Ride Review – Bike Club (PS4)
Car enthusiasts have no shortage of racing games to play. From Forza to Gran Turismo, there are plenty of ways for virtual mechanics to tinker with cars and race them to their heart’s content. Sadly, motorcycles haven’t seen the same amount of love. Thankfully, Italian developer Milestone S.r.l. has been trying to fix this on their own as they’ve made several motorcycle titles, including the MotoGP and Superbike World Championship games. Their latest title is Ride, a title that looks to be the gold standard of motorcycle racing games.
The good news is that Milestone S.r.l. has absolutely nailed the feel of hopping on a powerful bike and racing it on a track. The racing is appropriately difficult to master, as its much easier to crash a motorcycle than a car. Every turn has to be taken with care, or you’ll quickly find your character flying across the track as he hits the pavement.
While the high learning curve would’ve been a turn-off from driving novices, they’ll be glad to know that there are plenty of assists and difficulty options that can be toggled on. These range from dynamic driving lines that will help you take the best paths on a course, to brake assists. With this many options and assists Ride can truly be played by everyone, from children who just want to go fast to motorcycle fanatics that want to manually shift gears.
As a long time fan of car racing simulators, I was excited to tackle a new type of challenge. It was very difficult at first since there is a lot of mechanics to juggle at once. When should I change my posture to a more aerodynamic pose? How much traction do I need for this track? These are all skills that are developed over time, and it was a very rewarding experience to learn.
The bulk of your experience will be in Ride‘s World Tour mode that acts as a hub for a number of racing events. Similar to Forza, you’ll have to own a specific type of bike in order to participate in different groups. For example, your modern superbike isn’t allowed to compete with naked bikes. This is a solid way of handling progression, as it encourages players to buy different types of bikes in order to see more of the game’s content.
Each type of bike will have a series of events to partake in. These range from standard races to challenges where you have to overtake a number of amateur racers on a track. There is a good amount of variety, and while I didn’t like all of the modes (specifically drag racing), they all added a nice twist to the experience. Whenever I was sick of racing the computer, I could easily do a time trial event. More racing titles need this level of variety.
As you do well in competitions, your racer’s world ranking will rise. At the start of the game there are 300 racers better than your rookie driver, so you have a lot of catching up to do. Higher rankings will help unlock special races called elite trophies. These special races have a special prize for winners – an exclusive bike! This adds a nice sense of progression to the World Tour, and gives players a goal to shoot for.
Sadly, Ride isn’t without its fair share of issues. The major one is the loading times between loading into a race and then back into the menus after you’ve completed one. We’re talking Vita launch title load times here. If you thought Wipeout 2048 took a long time to load, then you’ll rip your hair out waiting for Ride to load a race track. It really hurts the overall cohesiveness of the experience, but at least you’ll get to spend some time playing Threes! on your phone.
Another let down of the game is the lack of tracks. While 14 tracks, some with multiple configurations, seems like a decent amount, you’ll quickly get tired of seeing them. This might be a side effect of the game’s World Tour mode having a ton of content, as you’ll ride the 100+ bikes on these same tracks over and over again. Thankfully, the tracks that are there are fun to race on, so at least its repetitive fun.
It’s also worth mentioning that Ride doesn’t have a super active online presence. This could be due to the game releasing in Europe earlier in the year, so there is definitely a lack of players just now picking up the game. That said, there are still enough players to consistently get into races, so it’s not dead.
Ride is a great racing title from veteran studio Milestone S.r.l.. It manages to have depth for veteran players, while also being accessible to new racers. If you’re sick of driving cars, and want a new challenge then Ride will offer up a fun one to master.
Review code for Ride provided by publisher. Reviewed on PlayStation 4. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy here