GAME OF THE WEEK: 12 cert, Ubisoft, Xbox ****
The sequel to the popular Trials offers revamped visuals, some new gameplay and the ability to edit your own tracks.
Like its predecessor, the premise is simple. You have to get from one end of the course to another with as few crashes as possible. Of course, that’s way easier than it sounds, because getting there is fraught with all sorts of obstacles.
Trials Evolution has a bit of a learning curve. This will mean using your character’s face as a brake for the first 10 minutes or so as you overshoot landings and mistime jumps while trying to get to grips with your bike.
The controls are reasonably easy to master though – rev the engine, brake at appropriate moments, lean forwards and backwards to perform tricks and land after stunts – and it may just be your timing that requires the work.
You have to earn medals to unlock new tracks, and every once in a while you’ll be compelled to earn a new licence to progress. The licence tasks are frustrating at times because they require you to pick up new skills and master them to progress. And, quite rightly, they aren’t always that easy to nail on the first, second or even 10th attempt. But there’s a real sense of achievement when you do.
Environments range from the industrial to more nature- inspired tracks, with a variety of natural and constructed jumps and other obstacles to navigate. The tracks don’t always make sense – quite why you would be trying to cross a war-torn beach on a bike is not really clear – but they’re always fun to tackle, no matter how many times you have to restart.
Which is another good point for the game: there are plenty of checkpoints, so even a disastrous fall doesn’t need to mean the end of a round.
Developers also saw fit to include a new multiplayer element that allows you to compete against as many as four opponents online, and you can also access all the new tracks created by other players using the in-game editing facility.