RIDE Review

Throttle on!

RIDE Review

The Verdict

RIDE is currently the only motorcycle game that truly embodies the fullness of the world of supersport racing with the perfect blend of motorcycle variety, environments and realistic game play. If only RIDE had a bigger budget along the lines of a Need for Speed or Forza Motorsport, but that doesn't detract from the overall game play whatsoever. RIDE is something that both casual racers can appreciate as well as passionate riders. 

Personally, I'm not a rider. So I invited a friend of mine to partake in some of the game. He immediately commented on the authenticity of the physics and control as well as the details of the bikes themselves. It's a tough task to make all aspects of a game desirable to both casual and hardcore fans of any genre, but Milestone caps it off with what is the best motorcycle racer to date in RIDE. It's difficult for motorcycle games because mostly everyone who has a license has driven car, including some who haven't. On the other hand, many people haven't ridden a motorcycle because of that intimidation factor, but Milestone closes the gap for those users. I definitely recommend it for fans of all racing games as well as those who wish to just take it for a spin.

RIDE Review

The Positives

  • Motorcycle variety: With over 100 bikes from different manufacturers, all broken down further by year of production, performance, etc, there is no shortage of options for fans of any type of bike in the four classes.

  • Motorcycle customization: Any bike is free to be upgraded however you choose. Slow bikes can be upgraded to surpass performance of the higher level base bikes, which provides a steady ebb and flow strategically.

  • Scaleable difficulty: This isn't just "here's your bike go race and good luck". Each bike allows the opportunity to adjust both performance and difficulty. Milestone does a great job of balancing the difficulty of driving the motorcycle with making the game accessible for most players. This mode can be replayed whenever you want with any new bike you choose to fully optomize it for yourself.

  • Rewind Ability: Knowing when to brake at that perfect moment is pivotal for success in RIDE. Rewinding not only assists you in race, but also removes that frustration factor of missing one turn all race, eating the pavement and then falling out of contention.

  • Graphical quality: Each individual motorcycle is customized down to a level of detail I honestly didn't expect. From the sun glare bouncing off the metal rims or exhaust to even the production sticker from the manufacturer, it's the motorcycle version of Forza garage and adds a never before seen level of immersion in a motorcycle game.

  • Environmental effects: Being a fast paced motorcycle game, the locations fly by at a mind numbing pace. Surprisingly, the trees were detailed well even up close and you could see their individuality while speeding by. It didn't get crazy down to leaves and blades of grass, but you could definitely see the difference. With such intimate details on the motorcycles themselves, it was nice to see the environments didn't take a hit with minor things like sunlight, reflections, etc. which are all aptly reproduced in RIDE.

  • Event variety: Over 200 events in World Tour mode, there is no shortage of game play for you to partake in. Everything from time trials, to track specific challenges to climbing the leaderboards to the number one racer in the world, RIDE has something for all racers from beginner to veteran

The Negatives

  • Loading Screens: Not incredibly long, but load times of around a minute both pre and post race is a long time just to sit there waiting for the next screen. Granted, there is a lot for the game to load with all the different bikes, especially in multi player, but that's too long and takes away from what is otherwise a complete experience.

  • Framerate: I mentioned graphics above as a benefit and rightfully so, but framerate is much more important as we all know. Or atleast we should. At 30 FPS opposed to 60 on PC, the Xbox One version as well as the PS4 version ( I played both) sometimes tend to exhibit some slightly shaky frames. With the speed of the game and motorcycles flying by, especially when you have 16 human racers online with their own, individual moves, 30 FPS lacks a bit of where RIDE needs to be. It's very slight, and doesn't impact the overall game play, but it's visible and was therefore included.

  • Audio: The engine sounds in the game are phenomenal and extremely realistic. That "Vrrrrm, Vrrrrm" of the engine as you hit the throttle is ever present. Unfortunately there's not too much more in the terms of in track race music. Remember the old arcade game Cruisin' USA with all those tracks that had you dancing in your seat while racing. I would have liked to have seen more of that type of in game music as it always ties you into the race more than just hearing the hum of the engine, no matter how cool it is.

  • Damage effects: When I crash on a motorcycle going over 100, I want to see some damage that is more than a little scratch over there on the corner. Of course, I understand it couldn't be THAT realistic as any normal crash would most likely render your bike completely useless as it would most normally be in real life. On the other hand, I would have liked to have seen the bike's performance impacted a bit more resulting from the damage it sustained.

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.