Trials HD: Big Pack Review

Masochistic Feelgood

Trials HD: Big Pack Screenshot

HIGH A ton of new tracks giving great value for the money.

LOW The second-to-last jump on the "Greatest Hits" track. Argh.

WTF I'm not sure if I want more DLC, or to never play the game again.

The new DLC for last summer's surprise hit, Trials HD, is now available. Priced at 400 Microsoft Points ($5.00 ) the Big Pack add-on delivers three new Achievements, twelve new Medium tracks, nine new Hard tracks, two new Extreme tracks, twelve new mini-games, and five new tournaments. Any way you slice it, this is a pretty substantial amount of content.

Best described as a conceptual spin-off of the venerable NES classic Excitebike taken to an extremely hardcore level, Trials HD is a simple game: drive a dirtbike across tracks filled with insane obstacles and dizzying jumps to a finish line, and do it in a hurry. However, doing so is much easier said than done.

Although the difficulty level is insanely brutal and requires an absurd degree of technical precision, Trials HD's  gauntlet of seemingly-impossible challenges are hard to resist.  There's a sick sort of compulsion in trying to nail the landing off a ludicrous ramp a hundred times, or trying to climb near-vertical surfaces using rubber tires instead of pitons and carabiners. The Big Pack delivers more of what addicts like me crave.

In addition to  never-before-seen tracks comparable to the original game's, several courses feature new additions such as fans that generate strong gusts of air or levels that have altered gravity. One course is also dedicated to the Donkey mini-bike (driving through ventilation ducts is tougher than you'd think) and the new Extremes are sure to test the patience of anyone taking on the challenge.

With a notable level of craftsmanship and clear focus on its subject material, Trials HD is as addictive as the nastiest narcotic to the right kind of player, and the Big Pack will not disappoint those who need another hit. Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

Disclosures: This game was obtained via paid download and reviewed on the Xbox 360. Approximately 4 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the new content was completed. There are no multiplayer modes.

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game contains mild violence and mild blood. Since the game is solely about riding a dirt bike up hills and across gaps, I can't say that there is a lot to be concerned about EXCEPT that some of the wrecks are accompanied by some incredibly painful-looking and somewhat bloody detail. It wouldn't usually be of concern, but there were more than a few times that I actually winced. Parents should offer a little guidance, although to be perfectly honest, the game is going to be far too difficult for younger players in the first place.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing: You won't have any problems. There is no story and no dialogue, and there are no significant auditory cues whatsoever. It's all about the visuals here, so buy it without fear.