Trials Rising Hands-On Preview – More Bails, More Fun

More Trials is never a bad thing. The game’s announcement at E3 was one of my big highlights from the show, and after an hour of hands-on time with the game at Gamescom 2018 I have no doubt that Trials Rising is shaping up to be great. That said, those who have had their fix of the series may be underwhelmed to know that there’s not a lot of new additions coming with the new entry.

I played through a range of levels varying in difficulty during my time with the game, ranging from easy to extreme. Kicking off with easy to get back into gear with the physics-based controls, it didn’t take too long to get to grips with Trials once again and start pushing on to the harder levels. That said, the extreme level I played took over 200 resets to beat. While ludicrous, riding past that finish line after 15 minutes of trial and error was immensely satisfying.

Trials Rising feels as great as the series ever has, and the courses all offer up something fun and exciting in their own right. Each of the tracks I played through didn’t feel too far gone from levels that would have found a place in 2014’s Trials Fusion, but again, if you’re a fan of the franchise you’ll find the same fantastic gameplay and frustration-inducing courses in Rising. If you’ve been holding out for something more or particularly new, there’s not a lot to write home about.

One of the new additions to the game in the multiplayer space, though, is the introduction of a new motorbike that two players control simultaneously. That means you’ll be communicating and working together to beat the crazy tracks ahead of you, and if you both push forward or accelerate at the same time you’ll go a bit faster than you normally would on a single-person bike. This was great fun and I think it’ll add a fresh element to the multiplayer experience.

The other big new inclusion in Trials Rising is its three-course elimination mode, which pits you up against seven other players and has you battling for top spots. The first race will see the bottom four racers eliminated, while the second race will eliminate the bottom two, then culminating in a 1v1 on the final track for top honours.

You can do this mode all in one go or do tracks separately, with the latter throwing you back out to the menu after completing each race. I found the former to be more exciting as it feels like an event rather than allowing you to prep up before each race, though either way you go about it you’ll find a lot of fun in the new race type. I only played against AI in the hands-on I had, though I can see this mode being great to play online with others.

Customisation is a big deal in Trials Rising, too, with your rider now able to equip items on the top of their head Rocket League-style if you so wish (alongside the multitude of cosmetic items you can choose for your rider’s outfit). I ended up riding with a Shiba Inu on the top of my head by the time my preview was over, and it should add a lot of personality to the game — especially if you’re racing online fairly consistently.

Challenges are also included in tracks now, which can range from doing a certain amount of backflips to not failing too many times throughout the course. Again, I like these as they make the experience not just about getting from start to finish, but the changes aren’t big enough to really make Trials Rising a substantially different experience from the other games in the series.

To be fair, too much change might overdo it for a game like Trials, and my time with it was nothing short of great. As an avid player of the series, I had a wonderful time with it and finding my feet with the core gameplay took no time at all. I was a bit disappointed to not get any time with the Switch version (which was absent from the demo stations) and to learn that the closed beta will only be for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. That said, Trials fans should be excited — the new game is looking (and feeling) great.

Trials Rising launches February 12 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.