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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Trials Fusion

By on 12:19 PM

In today's age of broad design intended to reach the widest possible audience, games like Trials Fusion are a precious rarity. Its simple, yet uncompromisingly precise mechanics cater beautifully to staunch perfectionists. But for as technically demanding as it is, it still provides enough character, freedom, and rhythm to entertain on a moment-to-moment basis. Though some of its course designs err on the side of the sadistic, the pain melts away every time you nail one of the many colossal jumps.
Trials Fusion borrows elements of platforming and motocross, then injects a concentrated shot of highly believable physics. Each bike, and the one ATV, has a distinct weight to it, and you’ll feel the differences every time you feather the throttle. The lightweight, powerful Pit Viper will lurch right out from under you if you pin the accelerator from a stand-still, and the acrobatic Fox Bat tumbles through the air end over end at your slightest suggestion. Each input translates smoothly and accurately through your bike and rider, creating a rare sense of direct connection.The physics behind the riding implies a simulation, but the dystopia-tinged tracks look and play like something straight out of an arcade quarter muncher. You’ll ride over the backs ofblimps floating high above skyscrapers, barrel through overgrown jungle ruins, and skip lithely from one set of solar panels to the next. Despite the variety of climates and locales, there’s a real sense of place here, a sense further emphasized by the quips of the two AI announcers, whose well-delivered voice overs provide a darkly humorous context for why anyone would ride, repeatedly, into near-certain doom.
And oh is your doom ever certain. Fusion starts simple enough, with laid-back jumps comfortably separated by long, mellow ramps. By about midway through, sticking landings on the downslope of a jump and getting your rear wheel down first become minimum requirements, and the last two sets of tracks are on another level entirely. Intricate understanding of bunny-hopping, momentum, and weight distribution are needed on nearly every checkpoint. This can lead to either ecstatic celebration when you reach the next waypoint by the skin of your teeth, or crushing heartbreak when you wipe out inches shy of the finish line.It’s rare for any game to reward this level of comprehension and mastery.


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