Trials Evolution. Well, what can I say? It. Is. AMAZING.
I was really surprised that I enjoyed it as despite having the first one, Trials HD, on my Xbox 360 hard drive, I've never really played it. But this one? Oh. My. GOD.
It is a very addictive game, especially as you get into the harder levels, desperately trying to get a gold medal, but failing miserably (at least, that's me anyway!).
The tracks are awesome, and the graphics are surprisingly great, considering it is an XBL Arcade game.
Visually, it is much better than the first. Tracks are now much more aesthetically pleasing, with backgrounds that actually do things as you speed past. There's also the alternating camera angles - the tracks are still linear, there's no way you can just veer off the track and just go for a wee tour, but the tracks and now more, how could I put it, 3D? Like, you now go round corners, and although you don't have to physically go round the corner yourself (as the controls are still only for leaning forward and back) it FEELS like you are.
The shifting camera patterns are great, albeit a little unsettling at times. Whilst in the air, and you are half expecting to land one way, the camera angle shifts and you end up curving round a corner that you never even realised was there. It's still amazing, but can be a little annoying when you've done the entire track flawlessly only for that shift to mess with your perception and cause you to crash.
There are a lot of amazing levels, and they all have a variety of ways to mess with your head - causing you to punch walls, scream abuse at the TV screen, or just quit the game entirely with extreme rage and frustration.
One of those levels is "Mind Bender". It is a very Inception-esque style level, which, as you progress along the track, completely shifts the centre of gravity causing you to be pulled in a completely unexpected direction (well, at least on the first attempt!). Overall, it's not too difficult a track, but once you make one mistake, the frustration sets in, causing you to get worse and worse with each successive attempt.
Many of the levels are like Mind Bender, in the sense of them being generally quite easy looking. But there will be a few small areas that just make your entire playthrough go tits up, and your controller go hurling towards the TV.
I am definitely not very good at this game, purely because I'm very fidgety with these types of games. My legs go all stiff and jittery at every jump, and make me look like a demented giraffe. Granted, there have been a few levels of varying difficulty which I've flown through with little to no problems, but other levels, even if they are "Easy" are more difficult to me than anything else I've ever played. And it's always the should-be-simple parts that mess me up. Trying to do a simple bunny hop and flipping over and having to restart from checkpoint, and repeating the EXACT same motion 57 times in a row, only to be sitting here, drowning in a pool of my own blood from gripping the controller too hard and screaming abuse at my little driver on screen (okay, bit of an exaggeration haha!) It's so frustratingly addictive. And that's why I can't tear myself away from this game.
I've not even had a chance to play and of the player-made maps, since the already existing ones have hooked me in enough as it is, so you should feel priveleged that I've even managed to pull myself away just to write this review!
I've had a few shots on some of the Skill Games and they are also very addictive, especially S.P.H.E.R.E, where you are, as it suggests in the title, a giant sphere, racing towards the end of a very confusing and infuriatingly twisty difficult track. These are also a great part of Trials, and the even better part is, that you can make these Skill games yourself!
The Map Editor is a fantastic addition into Trials Evolution, allowing you to make tracks yourself and upload them to the network for other people to play (and as I've already mentioned, I've yet to even play any of them myself!). The Map Editor is amazing as it is actually the exact thing that the creators of Trials Evolution used themselves to create the maps already included when you purchase the game from XBLA.
Now, let's talk about SQUIRRELS.
Why, you ask? Squirrels are the collectable items included in Trials Evolution. They are creepy looking as hell, and are dotted around in hidden locations in some of the maps, and some will be awarded to you if you hang about long enough at the end of other maps. A few of them trigger/are triggered by/are located alongside cool little nods to other games and things you may recognise, such as a Portal companion cube, a big Mario display (and tube). Others are just sitting around in random locations, looking pretty damn creepy - there's one sitting in a hidden area on some bleachers, and mother of God, it is one perverted looking little squirrel. There are 20 in total to find, and finding them gets you the achievement "The Squirrels Have Eyes" which is obviously referencing "The Hills Have Eyes".
The multiplayer is also very addictive, and was actually the first part of this game I played (against my boyfriend, and believe me, I got a whooping!) It is a very good part of Trials Evolution, my only gripe is that it should be available on all maps right from the start - but yeah, overall this is a really good game, and for 1200 MS points, it's a steal.
If you're looking for a game to steal your soul, and every last second of your spare time, then this is it.
Hope you enjoyed my first review!