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.

Brad Gallaway

Brad Gallaway

Brad Gallaway has been gaming since the days when arcades were everywhere and the Atari 2600 was cutting edge. So, like... A while.

Currently, he's got about 42 minutes a night to play because adulting is a timesuck, but despite that, he's a happily married guy with two kids who both have better K/D ratios than he does.

Brad still loves Transformers, he's on Marvel Puzzle Quest when nobody at the office is looking, and his favorite game of all time is the first Mass Effect -- and he thought the trilogy's ending was Just Fine, Thanks.

Follow Brad on Twitter at @BradGallaway or contact him at bradgallaway a t gmail dot com
Brad Gallaway

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Trials 2: Second Edition from Steam is imo a totally different game than Trials HD on XBL:
I played the demo and disliked it, i played some time afterwards Trials HD at a friend and had fun doing so, tried again Trials 2 and still could not get along with it.
Trials HD felt much more polished.!!!

Spent hours with that. An old, but fantastic indie game, that did almost the same as Trials AND did work fine with keyboard.

Trent Dollarhyde
Trent Dollarhyde

Thank you so much for the quick response. It answered my question perfectly and I love the game 10x more now that I am playing it with my xbox controller. I liked it so much infact, I bought Trials HD and HD: Big Pack off XBL for $20.00 just now.

Can you say impulse or what!

Brad Gallaway
Brad Gallaway

Hey TD,

I’ve only played it on 360, but I will say that I can’t even *imagine* playing it on a keyboard… it’s so dependent on small adjustments and finesse that i’d say a controller is an absolute MUST.

I mean, it’s difficult regardless, but don’t handicap yourself right off the bat, eh? ; )


Trent Dollarhyde
Trent Dollarhyde

Hey Brad, I just purchased this game on the Steam Holiday sale (for 2.49 I might add!) and I hate the keyboard controls.

Is the game any easier with a controller? I just can’t seem to nail down the keys fast enough to perform a spring jump or pass the tutorial levels