Developer: Milestone S.r.l.
Publisher: Milestone S.r.l.
Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC
It’s not very often, if at all, that you come across a dedicated motorcycle racing game for consoles. So naturally when Ride arrived, the newest bike game to hit the shelves, they naturally got me…the touring car driver. The guy who has never ridden a bike, and never even played Road Rash. So, am I riding off into the sunset? Or is it two wheels bad?
Ride features more than 100 different motorbikes, from many of the worlds most famous manufacturers. There’s street bikes, lightweights, modified and of course the full blown race spec machines. There are hundreds of ways to customize both the bike and yourself. New outfits, gloves, helmets and accessories, so you can strut your stuff (or look cool when you inevitably high side.) Bikes can have the wheels, exhausts, handlebars and other cosmetics altered to your liking, and although you can paint your ride the options are a bit limited. There’s plenty of performance parts as well, and it’s quite easy to understand the tuning options available. No vinyls though; sorry folks – this isn’t NFS Undercycles.
There are several world-wide circuits to race around, a nice mix of fictional street circuits, and dedicated tracks that are famous for Moto racing, such as England’s Donington Park. The game itself looks quite pretty, not that you’ll have much time to see it though. The AI will certainly keep you busy; even on the easier settings, they can easily keep up, and pass you when you least expect it. I quickly began to regret blowing my starting budget on shiny things and cool paint. Thankfully though, money is easy to come by in the world of Ride. Payouts throughout the world tour are quite generous. Win one race and you’ll already be able to afford some of the bikes on offer. Even in quick race or time trial modes, you still earn credits for turning laps. So it’s worth perfecting your skills before trying it out against the rest. Earn enough reputation, and you’ll also advance up the worldwide leader boards, eventually unlocking invites to elite events with the worlds best. Don’t expect to find me there though.
The game itself is very user friendly. There are many options for the humble beginner like myself, to the seasoned bike veterans who want to feel every bit of gravel as you slide off the track. Assists, AI adjustments, tutorials and many more options. You can bump a bit in the easier settings, but if you want to be a pro then get the elbows up. This isn’t Gran Turismo…hitting walls, and opponents, or going off track can have catastrophic consequences. Whilst rewinds are available, you can’t use them back to back. So if you make a mistake, don’t think you can just try the same thing over and over again.
I had a lot of fun learning the game, and although it can be a challenge, winning the first race felt just that bit better knowing that you had to work for it. A lot of my frustration with the game came simply from the fact I’m dumbfounded by a machine that has half the wheels I’m used to. I’m not much of a bike person, but Ride does go a long way to immerse you in the world of motorcycle racing. The feeling of speed, the freedom, the way the bike twitches when you push it, as if you’re trying to tame a horse. This horse won’t kick, but it will throw you if you’re off guard…I ended up with more high sides, low sides, wall sides and god knows what sides in an hour than I’ve seen in 10 year Moto GP highlights.
It really does feel like Forza with bikes. The large career mode, the many difficulty options to cater for just about anyone, the customization, and many more things combine to make Ride very worthy of being called a racing sim. Even for a car guy like me. It’s a well polished title, and is sure to keep you entertained for quite some time. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to do and dig my Ducati out of the gravel trap…again.