Platforms: PC (reviewed), Xbox One, Playstation 4
Milestone is bringing back Ride with their sequel, Ride 2, which aims to be the Gran Turismo for motorcycles. The game features a ton of content, including over 200 motorcycles and 31 tracks, so there are hours of potential playtime.
However, with a lackluster single-player campaign, horrid controls, and incredibly God-like AI, the desire to keep playing may be the key ingredient that's missing.
It Will Have You Climbing Up The Walls
Controls are critical for any racing game. In Ride 2 there are three main controls: A to accelerate, X for back brakes, and Z for front brakes. This control scheme is unusual for a racing title, so that’s the first learning curve to beat.
I quickly found out that if you even brush up against a wall with your bike, you will fly forward due to the “impact.” Even if you are only going 2 km/h, you will fly off your bike entirely. This is incredibly frustrating since most of the tracks are thin and require a lot of movement. Without the ability to even lightly brush up against any borders, most of the race is spent worrying about avoiding walls rather than winning.
There are 30+ total tracks in the game, which include different variations of directions, lengths, scenery, and environment. Instead of typical racing tracks, Ride 2 takes place in different fictional urban and natural environments. The different maps and tracks were pretty to look at, but aesthetics aside I just found that this game had a ridiculous amount of sharp turns.
Each motorcycle can be customized, along with the rider. You can potentially save your campaign by tweaking, repairing, stabilizing, and even changing the tires on your bike. Customizing your rider also can help with aerodynamics. Changing cosmetics could be the one thing that your rider needs to make that tight pin-hair turn. Messing around with the riders and the bikes was fun for a while, but I found that it only made a little bit of a difference to the overall game.
Motorcycle Design Shines Where Gameplay Doesn't
The AI riders in this game are good. Even on the lowest setting they were taking turns at ease, tapping their brakes, and easily avoiding other crashed riders. I played my first race on easy and found that I was still being overlapped. I also noticed that the AI riders had better bikes than me, ones that I hadn’t even unlocked yet. So not only are races ridiculously difficult to navigate, but the AI is on steroids as well… great!
The single-player campaign is a grind to gain in-game currency to purchase new bikes and additions. It accomplishes little more than killing the pacing of the game, and doesn't work as a motivation system to keep you playing. Getting to the next level or gaining enough currency for a new bike takes an uncomfortably long time.
The best thing about this game was Milestone’s level of presentation. There aren’t many motorcycle games out on the market, but there are still competitors like Forza and DIRT. The bikes in Ride 2 are beautifully rendered and modeled down to the last inch, canopy, and brake caliper. Looking at the bikes with dimmed lights in a showroom or on the road, they really shine as the beautiful pieces of machinery that they are.
I was rather excited to play Ride 2 because I need a good racing game in my life, but this game just gave me a headache. Between the frustrating controls and a lackluster grind-fest of a campaign, I’ll have to go back to DIRT to get my fix.