Developer: RedLynx Publisher: Ubisoft Genre: Racing Platform: Xbox One, 360, PS3, PC
MAN, MACHINE, THE FUTURE.
Review by Gareth Smith
"Welcome to the future!", says the cheesy retro-style song that greets you to the main menu. Treated with a stunning backdrop of skyscrapers and futuristic drones, it's immediate that developer RedLynx' have tried to take the physics based racing series to new heights since Trials Evolution. The trials games have spiralled with each release, in terms of scale. What begun in a warehouse with Trials HD, as evolved into an outdoor world, filled with beautiful environments, crazier track designs, and death defying stunts. Trials Fusion continues the outdoor trend, and although it's not the leap it's predecessor was, a new setting, tweaks and a retail release makes it the biggest entry in the series yet.
The futuristic tone showcases a more vivid colour palette than before. Tracks are stunningly eye catchy, with neon lit tracks, gunmetal and breath-taking heights that overlook cities, snowy mountain tops and more. Scripted events also take place throughout the backdrops. Whether it's a building exploding, an aircraft flying by, or moving traffic. Not only do they provide some great eye candy, they can alter parts of the tracks course. For instance, a structure may tumble into the track, wreking the track and creating a new route. Moments like this add to the thrill, and provide a bit more depth to the races.
Those familiar with the trials series should pick up Fusion fairly quickly. The formula remains unchanged from past titles, which is no bad thing. It's extremely satisfying to handle, and perfectly balanced to require some skill. Leaning your rider in various directions is key to tackling the obstacles. You need to learn how your bike reacts to gravity, friction and momentum. One wrong fault can result in crashing, sending your rider bouncing in a ridicules rag-doll fashion. Thankfully, a simple button tap sends you back to the nearest checkpoint, which are all smartly placed throughout each track.
Career mode takes it slow and steady, gradually introducing you to more daring tracks. You begin by driving off ramps, to eventually bouncing along water spouts, performing loop-the-loops, and falling from great heights. As daring as it sounds, a well structured training ground, voiced by a lady named Cindy, helps you as the stages become more challenging.
One of the newest additions to the series is FMX Tricks. These allow you to pull off an array of crazy stunts whilst airborne. Rather than tapping or holding certain buttons, tricks are performed by simply moving the right analog stick in various directions. Pulling them off with a perfect landing racks up your score, and if your clever enough, you can combined tricks. It can seem fiddly at times though, and rather imprecise. There's occasions when my rider wouldn't perform the trick I intended, but when it worked, it felt satisfying and fun. The FMX tricks are best used on the tracks designed for them, allowing you to really show off. It may not be the main attraction to Fusion, but it's still a neat addition to the formula.
As you earn medals, you'll level up, unlocking more tracks, bikes and gear for your rider. For those who enjoy customization, there's a nice array of options to choose from. Whether it's using custom paint to change your bikes appearance, or dressing your rider up with new helmets, jackets or trousers. The options are nothing staggering, but there's still a substantial amount to unlock along the way.
Fusion is another thrilling addition to RedLynx's trials collection. Without tampering with the formula, Fusion does enough to make it feel fresh and distinct from the rest. The new futuristic world is beautiful, the new trick system is a welcoming addition, and the upgraded track editor is more accessible than before. Local only multiplayer is a bit of a downer, but online support is upon the horizon, along with plenty of new content.