E3 2018: Trials: Rising is One of the Few Trials Where Failure is Fun

Trials: Rising is the newest title in the popular Trials series. Trials is naturally patterned after the real world sport of motorcycle trials and loosely bases its controls around physics. Based on a combination of its unique control scheme of using the analog stick to shift the biker’s weight forward or backwards, the implementation of physics in the controls and the sheer absurdity of the some of stunts required by some of the tracks, Trials: Rising is an extremely difficult game. Either that or I just suck at it. Chances are its a combination of both.

Trials: Rising is one of those games where the high challenge is an integral part of the experience. The courses that would be nothing but elaborate death traps in real life would be okay to just speed through in an easy game, but the sense of accomplishment comes from actually completing a course while pulling off the thumbstick balancing act, making Trials the Dark Souls (Editor’s Note: You just did that to annoy me, didn’t you) of motorcycle racing games. The challenge teeters between wanting to snap the controller in half and wanting to give it one more try, which is really the ideal spot for this type of game even if footage of my playing this game would be better viewed if it was set to the Benny Hill theme.

Trials: Rising has the player competing in elaborate racetracks across the world that look as though Rube Goldberg had a hand in designing them. The objective is to race to the end of the track as quickly as possible while getting as few faults as possible, as better times correspond with better medals. This is easier said than done, though I can proudly say that each subsequent attempt at a trial was significantly less terrible than the previous attempt. The primary goal of each trial is to finish as quickly as possible but there are other challenges to take on as well, like complete the course with less than ten faults or do three forward flips and three back flips. Trying to figure out the exact amount of force on the thumbstick can lead to some frustration, but the game is just forgiving enough where you can see the progress and improvement and want to keep trying to go forward.

A feature in Trials: Rising that is likely intended to be a bonding experience but will more likely end more friendships than New Super Mario Bros Wii’s co-op mode is the tandem bike. This is where two people can play the game co-operatively with one person controlling the front wheel and the other controlling the back. Communication is naturally key for this mode to be successful, and given that there aren’t exactly a huge amount of games with this type of co-op gameplay helps make Trials: Rising stand out. Because of the nature of the title, it wouldn’t be right to say the tandem bike is easy but things went much more smoothly than suspected based on the single player experience.

Trials: Rising is a difficult but enjoyable title, with the latter part being largely based on the former. Trying to figure out the right way to manipulate the thumbstick to shift the biker’s weight simulates trying to maintain one’s balance while trying to pull off these stunts on an actual bike. The difficulty of the game might seem greater than it would be if this was done on an actual bike, but the penalty for failure in the game isn’t death or paralysis so it has that going for it. Trials: Rising is slated for a February 2019 release for PC, PlayStation 4, Switch and Xbox One.