IT IS THE YEAR 2019! Vietnam War 4 rages on, Turbo-Crank has hit the streets and Blood Dragons roam Communist jungle as they hunger to feast on all-American democratic flesh. With the greatest cyber-commando in history Rex Col missing and presumed to be in a not-alive state, it’s up to his children to save the day. For America. And with 125 cubic centimetres of scrambler action under them in a Trials game that is focused on telling a story in the cult classic universe of Far Cry: Blood Dragon.
If that sounds like insanity on two wheels, it’s because Trials of the Blood Dragon very much is a mental experiment in physics and anti-communism bullets. At its core, it’s classic Trials HD action mixed with plenty of experimentation and a visual style so retro that it feels weird to play this game outside of a 4:3 anamorphic ratio. It’s delightfully madcap stuff, but it also has its fair share of problems with some of the more random content that it generates along the way.
If you’ve never dislodged a controller from your flatscreen in a Trials game, the formula for those titles has always been somewhat similar. Players get a motorcycle, get thrown into a 2.5D environment and then get their chance to run across some levels inspired by ye olde classic Excite Bike. And fail over and over again as the laws of physics are broken in a manner that can only be accurately described in a Judas Priest song.
Trials Fusion has been the most recent game in Ubisoft’s series, with a huge amount of DLC thrown on top of it. Trials of the Blood Dragon however, is unusual for its choice to take that formula and focus on telling a story within. A tale filled with more 80s references than the cast of The Expendables trilogy, plenty of neon and more love for America than the wig which controls Donald Trump. It’s properly silly, stupid and terribly acted.
In other words, it’s brilliant at being awful on purpose.
Trials of the Blood Dragon is also a much slimmer offering. There’s only one bike to choose from, a set amount of missions and the bulk of extra content is confined towards filling a book up with digital stickers. The actual motorcycle sections are a joy to operate, fine-tuned and boasting that trademark polish that Trials Fusion perfected. There’s also a handful of sections with other vehicles, such as an RC car, mine cart and the chance to augment a crazy jump with a grappling hook or take out those filthy commies with a barrage of bullets.
But outside of the vehicles, Trials of the Blood Dragon drops the ball on the platforming sections. Thanks to controls that make the characters feel completely floaty and with jumps that feel like they were inspired by the worst leaps found in an old Castlevania game, the ebb and flow of the Trials formula crawls to a screeching halt. Thankfully, there aren’t too many of these missions, but you’ll dread playing them when they rear their ugly head.
That being said, I liked Trials of the Blood Dragon for what it was: An accessible take on the Trials franchise that developer RedLynx is having fun with, proving that the engine that powers this franchise is somewhat adaptive to new ideas and themes. It also makes me yearn more than ever for a Blood Dragon sequel, even if the whole product feels flawed thanks to a handful of missions that derail the otherwise superb fast-paced experience.
At the very least, Trials of the Blood Dragon has more personality than the rest of the entire series.
Last Updated: June 27, 2016