Racing games are my weakness. I try to play as many as I can and by doing so I’ve encountered several hidden gems but also some crappy ones as well. The world of “not so popular” racing games is bigger than the average gamer might think so I think it’s good that I shed some light from time to time and talk about those kind of games.
Last year, Milestone moved away from their annualized releases of WRC and Moto GP games to deliver a motorbike game we haven’t had for a while. That is Ride.
Do you remember Tourist Trophy? Not the race itself but the 2006 ps2 videogame. It was developed by Poliphony Digital, better known for the Gran Turismo series, and it was pretty much a GT game but with bikes as the protagonists. Almost 10 years later, Milestone is bringing a game with the very same concept. Ride is a simulator kind of game where you buy bikes, race with them to earn some money to then buy more bikes. Sounds fun to you? It’s the dream of my life, really.
But concept is one thing and the important part is if the game delivers on its premise and is actually well developed. So let’s start by asking, how’s the driving?
Great. As I mentioned before, Ride is a simulation kind of game. You have to manage the rider’s weight on the bike, make good use of the frontal and rear brakes, be careful with your throtle when coming out of a corner… you know, the kind of things bike enthusiasts care about. But, actually, that’s only if you want to. Ride also offers assisted driving methods that don’t require the player to be so meticulous with the driving and those are quite fun as well. It still won’t turn the game into a Burnout style of arcade racer but it makes sure that Ride is suited for any kind of player, either hardcore bike junkies or casual racing fans alike.
One important aspect in a Gran Turismo kind of game is the content. The fun part about buying a bike is choosing the one you want, and for that you have to have plenty of options. I’m happy to say that Ride doesn’t dissapoint in that aspect either. The game features 113 bikes (excluding dlc) of various categories going from naked to proffesional superbikes and stretching from various time periods as well going as far as the late 80’s.
If that wasn’t enough, those bikes can be customized and tuned in plenty of ways. Changing chains, tyres, rearview mirrors… the customization system is very deep, the only obvious missing aspect would be adding custom paintjobs.
The game also features around 30 different tracks to ride on although it relies a little on having several variations of the same location to extend that track number. It’s not like they’re not enough though and the best part is that they’re quite varied as well. Going from real racing circuits like Imola or Donington while also having some ficticious mountain roads set in “pinturesque” settings around the world.
On a technical level I should say the game does okay. It’s obviously not on Driveclub‘s level of graphical fidelity but the bikes are well modeled and overall Ride looks pretty. However, loadtimes between races are way too long and the game has some minor bugs that the developers should patch.
Things I liked
- Superb Handling: Ride offers various levels of simulation for any kind of player and in all cases they’re great. Easily my favourite experience driving a bike in a videogame.
- Biker’s Heaven: A hundred bikes of different styles and even time periods with all the best manufacturers being represented. And then you can customize them and tune to your heart’s content. Truly a biker’s dream.
Things I didn’t
- Long Loadtimes: Except for the time trial challenges where you don’t race against other bikes, loadtimes before every race are way too long. At least, as the game loads, Ride will provide you some interesting data on the bike you’ll be racing on, but you’ll have read all of it by the third race.
- Minor Glitches: Nothing game breaking here but little annoyances happen from time to time. One example would be the game messing up the thumbnail for your customized bike, really minor I know but that happened a few times during my time with Ride.
Who’d like this?
Simply put, if you like bikes and racing games, this game is for you. If you loved Tourist Trophy back in the day and wished it got a sequel, this is the closest thing. You’ll just have to bear with lengthy loadtimes though.
<This review is based on the ps4 version of the game but the game is also available on ps3 and other platforms><You can watch some racing in motion here>