Game review: Ride
Platform: Xbox One (reviewed) / Playstation 4 / Xbox 360 / Playstation 3 / PC
IF the reverence for motorcycling has long been underrepresented in the medium of gaming, Ride goes some way to remedying that historic fault single handedly. A hybrid of arcade style presentation and finely tuned simulation, it is a fine incarnation of the sport that rises above its numerous little foibles to deliver an enjoyable experience for motorsport aficionados.
Milestone is gradually carving out a niche as a developer with a steady hand for all things two wheeled. Its games may not enjoy the handsome budgets seen elsewhere and, consequently, lack more than a little spit and polish. But it has demonstrated an innate understanding of how to translate the most important factor in any self-respecting racing title: physics.
The customisation options allow you take full control, even if it is treacherous at times
By the standard of major driving games, the ability to hone and modify your rider and his charge may seem unremarkable, but applying them to a bike feels fresh. From the early stages where Milestone take you by the hand on a forgiving canter, to the pro-physics set-up which demands pinpoint accuracy and control, the scope of the challenge the game provides is wide.
It comes into its own when you throw caution to the wind and opt for the masochistic combination of manual gears and front and rear tyres that brake independent of one another. At first, you will end up dusting yourself down from the gravel repeatedly, but give it time and you will appreciate a steep but rewarding difficulty curve.
Ride looks inelegant and last-gen in places but the visuals only detract so much
The passage of time will not, however, allow you turn a blind eye to the game’s inelegant visuals. The background scenery barely warrants a mention while the textures and lighting feel distinctly last-gen in places. Die hard motorcycling fans will also bemoan the fact this is not a fully licenced title, despite the inclusion of well-known bike manufacturers such as Suzuki and Yamaha.
The experience of Milestone is beginning to pay off, for this is arguably its best motorcycling game to date. Familiar issues such as graphic and an overly earnest presentation style remain in situ, but scrape away all the cosmetics and you are left with a dependable and enjoyable racer.
TIPS AND TRICKS:
It may sound obvious but braking before you come into a corner is vital if you are not to be thrown off your bike.
Don’t put off buying upgrades for your bike in World Tour mode; very early on, you will need to boost your machine in order to remain competitive.
The AI racers tend not to move out the way even if you are approaching from behind at speed and threatening to lap them; make room and give them a wide berth.