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Trials HD Review

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Developer: RedLynx Publisher: Microsoft
Release Date: August 12, 2009 Available On: Xbox 360

Look! What’s that up in the sky? A Motorcycle? A crazy motorcycle stunt rider with a death wish launching himself off of an exploding ramp? Actually, it’s both. So put up those training wheels, this isn’t your daddy’s motorcycle game. Nor is it your brother’s…or anyone else’s for that matter. To be perfectly honest, Trials HD is unlike any game I have played. Seeing as how I’ve been gaming for 17 years, that’s saying a pretty good deal.

Imagine a dirt bike with a rider that seems to think that death couldn’t possibly be coming to him in the near future, and a track crazier than the most complex Hot Wheels track you’ve ever seen. Now get that bike from point A to point B with exploding barrels and falling steel supports, without crushing your little daredevil (although, with the hilarious ragdoll physics in the game, crushing him just might be more fun). Sound hard? I’ll be the first to tell you that all the tracks after the medium difficulty setting are excruciatingly difficult, and will have you needing to take frequent “cool down” breaks before giving it another attempt.

Don’t let the level of difficulty scare you away though. Trials HD is also insanely addictive. Not only because of the undying need to tame the crazy track that keeps making you want to crush your controller into fairy dust, but also because some evil genius at RedLynx decided to put a running friend’s leaderboard at the top of the screen, which will keep you coming back for more soul-crushing attempts at perfectly completing the track just to brag to your friend that finished only .08 seconds slower than you. That said, I can sum up the gameplay in four words: outrageously frustrating, completely satisfying.

Trials HD really revs it up in the audio department. Every bike sounds like a finely tuned death machine, and every explosion seems spawned from a Micheal Bay film. The rider lets out a loud and clichéd “WOO HOO” as he plunges to what is more commonly known as sure instant death. It’s funny every time. What surprised me, however, was the music. It ranges from soft-ish rock to Children of Bodom-esque speed metal. Whoever RedLynx got to do the music for the game really knew how to match tunes with destruction.

Another thing you will notice about Trials HD is that it looks nothing like an arcade title. The graphics are beautifully drawn and rendered better than some full retail games. It looks nothing short of terrific, and had me impressed from the start. It’s not too dark, but not bright either. I guess you could say the lighting was brilliantly done. Easily one of the most beautiful games on the Xbox Live Arcade service.

With around 50 tracks in total, not to mention the infinite number of downloadable tracks, and the ability to create your own, there is plenty to do. There is also a multitude of mini games, each with their own challenges, and yes, they each have their own infernal running leaderboard to keep you just as addicted as you are with the main tracks. For 1200 Microsoft Points ($15 USD), you’re getting more than your money’s worth. True, there is no multiplayer in the traditional sense, but the leaderboards make you just as competitive with your friends as any other multi-player game online. There is a huge amount of really cool and imaginative user created tracks available for download, and you will be hard-pressed to run out of motorcycle-platform-y things to do. There’s even human bowling! And that, makes any game special.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 8.5
Creativity: 9.5
Replay Value/Game Length: 9
Final: 8.9 out of 10
Written by Evan Wilson Write a User Review