Look at long history of racing games and you’ll find that bikers have always received the short end of the stick. Most bike games generally don’t receive the love of their four-wheel counterparts, which results in half-hearted bike games heading to retail. There have been one or two impressive bike games, but nothing has ever pulled back on the throttle to unleash the excitement motorbikes bring to the lives of many. Can RIDE 2 finally be that game?
It takes time, but it’s worth it
The original RIDE came out of nowhere and ended up being something that had potential. It was still very rough around the edges, but there were good signs in place for the future. RIDE 2 takes what was there and improves on it in just about every way. That said, these improvements are small baby steps, but it’s moving in the right direction for bike fans.
You’ll be a little confused when loading up RIDE 2. On-screen you’ll see a plethora of modes to jump into, but all except one is locked. The only mode you have access to is… Time Trials? Well yes. You see, in RIDE 2 you virtually start off with absolutely nothing. You have to build up enough credits to be able to afford your first bike. This requires you to do a good few laps in Time Trial to earn some credits. There is no explanation around it all, which was very confusing at first. The confusion doesn’t end there.
[pullquote_left]Once you’ve upgraded your bike you’ll return to the Season Events and, it’s at this point, that the game hits its own power band[/pullquote_left]Once you’ve got enough credits you’ll buy your first bike and head off to Season Events, under World Tour Events, to take part in what is in essence the career mode. By now you would have setup your team and biker with his or her own name and nationality, so you’ll be dead keen to finally do some racing instead of taking on the clock. Enter the amateur tier, and off you go! No, not quite. You’ll find that your bike really sucks and just can’t keep up with the pace of other bikes. As with Gran Turismo you’ll require to match a certain PP (performance points) level to challenge your rivals. Yes, that means your time here comes to an abrupt end as you need to be placed 3rd and up to qualify for the next season. Back you go to Quick Race mode to build enough credits to upgrade your bike.
Once you’ve taken part in 15-20 races you’ll have enough credits to finally upgrade your bike’s engine, transmission, brakes and suspension, appearance and wheels. The developers have not gone in-depth with it, but it’s engaging enough to feel like you’re doing something constructive with the credits you’ve earned. Once you’ve upgraded your bike you’ll return to the Season Events and, it’s at this point, that the game hits its own power band.
It’s filled with content and will last you a long time
There are over 170 bikes to collect. Disciplines include Supermoto, SuperBike, Heritage and any on-road bike type you can think of. There are over 30 tracks to compete on and it is the track selection in particular, along with a smooth control system, that makes RIDE 2 something special for bike enthusiasts. Forget for a moment that it’s graphically not on par with other big simulators, and that the sound needs a little bit of work – RIDE 2 is a lot of fun. Once you get past the teething stages you’ll have a blast, and I’m not even a bike fan.
[pullquote_right]From a single player perspective there’s much to enjoy, and you can also take on the daily and weekly challenges the developers have set up for you to tackle[/pullquote_right]The handling of the bikes feel great and with the clever track selection you’ll be racing on some of the top tracks in the world, including the Nürburgring, Imola, Donington and more. There are also some cross-country courses that brings something unique to the game. Hellenic Towers or Viking Valley is RIDE 2’s very own Trial Mountain or Deep Forest. These are original tracks that have been designed with bikes in mind. When you hit that perfect brake point to overtake two bikes it’s a fantastic feeling. There is much, much more to keep you going though.
After completing a season you’ll get the option to take part in invitational events, you can also enter championships, team vs. team races or take it online. I battled finding races online, but managed to give the split screen mode a go. Sadly the frame rate drops to well below 15FPS once the screen splits in two, and that all but tarnishes any hope of playing the game in multiplayer if you have a buddy in the room with you.
From a single player perspective there’s much to enjoy, and you can also take on the daily and weekly challenges the developers have set up for you to tackle. If you can look past the so-so graphics and presentation, and you happen to be a bike lover, then RIDE 2 is by far the most exciting on-road bike game money can buy. Just don’t expect it to perform a wheelie or endo in all categories.