It’s only been a year since Ride released, but Milestone quickly came back with a sequel. Can Ride 2 improve on the faults of Ride or should it remain in the garage?
The Ride series is one of the newest racing game series and caters to motorcycle racing fans quite well. There just aren’t that many motorcycle racing sims out there and the ones that are out there are pretty hit and miss. Fortunately, Milestone brought something a bit different to the table with Ride in 2015 and have already followed it up with the sequel here in 2017. There were some heavy criticisms on the first game and while the sequel has provided some good improvements, there’s still some annoyances that prevent this game from reaching its full potential.
When I started playing Ride 2, I instantly made the comparison to Gran Turismo (as have many people). It’s a game that really looks and feels like a full-on motorcycle simulation game. It doesn’t quite reach the depth of Gran Turismo. You start off by creating a character which is pretty bare bones all things considered. You can only change the name, nationality, and skin tone. That’s it. I really question why there weren’t more customization options for the player. That’s part of what helps you connect to a game that has a career mode. You can also change your gear later on which makes it feel a bit more personal. You can then pick one of 4 bikes, all with varying stats, so I of course picked the most powerful one and began my journey.
I had a a rough first race in Ride 2. There’s definitely a learning curve to the control of the bike as there is with most racing games which I can forgive. The thing that I did have a problem with is how easily it is to fall off your bike. It has been wildly inconsistent in my playthrough. There have been times where I’ve barely touched someone and fallen off my bike. There are also times where I’ve used my bike as a battering ram to stop an opposing rider from passing me. You can also tuck your body in with a simple body press for those tight corners, however I stopped using it because I fell off my bike 80% of the time. It’s hard to focus on the race when you’re worried about falling off your bike the entire time. I get that it’s easy to fall off a bike in reality, but it seems that much easier in-game.
There are 30+ tracks in the game with a lot of variations of direction, scenery, and length. There are even weather effects included in some races which was a nice touch. The tracks are decent enough to look at, though I do feel like they lag behind other games in terms of graphical quality. I also felt like the game contained a lot of sharp turns in most of the tracks. I felt like I was just turning the entire race with barely any space to hit the gas.
I’ve read other reviews that say this game has insanely difficult AI. I wouldn’t go that far. The AI is pretty challenging and they always seem to have better bikes than you, but if you race properly you can beat them. I will say that if you crash, you will have a tough time coming back from it. Fortunately, Milestone has included a rewind feature that allows you to try again if you end up falling off your bike. This feature alone stops a lot of the frustration I had with the game and I think it’s something that people easily overlook.
World Tour Mode is the main career mode in Ride 2 and it consists of a bunch of different events that give your reputation point to climb up the world leaderboard. Season Events are what I started out with. Here you will have to purchase bikes to use for specific race events as there are restrictions per each set of races. Championships will let you compete in several consecutive races after completing Season Events. Team vs Team is unlocked at a certain popularity level.
The nice thing about Ride 2 is that Milestone put in a number of different race types to keep things fresh other than just a standard race. The staple of Time Trials are in there where you’re trying to beat the clock. Pairs Racing has you and a partner racer racing to accumulate points to determine your position. Perfect Trajectory has you racing the clock through cones. Hit a cone and you get a pretty sizable penalty. There’s enough variety here to keep most people happy and I enjoyed doing the different types of races that were on offer.
While there is a lot of variety in this game, it is still quite a slog to go through World Tour Mode and get enough reputation to do different types of events and get enough money for more bikes. It honestly just takes way too long. For most racing games, there’s an incentive for winning or for doing some type of cool maneuver. There’s nothing like that here. You get a certain amount of rep and money for winning and that’s it. There’s nothing extra. That means you have to play quite a few races before it makes it worth your while and I can definitely see it turning people off. It certainly had a negative effect on me.
When you do acquire enough money to start customizing and buying new bikes, there’s quite a bit to tinker with there. You can buy all types of different coloured parts that look beautiful as you equip them on your bike. You can also add to the performance of the bike by buying different performance parts. There are even different liveries you can buy although the selection is limited by bike. It’s a good customization system and the parts are pretty fairly priced depending on what you want to do to your bike. Milestone did a wonderful job on making the bikes look very good graphically and making them the stars of the track.
There is a multiplayer mode to this game and it’s limited to single races and championship. It’s pretty status average stuff, nothing of real note. There’s also an in-helmet cam, but it’s poorly implemented and doesn’t accurately represent your viewpoint.
Ride 2 is a serviceable game for motorcycle enthusiasts. It’s definitely a good simulation game that has a lot of content and hours of gameplay. The amount of bikes, rewind feature, and bike customization options was a high point for me while the challenging AI and grind to get new bikes was an issue. I would recommend this to hardcore racing fans. If you’re coming into this game hoping for an arcade experience or to dominate from the very beginning, you’re going to be disappointed.
*A review copy of this game was provided to FYIG by Square Enix*