While I know almost nothing about motorcycles, I do enjoy a good racing game every once in a while. MotoGP developers, Milestone S. r. l. takes the racing simulation, with a little arcade feel here and there, and wraps it around a celebratory motorcycle culture that works well enough.
Players are a new motorcycle racer that has entered the racing scene and must work their way up, gaining reputation and entering the more prestigious elite races all the while earning credits that can be used to purchase upgrades for bikes, as well as new ones in different classes like engine size and other defining features.
Platforms: XB1, PS4, PC
Price I’d pay: $59.99
A different kind of racing.
With a world tour with a pretty robust amount of content, players can try multiple tracks as well as different modes like time attack and head to head races. There’s a decent amount of variety, and while getting used to controlling my motorcycle was a bit of a challenge in the first few races, I felt like I was understanding what was needed by my third race. As I said above, I had never actually played a motorcycle game before. They control very differently from cars I would drive in Gran Turismo. Luckily, there is some room for error in Ride. There is a rewind feature that can help out when players have an accident, and can reset their last few actions. This adds just enough arcade feel to it to where it has that simulation feel but is not overly punishing.
There were multiple settings I could use for performance aids like auto brakes, racing lines, and auto tucking in when on straight-aways. I could turn on what I wanted or have to game evaluate my performance and create a setting for me, then adjust accordingly. It was a nice little feature that eased me into the game.
Upgrading the whip.
While there are upgrades that can improve the performance of bikes, there is a set path for what will be better for the bike and what will not improve it. Customization is a bit limited in this aspect. One thing I did like was that changing parts on the bike would actually be shown on the bike while racing. I figured they would remain stock looking.
The bikes and environments are visually well detailed. Even in the replay mode I was surprised at how nice the game actually looked. While the character models may not be that well done, everything is colorful, detailed, and realistic. To go along with that, a bike’s history and manufacture history of each company are displayed during loading screens and other menus. It was nice actually learning about bikes, since I had very little knowledge of them to begin with. I can tell the developers really have a passion for this.
There were a few issues that cropped up during my time with the game – one being the loading times. They would last upwards to a full minute when going into a race, and even when just restarting, it would last a bit too long. The other issue is the unbalanced difficulty. After getting hold of the controls and understanding how to drive the bikes, I was tearing through the competition. I then decided to bump up the difficulty. Then I was getting the crap kicked out of me. There was no happy medium when going from very easy to maybe just a medium difficulty. It was either really easy or really difficult.
Ride seems to be a spiritual successor to MotoGP. While I didn’t play those game back in the day, I can say I enjoyed my time with Ride. It is a niche genre, but this game is well done when it comes to creating a simulation motorcycle racing game that celebrates the culture. It looks nice, plays well, and has just enough in it to make it feel like both simulation and arcade at the same time. Motorcycle racing fans should give this one a shot. There’s a lot of content in here for the bike enthusiasts to enjoy.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.