Developer: RedLynx / Publisher: Ubisoft / Played On: Xbox 360 / Price: $4.99 / ESRB: Everyone 10+ [Mild Violence]
I played the crap out of Trials Evolution; I’m ever-adamant about expressing my love for it. And though it launched with dozens of tracks for you to race on by yourself and against your friends, developer RedLynx even tossed in a track creator that has produced some of the most spectacular community-made creations I’ve ever seen from a game… and I’ve played every LittleBigPlanet title and spent countless hours in Halo 3’s Forge mode.
And even after releasing all of that, RedLynx was apparently still not satisfied with the track count, as they’ve just released their first DLC Origin of Pain, that adds, you guessed it, more freaking tracks. So, the question is… is it worth five dollars in Microsoft Points?
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Paine Island, the new location for tracks included in Origin of Pain, is actually an entirely new hub at the main menu that’s filled with 24 new tracks, two new skill games and five new tournaments (separate and straight run-throughs of the 24 included tracks). Ranging from difficulties Beginner, Easy, Medium, Hard, and Extreme, these new tracks will run you through a true test of not only skill, but patience.
This is coming from the guy who has gold on all of the original tracks (except ‘Gigatrack’, of course), so trust me when I say that these tracks are deserving of the DLC’s title. So if you’re confident you know difficulty, go try to get platinum medals on the 3 new extreme tracks and get back to me.
All of the new tracks are varied in location, ranging from scenic Japanese Shogun temples, to blazed trail runs through hoops of fire, to carnivals, magic gateways, castles, foggy factories, and even crazy new environments like giant toy boxes, the Roman Coliseum, an attic, and a blank world that is sketched by a magic marker as you speed through it.
Again, RedLynx has very much defined itself as a creative bunch through its quirky, comical and extremely thought out level designs. Sure, you’re simply doing the same action in each: speeding down straightaways, struggling up difficult ramps, launching over massive gaps and balancing your bike to near-perfection – all while trying to score gold and platinum scores along the way – but it’s the aforementioned creative map design that keeps that repetition from feeling like… well, repetition.
Some levels feel a bit too familiar to those included in the original game (especially the darker ones that draw a similar night-time palette from the abandoned factory levels), but given that the range of locations is so wide in Origins of Pain, it’s difficult to paint them as a negative inclusion. It’s more levels, so what’s to complain about? Besides, levels like Toy Box are creative enough (and challenging enough) to make up the difference.
Skill games were awesome in Trials Evolution, and they’re awesome here too, in the form of Adrenaline Cannon and Uphill Struggle. The former has you launching out of a cannon to hit further and further targets. The closer you land to the center of the target, the more accurately you score. After three launches, your accuracy is displayed on the leaderboards against your friends. Uphill Struggle is similar to a skill game in Trials HD, where your focus is to continually cruise up ramps as far as you can go. The slopes grow continuously steeper, with off-putting obstacles appearing far more frequently as you climb. Both skill games are outrageous fun and hyper addictive, especially if you’ve got competitive friends. Skill games are one of the best parts of Trials Evolution because they’re quick, challenging, and leave you with the desire to play “just one more round”– it’s just too bad there aren’t more than two in this DLC, but I’ve got my fingers crossed to see more in the future.
In addition to more levels to play, RedLynx opted to add even more pieces to the game’s built-in track creator – over 100 pieces to be exact. It’s been clear since launch that the Trials community has succeeded in providing enough creative (not to mention free) DLC to sustain the game’s audience for a long time. Put simply, putting more tools in the hands of creative community level makers out there sure doesn’t hurt the value of Origin of Pain.
This DLC is essentially a bunch of extra tracks and skill games for you to ride and conquer – be it by your lonesome or against your friends.
It’s more Trials Evolution, and to anyone who enjoys this game, that’s without a doubt a good thing. Add in the fact that it only costs five bucks, and you’ve got yourself one heck of a deal. If you didn’t enjoy the game as much as you’d hoped the first time around, then you can probably let this one drive on by.
But if you’re a glutton for punishment, itching to play more Trials Evolution and have a spare five bucks in your pocket, there’s no reason to avoid experiencing the Origin of Pain.
+ Challenging and creative level design
+ Great value for the price
– Only two Skill Games included
9 / 10