Back in 2015, Ride was released and it got some mixed reviews. Whether it was well received or not, it introduced players to a new world of simulation that a few bike racing games, even in their infancy, seemed to capture. Long live the days of the glory days of Moto GP and how it felt to zip around various tracks and race on some of the sweetest bikes, however, Ride raised the stakes and would quickly be in a league of its own.
The developers at Milestone have been busy since their last release. For those gamers that played the original will quickly notice they’ve made some pretty robust changes. Most would feel that the original Ride was good, but seemed to be lacking a few quintessential elements that would give even real-world bikers that genuine motoring experience. Ride 2 has taken all the feedback from the original and turned it into something beautiful.
It’s clear that the visuals in Ride 2 are what stand out above all. If any comparison, this game is about as close as it comes, visually, to being the Forza Motorsports of biking games. The game looks that damn good. The developers didn’t stop there. The scenery is phenomenal and flows very well with the game, whether it be gallivanting through the mountains or navigating the tight turns within a city, each location is a visual tour de force.
One would note that in addition to the visuals, the tracks in this game are all meticulous reconstructions of the real-world locations. There are over 30 tracks based in 15 locations, including the legendary, Nurburgring Nordschleife. If that isn’t enough to entice racing enthusiasts, they’ve also included detailed information on nearly 200 bikes ranging from the history of each manufacturer to the specs of each machine. Several modes of play will entice gamers to explore the plethora of content.
Quick Mode, Time Trials and Split Screen have all been included for those that just want to get into the meat of the game, however, individuals wanting a more thorough experience should head over to the World Tour Events and put one’s skills to the test. World Tour is basically the “campaign” and will give players a way to gain experience, online rank and use their earned prize money toward purchasing bikes and upgrades.
World Tour is where a majority of gamers will find themselves spending most of their time playing. This mode will send gamers to complete several challenges in Season Events where you will aim to earn gold medals. Naturally, the higher the medal, the more reputation is gained which can set you up to be invited to the “invitational event.” If you do well enough, this event will set players up to earn more money, experience and rare bikes.
The customization options are a welcomed improvement over the previous Ride game. There is an abundance of upgrades available, but they come at a cost so choose wisely. Bikes can be fine-tuned to each person’s preference, which again, will instantly remind you of Forza. When it comes to the customization of the bike itself, I found this to be rather lackluster from a creative visual standpoint providing average color packages. Unlocking rider helmets and jumpsuits are also a welcomed visual option that completes the look and feel of the game.
Milestone is looking to build its fan base and wants to keep things interesting, which is why they’ve introduced the option to build a “team” of racers that you can use in the game and the World Tour. In order to build a proper team of racers and dominate the opposition, one will need to earn tokens (separate from credits) to recruit better teammates. These can be earned through completing weekly challenges; and they aren’t a child’s play. Building a team is rewarding and like most things, it is rather difficult to keep a well oiled machine going. There is always going to be someone greater, (and you will lose from time to time) but that’s the beauty of it. In order to be the best, you need to recruit the best.
For those not used to racing simulators, don’t worry, the game provides many options to caters to various styles of play. The game includes the option to “rewind” time if one makes a mistake and wishes to correct it. For a bigger challenge, players can turn off various assists and put their skills to the test. The game can sometimes be rather unforgiving and for the casual gamer, one can find themselves giving up rather easily.
One of the game’s biggest downfalls is the learning curve. Most newcomers (especially the casual ones) may feel thrown in and a bit perplexed from the start. The game simply lacks a thorough tutorial. This would have made the game much more approachable to greenhorns used to the arcade-like style of play. Ride 2 is not one of those games that will allow you to speed up and catch back up to the opposition. This game uses “real world” physics and going from 0 to 100 is not an option. Patience is key. So, if you want to enjoy the game and become the Stig of biking, take baby steps and learn the ways of simulation.
One thing that seemed to be a constant annoyance were the assists. They simply weren’t explained very well. The game tries to make it easy for the player to speed up, slow down and turn but it ended up feeling more like you were in driving school. It wasn’t very intuitive and I hope that Milestone fixes this in future Ride games.
Ride 2 is a game full of tight turns and unexpected challenges. The developers listened to their fans and took down every element that made the original game great and made this game shine. The game looks incredible, but they could definitely add more polish. There were a few “jaggies” and shadows that were hard to ignore and the loading times were annoying but overall, the game looks better than half of what’s currently on the market and the game has so much to offer. Ride 2 definitely caters to fans of motorcycles and is sure to keep racing fans coming back for more.