Trials Rising Hands-On: As Fun as Ever … if You Have a Proper Analog Trigger



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Trials looks set to again on PS4 and Xbox One, but bring a Pro Controller on Switch.

By Ryan McCaffrey

Let 's get the best part out of the way first: Trials Rising, the latest in the delightfully sadistic, physics – fueled motorcycle obstacle course racer, is coming to the Nintendo Switch for the first time. That in and of itself is actually good; Trials on the go, yay! (Side note: the mobile version of the series, Trials Frontier, is surprisingly from a gameplay perspective.) But playing it with the JoyCon in multiple configurations – first with the JoyCon Grip and then using each JoyCon as its own controller in two- player mode – is far from the ideal Trials experience. Trials are at best when you can trigger moderate your gas pedal; the Switch just can't effectively as the DualShock 4 or Xbox One controllers can.

And so, after 45 minutes of hands-on time with the Switch version, I moved over to PS4 (Xbox One wasn't available at this preview event). Trials Rising kindly offers a tutorial on general bike handling – including key concepts like leaning, but does not force a series of veterans to endure them. The initial tracks are mercifully easy, slowly leaning up in length, complexity, and difficulty before capping off with a regional Stadium Event series of races. This repeats on various continents of in-game world maps.

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Yes, two of you ride the same twin-twin dirtbike, each with your own controls.

As ever, a single button can reset your checkpoint or even the entire race if you screw up (and you will!), And the ghosts of folks on your friends list show up alongside you as you race. But one of Rising's most new twists are the same-screen two-player cooperative Tandem Mode. Yes, two of you ride the same twin-twin dirtbike, each with your own controls. You’ll need to work together to shift your weight in the most expedient ways possible; when you're mind-bent, you can get a speed bonus for having both of you on the gas at the same time. My partner and I – a Ubisoft rep you've never met – struggled at first, predictably. He wanted to do sick flips off every jump, and I wanted to keep it simple for maximum efficiency and safety. For a bit, he's pulling back for a flip while I'm lean forward, and the course has hit the ground and eat it. Eventually we agreed on a "no flips" rule and then had a blast, tearing through courses in a way that was even more rewarding than doing so solo. This is a great new franchise franchise.

Elsewhere, Trials' minigames return, highlighted as usual, as you can drive off of the motorcycle. Here, you ride a burning bike onto an explosive barrel, and then your goal is to keep him flying as far as possible, using airborne controls to land more combustibly placed farther and farther apart down the field.

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It's good to have more crazy Trials to come back into our lives.

Though I prefer racing the ghosts of my friends so I can see exactly how they beat me and learn to get better, actual, live, real-time multiplayer is here too. You can set up multi-race events, with each race, from a random batch of three. It’s a good time, but bring some friendly trash talk to spice it up.

Other features, like the latest version of the robust track editor that the Trials games have used to build insane stuff in, are here as well. It feels like a fully featured package. All told, Trials Rising looks like it won't do a better job on new players than its predecessors, while there are still plenty of challenges and creativity on tap for the Trials faithful. The best way to go to your home console or PC experience, but regardless, it's good to have more crazy Trials come back into our lives.

Ryan McCaffrey is IGN’s Executive Editor of Previews. Follow him on Twitter at @DMC_Ryan, catch him on Unlocked, and drop him ship Taylor Ham sandwiches from New Jersey whenever possible.

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