Trials of the Blood Dragon is available for free on Xbox Live Games with Gold from 1st March to 31st March.
I love the Trials series of games. For me, they are the embodiment of stupid infuriating fun. I covered this in my Trials Fusion review (where I may have been a bit harsh on the Ubisoft servers). I haven’t played Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon so this was my first foray into the Blood Dragon Universe. The premise, the settings and the visuals of this world seem great. The gameplay however……..yeah.
This is a Trials game with a running storyline which intrigued me. Having not played Blood Dragon, they don’t do too much to explain what Blood Dragons are and what the story is with them at the start but a bit of common sense sorts that out. The game is set in 2019 during the 4th Vietnam War in an alternate future with 80’s action movie style over the topness and ridiculousness. You play as 2 cybernetic siblings who work as sort of secret agents using their biking, jetpacking, shooting and jumping skills to beat those commie assholes. The game switches up from the traditional trials biking to a 2D platformer without a lot of success in the latter. I’ll cover both parts separately as it really is 2 different games mashed into one.
The bike parts are great. A little on the easy side but still great. It’s Trials. They always get that part right. They add a couple of new things to the biking segments that weren’t in previous Trials titles such as shooting things to clear your path and using a grappling hook to get across wider gaps. The grappling hook takes a little bit of getting used to in regards timing so you aren’t just left hanging there like cum from Cameron Diaz’s ear.
The shooting can be a bit finicky as it’s all based on using the right stick to both aim and shoot (more on this later under the not bike section) but I liked the addition as shooting things changed the layout of the map and made things more interesting. There is also a level where you are drugged up driving the bike which I thought was great. There are other bike style levels where you don’t use bikes but they all have the same premise so I’d lump them in here too.
Here is where the problems start. The standard on foot platforming sections aren’t the worst but they are very basic and just seem cheaply done in comparison to the polished Trials biking sections. They are all about jumping and shooting and neither really works great. The shooting is based on the right stick for aiming and shooting and doesn’t always go anywhere near where you actually want to shoot. We’re talking Stormtroopers level of target practise here. This results in a quick death as the bad guys (who are all the exact same, they even joke about this in the story) have a great aim and if you don’t hit them before they get a shot off, you’re dead.
The worst part of this game was the levels where you use a jetpack. Remember the game Asteroids. It’s like that. Except you have a big fuckoff bomb attached to you which explodes when you make a slight change in direction. I don’t know why they added these in. The entire sidestory that included them was pointless as all fuck anyway.
The game looks great. The style they are going for is cheesy 80’s and they pull this off well. Lots of pinks and blues. It’s like Dumbo’s visions when pissed off his tits. Do elephants have tits? The music is also great. They got Powerglove to do the soundtrack. Powerglove do metal covers of videogame and cartoons music and I’ve actually been listening to them for years. Their Pokemon cover is a personal favorite. So definitely no complaints there.
This game has me really conflicted. I both liked it and disliked it. It can basically be summed up as bike = good, no bike = bad. Every time you go to a next level you pray that it’s a bike level and not one of the others shite. Overall I feel like the good outweighs the bad. It’s not a very long game either. You should be able to bust through it in a couple of hours. Of course you can retry it to try to get through the levels with no faults (good luck with that on the jetpack levels). Also I had no problem with the Ubisoft servers this time around either. All things considered, it entertained me for a couple of hours and it’s free right now so I say go for it, just don’t expect it to be a regular Trials game. It’s not. It’s an interesting experiment where some things worked and some things didn’t. I’ll give it 3 Meltzers out of 5.
Trials of the Blood Dragon was released on June 13, 2016 and was developed by RedLynx and published by Ubisoft.