Trials Evolution is a game about launching dirt bikes off sweet jumps, gunning for record-breaking times, and occasionally doing backflips. It's like a modern-day Excitebike.
Wait, that's not right. I'll start over.
Trials Evolution is a state-of-the-art asynchronous multiplayer experience, in which your best scores and those of your friends are in constant tension as you zip past one another on the leaderboards. Unless you're friends with Edge magazine's features editor, that is, whose sterling runs mostly make everyone else feel bad about themselves.
Argh! Messed up again. All right, this time I'll write a good lede. Check it out.
Trials Evolution is an advanced pain simulator, a clockwork mechanism designed to inflict maximum suffering on all those who dare to behold it.
Dammit. I just can't seem to get this right. There's one thing I can say for sure about Trials Evolution: it gets its hooks in deep. This is a game that is forever dangling greatness right in front of your nose, only to yank it away when you make the slightest error. No matter how many times you biff it, you always feel like you're inches away from the perfect run.
HARDER THAN IT SOUNDS Trials Evolution is forever dangling greatness right in front of your nose, only to yank it away when you make the slightest error.
The setup couldn't be simpler. As a masked dirt-bike rider assaulting a series of grueling courses, your only inputs are gas, brake, and lean. It's the last one that opens up a world of expert-level gameplay. Making it through each track isn't about speed as much as finesse. If you don't lean into a jump, you won't get the lateral boost you need to cross a gap. If you land with too much weight on your front tire, you'll lose speed, and if you land too far on your rear, you'll wipe out. Earning a good time means maintaining your momentum through every take-off and landing, with pinpoint acceleration and perfect balance throughout.
That probably doesn't sound very easy, but rest assured, mastering Trials is even harder than it sounds. "Tough but fair" is a description that people throw around willy-nilly, but in this case, it's apt. Bumbling your way to the end of a track, no matter how long it takes and how many times you crash, will earn you a bronze medal. A silver medal requires a respectable time and a fair number of faults. But gold medals — gold medals demand perfection. No faults. Blistering times. A saintly resistance to rage quitting.
When it all comes together, acing a course feels like reaching another level of consciousness. Trials requires you to focus on every inch of track, and to understand instinctively how each dip and rise can usher your rider toward the finish line. Even racing against your friends' ghosts — small gray dots representing their best runs — feels less like competition and more like a communal celebration. They seem to be urging you along, at least until you finally blow away their scores.
Trials Evolution is a triumph of pure gameplay. Easy to learn, nearly impossible to master, it will pay back whatever you're willing to invest in it — but not without shoving your face in the dirt a few times.
Whew! Made it to the end of the review. There were some rough spots, but overall I'd call it a silver-medal piece of criticism. Maybe if I try again, I can get the gold. . . .
GETTING AIR SLOWS YOU DOWN. KEEP YOUR WHEELS ON THE GROUND AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.