So I got screwed a little bit by this game. Trials of the Blood Dragon was on sale back in February for $5 and I love me some Trials so I couldn't help myself and I plunked a fiver down. I never had a chance to get around to playing it and then along comes March and it's free on Games with Gold. Sonofa.....well I am glad I didn't pay more than $5 or I would have really been pissed. I am pretty bored by Destiny at the moment so I needed something else. As I said before I love me some Trials so I decided to kickstart it!
If you are familiar with any of the Trials games you may think you know what you are getting into here. If you are familiar with Far Cry:Blood Dragon you may also think you know what you are getting into. After all of that if you are imagining a little chocolate in my peanut butter you're close.
The problem is Trials of the Blood Dragon is a bit of the cheap chocolate peanut butter not the good name brand stuff. I'll get to why in a bit but lets go through what this iteration of Trials is first. You play as two siblings who are cyberneticly enhanced (like their father was) who were recruited by the US Armed Forces to fight against the commies in the 4th Vietnam war. The commies have somehow been able to not only capture blood dragons, but tame them and control them. The dirty reds are using the blood dragons to control the world and the last bastion of freedom is AMERICA and AMERICA is finally taking the fight to them!
Trials of the Blood Dragon starts off like every Trials game...on a motorbike which feels so good! The 80's atmosphere and Blood Dragon weirdness only add to the craziness of trying to keep that goddamn bike the right way around! I had a smile on my face right away as this was the Trials I love.
Let me explain something about me and the Trials games on the whole. As soon as it gets to the hard levels and you have to bunny hop and do what those crazy trials riders actually do, I quit in a rage and don't play them again. I take a breath, put the controller down before I throw it across the room and that is where the game ends for me. The good news here is there isn't the same kind of progression in Blood Dragon. The bad news is RedLynx found a new way to frustrate the ever loving shit out of me.
In the third level you actually get off the bike and while it provides an interesting mechanic, getting off the bike means everything I love about Trials stops. Stops dead in it's tracks. Getting off the bike turns a great motorcycle physics game into a middling platformer. Your character gets a gun in some levels and in the most frustrating levels you get a jet pack. In each of these levels the game still acts like Trials but it loses the magic that makes the trials games great.
The whole 80's vibe is pervasive throughout with these weird live action flashes and at first it is amusing but after a few hours, these flashes and colored static become more annoying than anything else. They make sense when taken into the context of the bonkers story but were distracting as they were constant in all the cut scenes and menus.
After each level you are given a grade based on points. The points are based off of how quickly you got through the level and how many faults you have. The longer you take and the more faults, the lower the points. I ran out of time on a couple levels and maxed out the number of faults. They were one of the few F's I have ever received in my life and I was not pleased with myself. However, the game let me advance to the next level so that feeling of failure only lasted a few short seconds. Phew!!
There are times when you are on your bike that you either have a gun or grappling hook. Trying to balance your riders weight distribution and bike rotation with the left thumbstick while shooting the gun or the grappling hook with the right is not an easy task. If that freaks you out a little just know that if I can do it so can you. Don't be afraid of the F...embrace it to mean "Thank F*** that's over!" That's what I did and I felt much better afterwards.
Overall, the 25 levels came and went fairly quickly and Trials of the Blood Dragon was the first and only Trials game I have ever finished. Was the game worth $5? I would say yes it is but as a free game it's even better.