Ride 2 is the follow up to last years Ride, a game developed for those hardcore bike fans out there. The game is developed by Milestone S.r.l., a developer I know very well: Milestone and I go all the way back to earlier this year when I first reviewed Sebastien Loeb Rally, I then also reviewed MGXP2 and Valentino Rossi The Game. So to say I’m somewhat familiar with Milestone’s work would be an understatement, having said that, what can Ride 2 bring to the table that Ride or any of the other titles this release year?
Unfortunately, not a lot. Much like last year's Ride, Ride 2 looks to continue the Gran Turismo - like gameplay style, with players needing to compete in competitions, races and time trials in order to unlock nicer and shinier bikes. It’s a gameplay model that, while not incredibly original, works.
Unlocking those shiny bikes is pretty much the driving force that pushes progression in the game, so you best be somewhat interested in them. For the uninitiated, it’s more about just unlocking a faster bike; really diehard bike fans will likely love the selection of bikes available to unlock and drive, and relish in the attention to detail presented. Alongside the bikes, there’s also an impressive selection of tracks available to drive, including the likes of Nurburgring, Macau and Ulster GP. The usual method of increasing the number of tracks through slight modifications is here, but this is something that most racing games tend to do.
One of my favourite things about Ride 2, and most driving games in general, is how much players are able to customise their experience. Everything from driver AI to how your tires handle on the road can be adapted to your playstyle, in turn making Ride 2 one of the easiest or hardest driving games around based on your playstyle. The ease of customisation means that anyone can pick up and play the title, but also have the ability to adjust the settings if they find it too easy.
Handling is important in driving games, and unlike a standard car game, bikes are far less universal. Of the bike games I’ve played this year, they’ve all handled different depending on what class or model they are. Ride 2 features several classes of bikes from off road to super, the bikes handle different from one another and all require a different racing style. This is most notable when moving from 250CC to 500CC or higher- corners are much more difficult and you have to drive much more conservatively. Thanks to this differentiation in handling between bikes it means races can be incredibly varied, keeping you on your toes throughout the career.
Outside of the career, there are several modes for players to experience. Team vs Team is a mode that lets players build a team of racers, and then race with team members in order to top the rankings. For those with friends that have the title there is a choice to feature virtual riders, virtual representations of people on your friends list. The Team vs Team mode lets players feature these virtual friends in their teams. There’s also the standard single race and time trial mode alongside a few others - the main chunk of gameplay comes from the career mode though.There is also a multiplayer mode where players can pit their skills against other people across the globe but you’ll likely be hard-pressed to find a big community past a month or two after release.
Compared to some of the other driving games available, Ride 2 manages to look a little outdated. It doesn’t look bad by any stretch of the imagination, but it doesn’t quite manage to reach the bar set by the likes of Driveclub and the Forza series. I feel the people into games like Ride likely aren’t bothered, and will take authenticity of glitz and glamour any day of the week.
Ride 2 isn’t going to in any awards for innovation, but it does manager to carve itself a fairly comfortable niche. For those people that are really into bikes, Ride 2 is pretty much the perfect experience; it’s a playground of bike licenses and engine customisation played on top of a Gran Turismo like blueprint. My biggest issue with the title is that while it does please, it never manages to wow - this is something I’ve noticed throughout Milestone’s catalogue of games. I’d like to see it shift its focus to a less is more kind of mentality as I believe it would likely push out far higher quality experiences.
In short, Ride 2 is an experience that hardcore bike fans are going to get the most out of. The game is fun enough on its own merit without the impressive library of licenses and tracks, but for those not really into the sport I would imagine the barriers to entry are too high. Ride 2 manages to improve on last year’s release, but still struggles to shift itself above a niche racer for fans of the sport.
Ride 2 (Reviewed on PlayStation 4)
This game is good, with a few negatives.
Ride 2 manages to improve on last year’s release, but still struggles to shift itself above a niche racer for fans of the sport.