A few weeks back, someone on Twitter asked to hear from people who have “comfort games.” These are games you can go back to over and over, that you can count on to make you feel at home. For me, the answer is Ubisoft’s physics-based platforming motorcross game Trials, so I was excited when the publisher announced Trials Rising during its media briefing prior to the 2018 Electronic Entertainment Expo trade show.
After the announcement, I moved things around to ensure I could go hands on with Trials Rising, and the 30 minutes I spent with it (my gameplay is embedded in this story) confirmed that it is a return to Trials gameplay that I loved in Trials HD, Evolution, and Fusion. At its core, this is still the same game with the accurate physics model and the distinct bike characteristics that are both predictable and dynamic. It’s the same game where you feel your way through the tracks, and you may find yourself restarting the first major jump over and over until you can get that perfect start. It’s the same game with the wild sense of humor where bizarre and hilarious gags are always popping off in the background.
Getting back to all of that is important because the last game was Trials of the Blood Dragon, which was a weird platforming shooter. It wasn’t that good, and it didn’t play like Trials. Rising undoes that and makes a game that feels like the followup to Fusion.
Trials Rising is also still one of the toughest games around. Based on my experience with the Extreme difficulty track in the E3 demo, it should challenge most hardcore Trials fans while avoiding the sense that it is impossible to less skilled players. That’s something the series got better at with the later releases on console, and I hope it can continue to have a breadth of tracks that are appropriate for all skill levels.
For Rising, Ubisoft and RedLynx are focusing once again on surfacing community content and online multiplayer features. But the developer is also introducing fun new distractions like the tandem bike where two players must work together to guide a two-seat monstrosity through various courses. I like elements like this, but more than anything I just want new courses in a new Trials game so I can get my name back up on the top of my friends leaderboards.
This is what matters to me, and I’m so glad I’ll get another chance to do that.