Trials HD Big Pack Review

   01/01/2010 at 16:47       Richard Horne       4 COMMENTS. - Score 5/5
 - Trials HD Big Pack, RedLynx, DLC, Motorbikes, Wheelies
Before the juggernaut (pun intended) that is Modern Warfare 2 came along, RedLynx's Trials HD on Xbox 360 was easily my game of the year. With its brilliantly designed levels and addictive just-one-more-go gameplay, it lasted far longer than most retail games do. And all of the aforementioned qualities combined with its bargain price-point meant that Trials HD really was the quintessential poster for boy for digital downloads and bucked the trend that suggested digital meant less. And so here we are some five months after its original release and the OCD has begun all over again as RedLynx has released its 'Big Pack" DLC for 400 of your Microsoft points.

To get the vital statistics out of the way early on, the 'Big Pack' includes 23 completely new tracks spread across Medium, Hard and Extreme difficulty levels. 12 new alternative takes on the previously included skill games. 5 new tournaments which include old and new tracks. Three new achievements worth a total of 50 gamer-points. And finally, for the level designers among you, 50 crazy new physics objects including cars, rocket turbines, gravity fields and fans that will blow your rider in any direction you choose.

RedLynx has fixed numerous bugs and removed all exploited times and scores from its high scoreboards. Though I have noticed that on some of the skill-based games, downloading the number one replay presents you with a failed run instead of the brilliance you were hoping to see.

With the original Trials HD blueprint so perfectly designed from the get-go, I'd have been perfectly content with simply more of the same. Some new levels, a splash of paint here and there and a few new objects would have satiated me completely and breathed new life back into the old dog. But RedLynx isn't one to rest on its laurels and simply go through the motions in its updates. Oh no. Instead, it's delivered a frustrating (the good kind) and rewarding update that takes what we already know and love about the game and turns it on its head.

In fact I'd like to make a comparison here, which at first will seem odd and have you scratching your head, but if you bear with me, it will make sense. RedLynx's Trials HD update reminds me a lot of World of Goo. See! Told you you'd have a WTF moment. Now let me explain why.

Throughout the course of 2d Boy's genius (also digital) release, you got to a point where you thought you'd seen all that the developer had to offer you. A point where you thought that the rest of the game would be a simple regurgitation of what you'd already experienced. But then unexpectedly and brilliantly, things were turned upside down and inside out, as the game went in directions you could never had predicted or imagined. Well in certain levels of Trials HD's 'Big Pack', RedLynx does exactly that.

The specifics I'm referring to are best experienced for yourself and not spoiled in advance, but I would like to draw attention to the fabulous monochromatic and low gravity space station levels. It's great when games give a wink and a nod to their inspirations and predecessors, and RedLynx's homage to games like Motocross Madness on the original GameBoy as well as Excitebike on the NES is gloriously realised.
Trials HD's biggest draw has always been the immense challenge it presents in its more difficult levels. I eventually managed to beat all tracks on the original except Inferno II which is a bastard I still can't master. And so with that in mind you'll be glad to know that the new tracks are just as devilish and difficult and will take some time to beat. In fact, I predict the vast majority of people will take one look at the new extreme levels before conceding defeat without even putting their hands on their virtual handlebars.

Already I've had countless moments where I've used more retries than I'd like to admit trying to get over one single obstacle before exclaiming "Have some of that!" in relief after eventually besting it. And that's what's so great about Trials HD. It punishes you more than most games with the challenge it offers, but the rewards for persevering and eventually succeeding are all the more gratifying.

There's not really a lot else to say about the 'Big Pack' other than that if you loved the original release, then at 400 points this is as essential a new year purchase as any. The fun in Trials HD comes from competing with your friends' times and high-scores, and while at the moment, the uptake has been slow compared to that of the original release - at least it has on my friends list - I'm confident that once I start banging on about how brilliant it is, that'll all change. With tons of new creative content and plenty to keep you playing until the early hours this is among the best DLC ever released for any game and I can't recommend it highly enough.

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