Wednesday, September 3, 2014

"Waiting on Destiny..." pt. 1 - Trials Fusion

It's less than a week now, that Bungie's ultra-hyped Destiny will arrive. 

Many have been counting the days, and we're down to five... and a bit. And maybe it's just me, but those last few days before an eagerly awaited release are the absolute hardest to wait through (there's a small phonetic pun here nobody will appreciate, but I know it and I am awesome). 

So... what do you do? I mean, apart from work, taking care of the family, your pets (animal or otherwise), cleaning up your room or flat, or generally doing something useful with your life instead of wasting it on video games... 
What do you do? Yes, you could explore Destiny's Planets with that cute little, Google Maps powered Destiny Planet View (which always manages to crash my Firefox, but runs fine on Chrome, for some reason), but... what do you PLAY?

A looming big release might have your fingers itching, but do you really want to invest in another big game (I'm looking at you, "Diablo 3 - Reaper of Souls - Ultimate Evil Edition" )? Despite the fact, that you might either leave a quite expensive game to collect dust on your shelf when your Destiny arrives, or become so engrossed in it, that in four weeks you'll wake up in the morning, thinking about your new legendary dagger and those Greater Rifts, and wondering if you ever even get to get on with your Destiny...? 

So, I have a two suggestions, one right Here, the second right There (via the link): two smaller games, at first glance shorter games, with less of a price tag, but just as much potential to keep your mind off of those insufferably long, final days until your Guardian can... save humanity. Or something. Definitely something noble and worthwhile. 

Trials Fusion

People familiar with the Trials series will know what I mean, when I say that rarely has there been a game that could be as skillfully gratifying - and frustrating - as Trials. 

What is Trails? Originating in real life, Trials are ridiculously strange and difficult obstacle courses to be traversed with your bike - be that mountain or motocross - by equally ridiculously skilled drivers. Seriously, seeing some of these people blithely violate all common laws of physics is a rare treat. The Trials-series brought that treat to the gaming world, and it has been going strong ever since. 

The latest iteration, Trials Fusion, also made its way onto next-gen consoles, and the upgraded graphics and smooth frame rates are a joy - even when its possibly surprising learning curve and difficulty might leave you a bit frustrated, mostly right at the start, and towards the end. Trials starts relatively easy, more as a flowing racing game of motocross, and once you get a hang of the controls (which is not as easy as it might seem, but it's really worth it to grit it out), and how leaning and landing correctly are really essential, you will be gleefully racing to beat your friends' scores in no time, or compete in online Tournaments that task you with finishing three courses in a row as quickly and cleanly as you can. 

Trials does get progressively more difficult, however, until a point may arrive (it did for me at the second "Extreme Difficulty" track), where after fruitless 30 minutes and 250 hopeless retries, you start thinking about visiting something "extreme" on the people that made these tracks, and, despite the frustration, still managed to make you want to try again. Because eventually you will get to tracks so cunningly difficult, you will have to bring all your skills, learn some new ones, and just hope you'll get to the end - which is an achievement by itself, and rarely have I felt more satisfied than when finally finishing a course I never thought I possibly could. 

The tracks are also not as obvious as a first time run might make them look - there's lots of hidden paths, hidden features, bonus levels and other stuff to find. To spice things up, tracks also come with specific challenges, and those are mostly not of the "easy" variety. But, just as the game itself, once you go for one, you will feel a very strong need to finish it - no matter how impossible your success might seem, or how embarrassing reaching it might have been.

Trials Fusion also introduced aerial acrobatics, but to be quite honest, those tracks are far less intriguing than the general Trials tracks - of which there are quite a lot, both from the game, the two-of-six DLCs that have already been released (and those are a good reason to get back on your bike for all you veterans), and the by now over 20.000 user-generated tracks made with Fusion's Track Editor. 

All in all, Trials Fusion, with it's Season Pass, is not only a refreshingly welcome change of pace from shooting things (although it should be mentioned, that at the end of each track, the rider is subjected to a crash and/or horrible death), but also a great investment for some short-lived fun that may just take over your life. Until your "Destiny" hits, that is. 

Yet, I would be amiss in not issuing a few warnings: 

First, since every DLC comes with new elements for the track editor, to be able to play those tracks, you need the DLC. Like, BUY the DLC, which is not the nice way to go about these things.
Second, and this can be a bummer, Fusion is not only a game you will not quite enjoy as you'd might think playing it on your PS Vita via Remote Play (no analog triggers), but touching the front touch-screen in anyway whatsoever will restart the whole track. It's an issue that has been lamented since Fusion's launch in February 2014, but it's still present - and breathtakingly annoying.
Third, unless you're really into beating your friends' scores and times, I would advise you to turn off their ghost images in the options menu. Otherwise you might find yourself constantly pressured by little icons on the screen showing you how much better your buddies where, and possibly miss out on much of the fun that comes from simply enjoying the intricately crafted tracks and their many hidden features. 
And finally... not even mentioning the most horrible Title Song, ever ("Welcome to the Future! Man! Machine! The Future!"), this is one game, where you might want to play your own music, too. Unless you have a PS4, that is... (Shame on you, Sony! Shame on you!) 

For a look at stylish Cold-War Stealth-Action Game "CounterSpy", visit the second part of this mini-series right Here! (No, you click on the "Here". The one right there...)

I hoped you enjoyed what you read, and watching my (mostly embarrassing) gameplay (as always, please watch in HD). And if you want to show your support, why not use one of the links to Amazon UK before you want to buy anything there? I'd sure appreciate it.

... Or, I guess, you could tell me how awesome this was in a comment, but... well. You know.

For all your Playstation or Xbox or PC Gaming needs, especially the European needs, head over to Amazon UK - best deals in Europe (mostly). For TV or Movie Streaming needs, as well. Yes, I do buy there myself. Exclusively. Unless I find a better deal, elsewhere...   

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