Specialist in racing game and especially motorcycle based ones, Italian developer Milestone, to whom we owe the SBK and MotoGP episodes (including the upcoming MotoGP 15) just launched Ride, their new vision for biking games… Something for the hardcore fans?
My first impression with Ride was quite painful, because mainly the game is well… ugly, without mincing words. In fact, it is almost like this game was developed for the previous generation (even though the title is also available on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360) and that it has simply been adapted to the next-generation consoles without noticeable upgrade. In practice, the landscape offered are either empty or filled with buildings, structures or trees that feels coming from a simple pre-modeling asset bank.
The game suffers some rendering problems (with textures appearing suddenly in front of you) and aliasing bugs (serrated flicker effect), as well as an atrocious loading time (count for a full minute or two before each race and 30 seconds longer after the race)… In short, fan of motorcycles games won’t find any real satisfaction… unless they are more focused on the model renders of drivers and their bikes, which are more correct admittedly .
Visually, Rides catches up (a bit) with some more elaborate and aesthetically successful stages than others (basically in road races with natural decorations such as Japan, the USA, etc.) and special effects are sometimes successful. That said, the important thing is not graphics, and motorbike fans will be more interested with gameplay and bike mechanics.
Once on the track, on top of a proper bike, Ride is already better. The game offers a customizable gameplay in very “realistic” options, just to suit a simulation world. The level of the opposing AI can of course change, but above all more or less activate various driver aids such as TCS (traction control), anti-wheelie, assisted braking, etc. After pushing the limits of assisted driving, reducing them to null, one can also separate the front and rear brakes, or manually manage the driver’s driving position to win more speed via aerodynamics … a real plus side sensations, and the purists will appreciate it.
Purists will also be pleased to see real change in the approach to gameplay once pushed to the max. It does not become a pure simulation – as collisions are weird, even sometimes failed – but it helps to have a behavior very close to real bikers, and force us to really be careful on certain turns, the determination of acceleration and braking at the right time, and of course calculate the optimal route.
Once you get used to gameplay mechanics, you should look more closely at the World Tour mode, which unfortunately is an ultimate classic filled with typical series of events… Basically, it’s just a matter of buying your first motorcycle, embarking on a series of championships, to pocket the dough (Credits) that is linked with the medals … and start over. The more you earn, the more you grow your bank account and higher classes motorcycles are at your fingertips … Nothing more, nothing less: the developers have clearly lacked imagination, and that’s a shame.
Milestone has however spoiled the fans of two wheels incorporating no less than 100 different motorcycles that can be customized with mechanical improvements and other purely cosmetic accessories, all under real license. The biggest brands are available, including Kawasaki, Ducati, etc… All this inevitably will please a lot of biker fans.
Ride was reviewed using an Xbox One review copy of the game provided by Milestone. The game is also available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PC in both retail and online store releases. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published.
• Highly configurable title that can easily switch from an arcade and simulation game
• Many customization options for numerous bikes
• Technically outdated
• Career mode with no real feelings
• No weather effects
• ULTRA LONG loading time