RIDE, the brand new motorcycle racing experience from Milestone, offers you a chance to delve deep and submerge yourself into the world of motorbike racing. A departure from the usual Milestone formula, RIDE takes a big step in the right direction.
RIDE eases you in slowly; clear, precise menus and a rider profile are waiting to set you up for the road ahead. If you’re not familiar with motorcycle racing, there is a tutorial explaining racing lines, shifting weight, front and back braking and tucking into corners – it’s all there. For a newcomer, RIDE really does explain itself well. Your customised rider comes complete with a squeaky clean set of leathers, stylish urban clothing and even an array of funky his and hers hairstyles.
At first glance RIDE is exciting, slick and fresh. With a game-title shouted in capitals RIDE needs to impress, and with the amount of motorcycles and manufacturers on offer it certainly does. There are over a hundred motorbikes to collect from Ducati, Kawasaki, Triumph, Suzuki and Yamaha to name but a few. Each one is highly detailed, and when entering the in-game photo mode these machines look pretty incredible – not hitting the DRIVECLUB level of detail but still beautiful all the same. There’s not a huge difference in handling between bikes, but belting down a straight and releasing the throttle as you tuck into a sharp hairpin bend certainly feels that bit riskier the more powerful the machine you’re mounted on. As with car simulators the only real way to taste the true sense of speed is opting for the different helmet cams. Tossing from corner to tight corner leaning in feels so smooth, you can really enjoy the physics of these brutal machines. Racing in RIDE feels spot on and can’t be faulted. Don’t think you’re going to be thrown off these powerful machines with ease. RIDE wants you to enjoy their races and tries to keep you seated as much as possible. Because of this we have a bike simulator/racer that can be enjoyed by anyone.
RIDE brings in different locations by the atlas-full. Descending countryside lanes, Speedway circuits and full on racing circuits, it’s a mammoth and varied journey ahead that makes each ride an interesting one. Visually the track and locations unfortunately don’t have the same detail and excitement that the bikes display. Stadiums and venues do look rather static and lack excitement. If you want epic looking lush forest locations wait for Uncharted.
Where RIDE departs from other Milestone releases is the different types of races you need to take part in. World Tour is the game’s single player mode. Events consists of head-to-head races, drag races which require perfect gear changes, timed races and even overtaking events which really make RIDE an interesting and varied game. There are also Championship rounds, and new racer name titles to unlock. There are subcategories of each of the eight modes, and a further elite set of races to complete. In single player mode, placing first, second and third gains you credit and reputation points, and credits can be spent on upgrades and buying new bikes. Each new upgrade displays the new super powers whether it be Engine, Transmission, Brakes or Wheels. The more races you win the more credits you earn and the quicker you can get your machine to scream like a banshee. Each event can be entered by simply purchasing the appropriate motorcycle. Reputation points see you climb the in-game leader boards. Trophies are awarded for climbing this golden ladder, and talking of trophies Milestone have given you a very easy platinum trophy to race for.
Unfortunately slowing the action down to a halt are the intrusive loading times. We get rather spoiled wanting games to load quicker than a Kawasaki H2R. Loading screens displaying in-depth overviews and manufacturer history can take the sting out of the wait. Also the menu soundtrack helps, this music a better choice than some of the guitar-shredding anthems heard in-game.
Once you’re dipped into the single player mode RIDE also has another avenue to head down and that’s online. Here you can impress and leave your online opposition for dust or slam into a tree. With so many options to mess with each race can be as hard or easy as you want.
Milestone have delivered a huge new biking experience crammed with content, motorcycles and a fresh new racing path to race down. Only niggling slow load times and some lifeless stadiums spoil the fun. RIDE is deep enough for your motorbike racing fanatic yet accessible for the less educated rider. Part sim, all fun, get on your bike.
Lizard rating 8/10