The End of the Road

Trials Evolution: Riders of Doom Screenshot

HIGH More Trials!

LOW The second-to-last Extreme track broke my spirit.

WTF Why does the whole thing skew towards a higher difficulty?

The Riders of Doom downloadable content (DLC) for Trials Evolution on Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) is available.This add-on offers 40 new tracks, ten new wacky minigames, new content for the track editing feature, and a brand-new bike called the Banshee—peppier than the Scorpion, but not quite as squirrely as the Phoenix.

Spending time extreme wheeling in Trials has been one of my favorite experiences this generation, easily capable of giving the glowing high of victory and the immense frustration of failure, each often within seconds of each other. Saying the game is difficult is an understatement, but the satisfaction of finally reaching the finish line is a real rush. It's clear that the developers also value that feeling, because in this DLC the difficulty is higher than ever.

True confession: every time new Trials content comes out, I steel myself for the controller-breaking level of frustration I’ll inevitably feel with the Extreme tracks. However, prior to Riders of Doom, there's never been more than a handful to deal with. This time, it's almost as though the entire DLC is set to Extreme.

While the first few courses were simple enough, it doesn't take long before they all start to feel tooth-crackingly taxing. These inclines and ramps are incredibly technical, often hinging on the player's ability to perform several split-second maneuvers in a row, on top of having a feather-light touch and the attention to micro detail of a brain surgeon.

As someone who’s quite experienced with Trials, I was well-prepared for what this content was asking from me. I know how to make the jumps that seem impossible, I know how to climb near-vertical surfaces, and I know when going slow is faster than going fast. Although I had a great time with most of the tracks (when I wasn't cursing the developers out loud) I wouldn't be surprised to hear that they’re too much for players who enjoy the mellower side of Trials.

Interestingly, Riders of Doom was the first time in the series when I felt the developers put sanity-saving checkpoints a little too far apart, and it had an amazing impact. I’ve completed every Trials track until now, but with some sections asking just a little too much, I lost motivation and left the last two Extremes unfinished. It was mildly devastating, but I always knew this day might come… and here it is.

I'm definitely not trying to scare anyone off—there are few developers out there who turn out the high level of quality that RedLynx does, and their work is sublime. That said, it's fair that potential players know what they're getting into before putting non-refundable spacebucks down. For those who love Trials and want a serious challenge, Trials Evolution: Riders of Doom is the right stuff. For those who already feel like they’re in over their heads, give this one a pass. Rating: 8.0 out of 10.

Disclosures: This game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the Xbox 360. Approximately four hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the new content was not completed.

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.

Brad Gallaway
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10 years ago

DLC to me is a unique thing. It is really just meant to add new levels, worlds, missions or characters and that sort of thing to extend the playing experience. In this case I think it adds challenge. There’s nothing wrong with that. Maybe they could have announced that this was on the difficult side and only for those wanting a real challenge, or maybe they did. But its no big deal really that its as hard as it is. Still glad for the series.