Since 1996, Milestone has basically become the Ghost Games of racing games for two wheeled vehicles. With RIDE, Milestone had a clean slate to make a 'Gran Turismo of motorcycles' having no official licenses for the game, which was different than their previous titles in MotoGP. Over 100 different motorcycles are featured in the game and they are broken down into four separate categories ; Superbikes, Supersport, Historical and Naked bikes. They come from a variety of manufacturers as well, such as Triumph, Ducati, Lightning, Kawasaki, MV Agusta, Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki and Bimota. If the amount of bikes and brands weren't enough, there are 15 different real world locations you can race on from Milan and Road America to Donington Park and the French Riviera. Each one possesses their own, individual factors that are taken from the real world locations. Of those 15 locations, they are broken down into seven circuits, five scenic drives, two street circuits and a special track.
You start the game on the naked bikes, basically a stripped down model of a motorcycle. This is beneficial as the physics involved in going to a motorcycle from games like Forza Motorsport or Need for Speed is not as simple as it seems. The realistic AI, scalable bike physics, slipstreams and damage effects all add to the overall impact and immersion that RIDE presents as a motorcycle simulator. If it gets too difficult, the implementation of the Forza-esque rewind function allows you to get the hang of it much more quickly than you would normally. As the bikes increase in performance, the ability to control them also gets more difficult as you would imagine. By the time you reach that point in the game, both your time with the lower bikes and rewind ability should allow you ample time to get the hang of knowing when to brake, when to start the turn, etc.
The AI racers are present, but not much of a threat. Albeit a motorcycle simulator, said simulation comes more in the form of learning how to control the motorcycle than out wit your opponents on the track. Race wise we can choose from three types of modes in World Tour, online and of course Quick Race. World Tour lets you start at the bottom of the rankings, 301 to be exact, and work your way up earning reputation and in game credit that you can use to customize your bike with performance and handling upgrades, appearance items and different skins. Online allows racing with up to 16 players at once in a series of racers leading up to the championship.
For those new to motorcycle games, the difficulty level can be adjusted to better suit each individual player on a sliding scale. The motorcycles themselves are intimately detailed and the race tracks, although have some detriments, for the most part are very well put together. Of course, it wouldn't be the same without the classic "VRRRMMMM" of the motorcycle engine we all know and love as well.
All things tied together, RIDE does a good job of delivering the quintessential motorcycle experience. Read on for our pros and cons as well as the final verdict.