keep the bike level, push your legs out be­hind it and you’re Su­per­man.

“Tricks in other games are about but­ton com­bi­na­tions,” Ilves­suo says. “I haven’t seen this done in any other game, and I think this is the right way to do it. Ev­ery­thing’s done by physics, not by an­i­ma­tion [cy­cles]. It’s all unlocked, and it’s only your own skill that de­fines what you do.” For the most part, FMX is hived off from the core game in be­spoke events and skill games, but you can do tricks at any time, though the need for higher jumps will ad­versely im­pact rac­ing times.

Else­where, we find more new uses for old physics. The ad­di­tion of all-ter­rain ve­hi­cles whiffs of gim­mickry at first, but poses a stern chal­lenge to honed Tri­als mus­cle mem­ory. While tra­di­tional Tri­als bikes are, nat­u­rally, rear-wheel drive, the 4x4 na­ture of these ATVs means you lose speed if you land jumps on your back wheels. It’s a sub­tle yet fun­da­men­tal change to the way you play.

As is a new fo­cus on re­playa­bil­ity that fleshes out each of the ca­reer mode’s 40 races with a set of three chal­lenges. Some are skill based, per­haps ask­ing you to com­plete a num­ber of flips. Oth­ers in­volve find­ing se­crets squir­relled about lev­els. Oth­ers still trig­ger minigames that mimic the left­field player cre­ations made in Tri­als Evo­lu­tion’s level edi­tor (in Fu­sion, that edi­tor is re­fined and ex­panded, con­tain­ing over 5,000 ob­jects). We have a game of ten­nis against a grumpy pen­guin, for in­stance. But it’s not all played for laughs: fin­ish­ing some chal­lenges shuf­fles the level fur­ni­ture to pose a sterner test.

The sin­gle­player ca­reer fol­lows the stan­dard Tri­als tem­plate, and late-game lev­els put its sim­ple me­chan­ics to tax­ing use, with the lat­est it­er­a­tion of RedL­ynx’s In­ferno track prov­ing ev­ery bit as tough as you’d hope. There’s fur­ther chal­lenge in In­fi­nite mode, which spits out short, pro­ce­du­rally gen­er­ated lengths of neon track, the player given three lives to sur­vive as many sec­tions as pos­si­ble.

Much at­ten­tion is be­ing paid to how this sprawl­ing pack­age is pre­sented, too. The game is, like Evo­lu­tion, split into three strands – sin­gle­player, mul­ti­player, and UGC in Track Cen­tral – but a new XP sys­tem pow­ers a lev­el­ling path for each of them, with the sum giv­ing your over­all rank. A no­ti­fi­ca­tion cen­tre tells you if a friend has set a new course record or cre­ated a new track, as well as track­ing any of the new time-limited tour­na­ments in which you’re in­volved.

RedL­ynx has been busy, then – and its work­load has only been added to by this be­ing the first Tri­als game to be mul­ti­plat­form on day one. It has led to the stu­dio think­ing out­wards, de­vis­ing new ways to use its physics model. RedL­ynx is en­thralled by its player com­mu­nity, which cre­ated some 700,000 tracks in Evo­lu­tion, but it isn’t in its thrall. To be so would mean no FMX tricks, no ATVs, or any of the other lit­tle ad­di­tions that make this the most am­bi­tious Tri­als yet.

TOP Ilves­suo won’t be drawn on the res­o­lu­tion ques­tion, but Tri­als has never looked as good as it does on Xbox One. The game will, in the Tri­als tra­di­tion, run at a rock­solid 60fps on all plat­forms. RIGHT There’s plenty of va­ri­ety in Fu­sion, from sci-fi cities and fac­to­ries to burn­tor­ange sun­sets and frozen lakes. Each of the eight en­vi­ron­ments is its own co­he­sive space that’s four kilo­me­tres square

TOP Evo­lu­tion’s si­mul­ta­ne­ous mul­ti­player mode re­turns, though Fu­sion also builds on HD’s asyn­chro­nous ghost rac­ing with a set of new time-limited tour­na­ments. ABOVE En­vi­ron­men­tal Easter eggs take skill to dis­cover. Even Ilves­suo strug­gles to grab a crane af­ter bail­ing out at the peak of a jump, while ac­cess­ing a pen­guin’s lair in­volves inch­ing off a ledge on your back wheel. MAIN The up­roar over the trick sys­tem was mis­guided. RedL­ynx clearly loves its com­mu­nity of cre­ators, though, and has even hired some of them to work on Fu­sion’s track de­sign

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