Ride Comes From A Troubled Background But Has High Aspirations
You’re likely looking at this and groaning at yet another game that takes delight in the sordid filth of motorsport. Of course, if you’re reading this then that’s probably what gets you revved up. It’s generally the four-wheeled vehicles that get all the attention but on occasion motorbikes will get some love. This happens to be one of those times but is Ride going to be the good or bad kind of love?
Genre: Easy Rider
Platforms: PS4, PS3, XBox 360, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: 27 March 2015
Price: R355/$30 (PC), R535/$60 (PS3, Xbox 360), R625/$60 (PS4, Xbox One)
One of the main rules established by the pigs in Animal Farm is that anything on two legs is an enemy. Four legs good, two legs bad. By the end of the book that’s been twisted to “four legs good, two legs better.” Hooray for the failings of communism.
Ride is hoping to skip the foreplay and go straight to that concept of four being good but two being better. Except in this case the appendage is wheels.
It’s easy to find a racing game all about cars but a little harder to find a good one. It’s even harder to just find a game centered around bikes. Generally the market is cornered by the SBK and MotoGP but Milestone is looking to muscle in on the territory with Ride. That said, the benchmarks haven’t set the bar all too high.
So what does this newcomer have to offer?
For starters, Milestone has plenty of experience in developing racing games and in fact created last year’s MotoGP 14, something that shows the studio has experience but not necessarily that it can produce a good game.
Well, the best we can do at this point is to rattle off some facts.
Ride starts off by ticking the right boxes with over 100 licensed motorcycles from 14 different manufacturers. In the spirit of depth and breadth, the game will not only feature current bikes but models dating all the way back to 1987. Good news if you’re into classics.
The game also has 13 tracks to offer including fearsome legends such as Imola with more tracks and bikes planned for DLC. Obviously.
Adding to this is the ability to not only customise bikes but your rider as well. Dainese, Alpinestars, Arai, Rizoma, Akropovic and Arrow have all made their catalogues available so players are free to tweak everything from exhausts, wheel rims, air filters, mirrors and quickshifters to the type of oil used. If that’s a little too complex then players are free to toy around with more superfluous things such as gloves and helmets. Players can even choose whether they want their rider to be male or female (suck it, Ubisoft).
The modes are fairly typical, with online play, challenges, a career mode and the ever-endangered split-screen. There are four classes of bike on tap: Superbikes, Supersports, Naked, and Historical bikes. The game is notably lacking a TT class.
Furthermore, Ride is going to be hampered by the apparent lack of a dynamic weather system. This is going to be a bit of a sore point for any racing fans as visuals are usually a big selling point of any racing game. The trouble is that Ride isn’t exactly a visual masterpiece to begin with, judging by what’s been shown thus far.
Ride looks pretty good but not spectacular. There has been talk of the soft particle lighting effects but it seems a little too soft and the bikes still look very much like renders rather than racers.
The focus seems to have been in-depth mechanics with a system that goes all the way down to a set of indicators which players can use to customise their riding style such as lateral and frontal head angle, shoulder position, seat position, inside knee position and more nuances that may drive a sane person mad.
The biggest question looming over Ride is whether it will be able to take any lessons learnt from MotoGP 14 and apply them to create a solid foundation for a new IP. What’s the point of a fresh start otherwise?
The game seems to be doing things right with no shortage of customisation and elements which bikers will love but it’s going to take a lot to rise to an appreciable level from where MotoGP 14 is sitting. That said, it also won’t take much to at least hover above that game.
Suspected Selling Points
There aren’t many motorbike games
There’s a lot of depth to the level of customisation
Despite plenty of experience, Milestone does not have a good track record
Milestone has been at this long enough that it should know what it’s doing. With any luck, that will shine through in Ride but it’s more than likely that the studio will once again make the same mistakes.
The upside is that a great amount of effort seems to have gone in to Ride to make it a game that motorbike enthusiasts can get excited about. Whether that will translate into a good game remains to be seen.