Ride 2 Review

Ride 2 Review Zubayr Bhyat
Gameplay
Graphics
Sound
Lasting Appeal
6.9
Great racer, but not a strong game.
User Rating: 7 (3 votes)

There’s been a need for a motorcycle only equal of Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo for some time. Enter Ride 2, sequel to last year’s Ride, Milestone S.R.L.’s effort to improve on the established formula. The premise is similar: Win races, buy new motorcycles and work your way up to the number 1 spot. At least that’s what happens offline. There are more online features. I’ll cover more on that later.

When starting Ride 2, you choose a starting motorcycle. Depending on your style of riding there are several options. Naked bikes, scramblers, super-bikes or vintage motorcycles. Once you have your motorcycle it’s time to upgrade this wonderful beast. Since you’re given some credits to start with you have a chance to upgrade. Once upgraded, you enter the races your motorcycle qualifies for. It’s not only performance points that affect your qualification. Length of track and race disqualify a particular motorcycle from racing. Got a naked bike? Want to run around a tight, twisty scrambler circuit? It’s not going to happen. While realistic, it’s frustrating, especially when earning low credit amounts in the beginning. As the laps do increase, so do your in-game credits earned.

ride 2 review

It’s also worth mentioning that there’s no riding school or license tests. For a game like this, it’s a necessity. Although motorcycles and cars share handling requirements, their design also demands different skill sets. Motorcycles are more sensitive to weight and direction change. They’re also more depending on an in-game racing line. Ride 2 tries to make this process easier by starting players on an easier difficulty setting, yet it does not solve the problem.

The main issue, at least to me, remains the handling model. To be more specific, it’s how the handling model ties in with the game’s options. These include opponent A.I., racing assists and environmental challenges. Opponents stick to their line and lack the liveliness other racing games have. They seem to ignore you and seem to race on their own. Veer too close to them and you fall off, not them most of the time. There could’ve been some spectacular moments if these computer-player interactions received more attention. When the racing aids go off, you’re going to contend with a more interesting riding model. There aren’t enough modes in Ride 2 that prepare you for more manual work. More’s the pity, because Ride 2 played unassisted is so enjoyable. There are few pleasures as great as learning a new motorcycle with the game not doing tuck-in and weight shifting for you.

How Ride 2 lets you progress isn’t that dissimilar to how the Forza titles work. You can run time trials and earn credits for bike upgrades based on the laps you run. Winning races and turning off assists also increases earnings. There’s even a class-based World Tour mode, which serves as a career mode. The better your position in a race, the more you win. It makes sense right? Earn in-game credits and buy bikes and upgrades. It sounds like a stock-standard formula, and it’s easy to get right if balanced well. Once you complete a season event, you’d expect a motorcycle as a prize right? That’s not the case. Instead you’re expected to subsist on your own remuneration. This makes Ride 2’s career mode more of a grind than it should be, especially with the amount of motorcycles available.

As far as physics go, I’d say that Ride 2 falls between realistic and arcade. Some impacts at low speed against walls should kill a rider, instead you carry on. At other times you’re off the saddle and there’s damage all over the bike. Turn off all assists and you’re going to have a livelier time than when using assists. This is where all the fun is, and all the practice is worth it for the mastery element alone.

You’re always slower than your competition in the single player modes. In the first Naked bike seasonal event, I went up against a 1300cc motorcycle, despite having a 695cc bike. While everything went well on tight circuits, high-speed stretches allowed higher powered bikes to shoot past me on the straights. This made it impossible to reach my competition once they passed me. A multi-class system based on power output could’ve helped here, instead there are only performance points. This means that a motorcycle with more power and less handling will sit in the same class as one with less power and more grip. Milestone need to do some serious balancing work in this area since opponent matching feels slightly unfair to the player.

ride 2 review

The upgrade system implemented by Milestone bears a similar resemblance to Forza Motorsport 4’s. You upgrade each mechanical component like engine, transmission, tyre and others. Milestone also added a similar system. Now, I’m not saying that the developers shouldn’t have copied the system. Imitation is flattery at the end of the day, right? If you’re going to copy, do it well. Unfortunately its implementation isn’t as flexible as that of Turn 10’s racing series. Yes, you’ll be able to change brake line colour and rear view mirrors. There’s also an option to change to a lighter wheel rim, which improves your power to weight ratio.

Several manufacturers’ parts see some kind of representation, and this lends an air of authenticity to the game. Some of the madness of the Forza upgrade system we’re used to is missing, and it feels as if Ride 2 is trying hard to be serious. Can you fit a bigger engine into a Ducati Diavel or Monster 1200? No. Sure it’s not practical, but then again much of Ride 2 isn’t. To me, this is the problem, in a game like Ride 2 that doesn’t quite do simulation, one has to go over the top. This game could’ve been so much better with some madness attached.

As far as online play goes, there are no dedicated servers. This means that you’re restricted to peer-to-peer matchmaking. It’s a cause for frustration, since trying to find a lobby results in creating an empty one of your own. Finding other players is a problem unless you have friends who want to join in on the action.

Ride 2’s graphics are great. The motorcycles’ details are brilliant, glimmering in the sun and rain. Everything from the tyres to fuel tanks are eye-candy. When it rains puddles line the roads and droplets of water hang onto both rider and bike. While not the best looking racing game around, Ride 2 is beautiful at times, even if texture quality isn’t as high as it should be. This game also has some of the best use of motion blur I’ve seen in a racer, and the sensation of speed is only enhanced with its use.

As far as audio goes I’m afraid the game doesn’t measure up. Where engines need to howl, they burble on. Riders flying past should light up the senses; however, they don’t, and it’s disappointing. Tyres should be screeching as they lose grip. Anyone who has heard a super-bike shooting past will know how dull some of the audio in this game is.

Conclusion:
Ride 2 is a great motorcycle racer; however it is not a strong game. It uses elements from other successful titles, but additionally  keeps some of their weaknesses. The handling model is a pleasure to take on, and is in my view, the strongest element of the game.

Overall, Ride 2 pleases the eye but not the ear, and loses out in the end. There were aspects of this game that could’ve been so much better, yet were not. The sad truth is that until Gran Turismo Sport comes out, we’re not going to get another bike racer like this. Even then, will we get the thrills that this sub-genre can provide?

Ride 2 was reviewed by Zubayr Bhyat

Writer for Tech IT Out & Geeknode. Former writer at MWEB GameZone. Complete tech geek and From Software fanatic. Sunbro to the death.