Ride 2, a solid racing simulator that comes courtesy of Milestone S.r.l. and Square Enix, promises to fulfill anyone’s motorcycle fantasies with flare. Motorcycle enthusiasts rejoice!
Developer: Milestone S.r.l.
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
MonsterVine was provided a copy for review purposes
One of the first things I noticed while playing through Ride 2 was the amount of similarities it had with the wildly popular Forza series. Not only in the way that the game presents its events and races, but we are even given a white room that acts as our garage and a faceless female guide through the world of motorcycle racing, as well as a rewind function while in races. Despite the similarities in these senses, Ride 2 is still strong enough of a game to stand on its own. At the end of the day, what matters in a racing game is that there are enough races in enough different environments with a respectable amount of vessels in which to race in. Ride 2 checks all of these boxes, and it does it well.
Ride 2 starts with a single lap race to introduce us to the basic mechanics that racers will use in the massive amount of events to complete in the somewhat-story to come. The controls we are given to begin the game with are simple enough, and pretty standard in regards to racing games, gas, brake, and the ability to switch point of view. Ride 2 also gives us the ability to brake one wheel at a time, front or back, which ended up making the game feel unique as compared to racing games that have cars, as those games usually only require the use of two to three buttons. The ability to pick which wheel you brake with, or having to press both brake buttons in a pattern and then pressing a third button that allows you to lean into a tight turn, placing your rider’s knee as close to the pavement as possible added a layer of fun that didn’t get old. It may sound complicated, having to press multiple buttons for a singular turn, but it felt and looked smooth in game, and separated the game from other racing games.
Much like Forza, we are provided with a heap of customization options in regards to how the game is played, such as a line on the track that shows the best path and recommended speed around turns (changes color to display), as well as assisted braking and bike damage. The AI difficulty can be changed as well. Based on how you customize your settings you are given a slight boost to how much credits/experience you earn for completing races, using less assists gives you a bigger boost. While I played with more assists and medium-level A.I., Ride 2 still felt challenging and realistic. When I tried to play with no assists and realistic A.I., the game felt like a legitimate simulator. The ability to play casually and as a simulation at free will is one of Ride 2’s best features, and one that motorcycle enthusiasts should enjoy.
From this introduction to the controls, we are given the choice between four free bikes as a gift to start out our racing career. We are given the choice between a sporty street bike, a dirt bike, and two classic looking bikes that are slower, but have their own events that do not require speed. Based on which bike you start with, this decides which event you enter first. There are basically four classes of events, and each event has a set of races underneath it. These events and races are divided by the type of bike you are in, which ranges from old-school slower bikes to top tier crotch-rocket bikes that defy all speed-limits. In between we have different subsections of street bikes that are sporty or meant for off road use. Ride 2 has a very impressive roster of over 200 motorcycles. Even a person that knows very little about motorcycles, such as myself, will find a few motorcycles that they recognize or know about due to them being in film or being particularly popular elsewhere. For someone that is very into motorcycles, I imagine that they would be very satisfied with the variety and sheer amount of bikes. Through the beginning races you win with your gift bike. You will eventually have enough credits to either upgrade your own bike, or buy an entirely new one, which really opens up your options race-wise. The more bikes you have, the more events you can participate in, which leads to even more bikes, or a collection of fully upgraded bikes that you love. After completing enough races in at least third place, you will unlock seasonal events, which are harder, longer-lasting races that require you to have a bike you can perform well with. These seasonal events, of which there are 12, are a great source of credits and experience, and act as the main motive when competing in standard events.
Giving the player over 200 bikes to play with opens a plethora of possibilities in play style and preferred bike type. This preference can be refined even further than simply owning a type of bike by allowing the player to customize and tune up each bike in multiple ways. Not only is there visual customization, but you can upgrade practically every component of any given bike ranging from the gearbox to the exhaust, and even the tread of your bikes tires. Upgrading your bikes components changes its PP, or “power potential.” Events are separated by PP limits, and most bikes can be upgraded and downgraded to allow their use in multiple events. Pairing the way you upgrade your bike with a harder difficulty and less assists adds to its simulator dynamic. Along with the bike customization, the player can also customize their bikers appearance, allowing you to equip them with all sorts of different bike-culture clothing, ranging from full dirt bike gear to jeans and a leather jacket. While this is a minuscule detail in the grand scheme of the game, it is a welcomed feature that allows you to change what your rider looks like after a few races, to switch things up if you get bored of looking at the same clothes.
Ride 2 is also very visually striking game, not only in regards to the character models and motorcycles, but the race tracks and their surroundings are beautiful. I found myself wanting to visit the Castles in the distance that I saw when riding through the curvy roads in Greece, but was sadly confined to the track. The graphics add to the game’s immersion, and for anyone looking to get wrapped up in their own biking fantasy they will definitely find the environments as a nice touch. There is a surprising lack of music in the game, but it is more of a simulator than a game like Need for Speed, so this is understandable and unimportant in comparison to how well the mechanics, customization, and graphics all go together.
The Final Word
Despite Ride 2 borrowing a few of its main mechanics and elements from the Forza series, it brings enough of its own to the table for it to shine as a racing title. Customization of controls and vehicles, as well as challenging, solid gameplay and striking visuals make it a fun racer for average fans, but packs the potential to be a simulator for the more hardcore. If you love all things motorcycles, this is the game for you, but non lovers will find solace here as well.
– MonsterVine Rating: 4.5 out of 5 – Great