Remember when you just won cool gear for your character when you did well? Pepperidge Farm remembers.
Trials Rising is back. It’s the 5th game in a long-standing series of physics-based, motorcycle riding action. Although the new entry itself is rather decent, Ubisoft decided to be Ubisoft and find a way to ruin the fun. They added the basic bitch of microtransactions, loot crates, to the mix, and they don’t gel well. And they are supposted to give you cosmetic upgrades only, but the upgrades are garbage. Rewards are also few and far between, with the majority of upgrades being stickers, the least interesting cosmetic aspect. And then you can get some new gear for your rider and bike but you can also get friggin DUPLICATES. Got the same tires twice? Too bad, you can re-sell the tires for a currency that is totally worthless towards the cost of another crate. It’s shameful at best. Too bad.
But wait, there’s more!
Now, watch this and look at the stunning lack of actual features after opening so many boxes. The customization system in Trials Rising is absolute garbage.
Sadly, one person on our YouTube tried to defend this. You can help by going to the page and upvoting the video.
The Trials series of video games are physics based motorcycle stunt/racing games. Trials Rising is the fourth mainline game in the main series, (not including the original browser games). It was developed by Red Lynx and published by Ubisoft Kiev. It also came after 5 years since the last entry, so it is easy to say that it is “long-awaited”. In these games, you ride a motorcycle across some larger-than life racing tracks. The challenge is in making sure you balance your bike properly, along with the throttle, and some complex maneuvers to manage some of the tricks. It features not only a slew of mind bending tracks, but a very robust track editing system. One that allowing users to make complex tracks of their own to be played and shared. This keeps the content flowing even when you’ve finished all the tracks that came with the game. Or, likely before that, because the level of difficulty can get insane later on.
This review is for the Nintendo Switch version of the game. Its portability will factor into the rating.
So this game has a moderate downgrade for being on the Nintendo Switch. To date however, I’ve yet to play it in docked mode. That’s right, I’ve been playing this game on the go at all times. And the graphics look pretty decent on that small screen. Which is not saying much, but there are some levels in the game where they really go overboard with the visuals and they look great. At the same time, there are always a few assets that look low-res or jaggy. The rider doesn’t look that great either. Still, its nice to see them take location into consideration. Every stage of the races are based on where on Earth they take place, taking you across many different cities and continents. So, main takeaway is that the graphics are not technically brilliant on the Switch, but some stylistic choices in some levels look fantastic.
Let the record show that this is the first time the story section of our reviews have been renamed to include immersion. I’m sick of having to explain what games win in this category if they don’t have any plot.
The “plot” of this game, so to speak, is actually more cohesive than older titles, as it actually contextualizes what you are doing. You are competing in the Trials worldwide championship. This amplifies the asynchonous multi-player aspect of the game, where you get ranked against other players worldwide. This is also the first game to have an in-depth tutorial that you can revisit to learn how to do some of the more difficult maneuvers.
“I am very grateful that they really give you the time to learn to pull off some very difficult jumps like performing a bunny hop or landing on an incline.”
Unfortunately, the progress of the game, although smooth at first, eventually grinds to a screeching halt. You see, you play several trials, and you can get a bronze, silver, or gold medal for your final time. Each track also has a “contract” for you to fulfill. This is basically a challenge like “do 6 backflips” or “finish with less than 5 faults”. It’s daunting at first until you realize you can do them separately.
Still, the supercross championships really get tiresome. In order to unlock more tracks, you either have to complete these, or go back to old tracks and grind out experience to unlock gated content. The game stops dead once you have to partake in a championship where you have to win 3 consecutive times. Not cool, needs to be patched out. This is Trials, having a perfect run 3 times straight is a big ask, and it isn’t fun.
Still, it’s always hilarious to see your driver die horrendously at the end of very track.
The delight I had once I heard the soundtrack was jaw-dropping. For the first time ever, Trials has a licensed OST! Now, don’t knock licensed music in a game, sometimes a great playlist can really help a game in place of original music. This game chooses to hit you with some old school music, the kind that gives me Crazy Taxi vibes. Old school punk, old school hip hop, old school metal, and just a touch of EDM from the early New Zeroes. It is guaranteed to please a lot of older-aged millenials. Have a listen if you don’t believe me. No reason to talk about the rest of the audio. There is no voice acting, the bike sounds like a bike, the props sound like props.
The one major change from this game and the last one is actually the removal of a feature. In Trials Fusion, you could perform a trick by moving the right thumbstick while in the air. Its not in this game, but it is kind of unnecessary. The challenge is big enough and the contracts keep everything exciting. Other than that, this is a game that can be very addicting, and very fun. That is, if you are okay with the kind of gameplay where you might have to replay a level many times to get a better time.
Or, eventually you will find yourself on attempt 86 of one particular jump. Simplicity is the look of the game, but you will be surprised as to how in-depth the controls can get later on. That’s all there is to it. You don’t have to be a fan of racing games or motorcycle games to enjoy this title. It’s about overcoming unique challenges, not so much the racing, even though that is present.
I first played this game while on a Bus ride from Providence to New York city, roughly a 4 hour nonstop trip. After reading for a bit, I eventually broke out the Switch and started playing. The next thing I noticed was when the bus got to NYC and started to slow down. I was absolutely enraptured by the game. The surprise soundtrack, the layout of the game, the excitement of playing a Trials game on a portable console. They all just came together perfectly and I had a great time. The only problem I had is that there are loot boxes to unlock custom appearance, but they are sadly abysmal. However, you can easily ignore them. When you finally do get stuck on a level, you can just as easily jump onto the user content section. Then you can play some amazing tracks there instead.
This is the kind of game the Switch needs. By and large, Trials Rising is already a great entry in the series. Having handheld access to play it on long bus rides or simply waiting in general can really enhance your day. You can pick this title up for any console you want, obviously. Just note, if you wanna save some money, the physical copies cost way more than the digital ones. Gold Edition copies that feature the season pass are the only hard copies of the game, usually for $40. Or you can just spend $25 digitally on the base game and then get the season pass later if you really like it. Which I definitely recommend if you’re new to this series.
January is normally the dumping ground for bad stuff. Bad movies, bad games, bad manners. Fortunately for us, several (potentially) great cames will be coming out. We have New Super Mario Bros Deluxe, Ace Combat 7, the Resident Evil 2 remake, the second epsiode of Life is Strange 2, and……. I don’t know. I think that’s it. Either way, it seems the free games of January 2018 are….. meh. Have a look at the mediocrity of it all.
Xbox Live Gold
Never Alone – An eskimo girl and a fox do some things. A smart 2D scroller. Celeste – Okay, so this game isn’t “Just Okay”, its actually an award winner. So it’s probably good. WRC6 FIA World Rally Championship – If you’re a fan of dirt track/rally racing types, now is your time to shine with this fun indie racing hit. Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light – No, this isn’t a REAL Tomb Raider game. It’s an isometric shooter starring the titular character and some other guy I guess. Far Cry 2 – This one is tough with an absolutely unforgiving saving system. If you die and don’t have a buddy, prepare to start the entire mission over.
Xbox Game Pass
Life is Strange Complete Season, Life is Strange Before the Storm, Life is Strange 2 Episode 1, Ark: Survival Evolved, Farming Simulator 17, Absolver, Just Cause 3, Aftercharge.
Steep – This is a huge snowy mountain sandbox games for those who enjoy Snowboard, Skiing, Paragliding, and Wingsuit. It was very hard to pull off a single trick.
Portal Knights – It’s like Minecraft, but it’s also nothing like Minecraft.
Zone of the Enders HD Collection – A air combat game where you pilot big mecha. Fast paced action and a lot of jetpacking make this oldie pretty good. (PS3)
Super Mutant Alien Assault – A hardcore platformer to the likes of N++ and Super Meat Boy. (PS3)
Warframe: A free to play shooter game, but there’s a Booster Pack available for free.
You don’t actually need to be a hardcore gamer (or a hard mode gamer) to enjoy Super Mario Party. In fact, the level of skills you have may only affect some minigames, but even then, the board can still f*ck you over. But to play Super Mario Party, all you gotta do is hand off the controller and let them do a practice match before the real deal. Who did I play the game with when I found this out. It’s here in the video.
Christmas time is approaching us yet again. Many have commented that the season seems to be approaching faster than usual. But there are two good reasons for that. One, my colleagues work in reatail so of course we get beat in the ass on it. But more importantly, with so many black friday, pre-black friday, cyber monday, and holiday sales, the time just seems shorter than ever, with good deals still abound. On top of all the sales that are inevitable, the big consoles are more than happy to give you some freebies.
Xbox Live Gold
Q.U.B.E. 2 – It’s portal but you move cubes around. Never Alone – A kid and a wolf go on a great adventure. Dragon Age 2 – It’s Dragon Age, but you’re just some rich kid who wants his house back. Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction – Off, this game is an old actioner.
Soma – A horror game where the scariest part is the looming existentialism. Onrush – A high-style, balls to the wall arcade racer. Steredenn – A considerably chaotic space shooter with an 8-bit color scheme. Steinsgate – Wait, this was a game BEFORE it became an anime? Iconoclasts – Oh look, another 8-bit game, but it’s an action scroller this time. Papers, Please – A game where you serve as border control but don’t have any tear gas.
Adventures of Lolo
You got a lot of good ones here. QUBE is a great puzzler if you’re a fan. You have two fantastic 8bit games on PS4, and and anime game to boot. Dragon Age 2 wasn’t received well critically, mainly because it’s a very focused game that takes place in one city instead of a sprawling adventure. Papers Please is a big indie favorite with tough moral dilemmas. The real show stopper here is SOMA, the horror game. It was originally released on steam, and a mod was made to remove the “combat” sections where you have to hide from monsters. It was called “wuss mode”. This was officially added into the Xbox One and PS4 releases as “peaceful mode”. Trust me when I say, this game isn’t less scary just because you aren’t being chased by monsters. The dark depths of the mind that this game takes you to can be challenging. It often deals with themes that are very hard to think about, circled around existence, death, and what comes after. Do not miss it. I hate most horror games, but it’s an absolute winner.
Grid Autosport is a game originally released back in 2014 and is one of the many games finding itself ported onto the Switch. This will be the first serious racing sim game to grace the console. Grid Autosport isn’t exactly Forza material but it does have a lot of racing types from a wide range or racing disciplines from V8 Supercars to Formula A. It features 22 racing locations from all around the world. These include a lot of real-world tracks, a couple of fictitious tacks, and several street racing setups. There’s 103 cars total, but its yet to be announced if there will be more additions for the Switch version. They should. After all, it’s been enough time, you figure they could add in at least a couple of bonuses while they were porting it, right? Either way, as more hardcore racing simulator is severly need on the Switch platform, and hopefully Grid Autosport will be enough to fill that empty space Here’s the trailer.
With Grid Autosport announced for Nintendo Switch, we can hopefully look forward to even more racing games to fill up the empty desert that is its racing catalog. Last year we got Gear.Club Unlimited, and now a sequel is coming out in a matter of days. This new iteration of the formerly mobile phone racer comes with a new focus of 3 racing types. That’s asphalt, icy, and dirt. It is definitely far more on the side of being an arcade game, but a decent arcade game nonetheless. Especially since it features rewinding. That feature is almost an absolute must in modern racing games. In an old age where the moment you make one mistake and lose the entire race, new games decided that they will help you forgo this trouble with rewinding. It’s not going to guarantee you a win every time, but it helps to keep you from a bad losing streak. GCU2 will feature four player same screen co-op, a rarity in this age of games. Here’s the trailer as well.
Hooowooooowwwww! How about that. Some good racing games for the Switch! Gear.Club Unlimited 2 is out RIGHT NOW for full retail @ $59.99 on digital, meanwhile the physical release is surprisingly cheaper at $49.99. Meanwhile, Grid Autosport has a tentative “Coming 2019” release as of right now and will likely be the same price.