Content Type: Gaming Reviews
Date: May 4, 2017
Ride 2 is a motorbike arcade racing game available from retail stores and for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4. Milestone has a history of exceptional sports games, although they have been especially prolific with multiple iterations throughout various forms of motorbike racing from SBK to MotoGP to Motocross, but how does Milestone’s sequel to the promising beginning of the Ride series stack up in comparison to its predecessor?
The game begins with some rider customisation which allows you to customise your rider data from your rider’s personal data including their gender, first name, surname, nationality and a choice of 4 skin colours, although the finer details of rider customisation such as facial models, hair colours, hairstyles and race or casual rider gear from the first Ride are nowhere to be found. However, further changes can be made to your rider in the My Rider feature as you can adjust your rider’s appearance with an exhaustive amount of helmet designs, visors, gloves, racing suits, knee sliders and boots. There are also 100 badges to earn as rewards for achieving specific objectives and a variety of Ride bonuses activated from earning tokens such as being rewarded with 15% bonus credits for participating in a race or championship. Despite the extensive range of rider appearance customisation; the largest area of all within the My Rider feature has to be utilising the racing style editor to meticulously create your own unique sporty and supermoto riding styles. Both riding styles can be fully customised throughout a series of 18 sliders between a maximum of 5, 10 or 20 in value which can be calibrated to your preferences with every small alteration showcased via the rider positioned next to the menu and a further 4 additional options which are collectively spread across leaning posture, leaning aerodynamic position and additional gestures which provides a personal touch that your rider is just as unique as anybody else’s, alongside a choice of 7 victory celebrations.
The tutorial allows the player to learn the basics of the game during a race environment with important guidance such as how to follow the best line throughout each straight and corner of the track in order to gain the highest grip levels and best acceleration; applying the brakes after a high-speed straight; and how to steer your bike.
Before entering into the first race of your career; you will start out with a choice of 4 motorbikes which offer varying attributes including maximum power, maximum torque, displacement, cylinders, weight, acceleration, braking power, top speed and handling which can all be customised. The bike customisation has been expanded in comparison to the first game as it now spans over 1,200 parts and over 600 liveries which makes it even more reminiscent to that of the original Gran Turismo as you start off with the basic form of the bike and progressively improve it via a variety of categories including engine; transmission; brakes and suspension; appearance; and wheels, while every category has its own components which can be upgraded with in-game currency referred to as credits which are earned by completing races as high up the field as possible. For instance the upgradeable engine components includes the cylinder head porting, electronic control unit, air filter, exhaust and high quality oil with every component within each category having the potential to increase acceleration, braking power, top speed or handling from their initial quality of around between 5 to 7 gradually improving towards the maximum quality of 10 as well as increasing the maximum power, maximum torque and some component upgrades even reducing the weight of the bike.
The World Tour is based upon a World Ranking system in which you will start in 301st position and have to earn reputation points by completing races as high up the field of 16 riders as possible in order to progress through the ranks in what is essentially Ride 2’s equivalent of gaining XP and levelling up. The World Tour has been restructured as it now spans multiple seasons through season events with every season comprising of 8 races, therefore you choose the events you want to participate within that are available to enter at that moment. There are four sets of events including Urban Style, Street Icons, Hyper Sport and Pro Racing with each set of events having an amateur, rookie and expert difficulty, although rookie and expert are only unlocked after a certain amount of medals are earned from the previous difficulty. Each set of events includes between 4 to 8 event categories such as Endurance, Heritage, Naked Bikes, Road Racing, Sportbikes, Street Icons, Supermoto, Supersports and Two Stroke Bikes with some event categories having multiple event categories due to varying bike attributes required for entry which also results in you having to purchase or hire a bike that is eligible for the respective event.
Additional variety is provided in the form of different event types such as 3 lap single races; completing a lap within only a strict number of laps in time attack; head-to-head races sees the player having to overtake their rival as quickly as possible within a set time limit on a track day which is open to the public followed by holding your position; track days require a certain amount of overtakes within a set time limit; and drag races are knockout tournaments which requires the player to shift through the gears manually to maximise their top speed in order to cross the finishing line ahead of the opposing rider in each round of the competition. Further event types include perfect trajectory which tasks players to beat the record lap time following a suggested racing line without receiving a penalty; pairs races combine together points from teams of riders with the team earning the highest points tally winning the race; point to point races involve competing in a sector of a longer race track in an effort to make the podium; and endurance is a test of consistency over a much longer race with a Le Mans style start.
Invitational events are essentially an overhauled version of Elite Trophies from the first Ride and are initially locked, but can be unlocked depending upon your World Ranking at the end of each season, although only one of those unlocked can be raced in at the end of each season. Invitational events are single races with a huge amount of credits and a choice of two bikes to select one from as a prize available as rewards for winning each invitational event.
Championships are gradually unlocked by your performance in the World Tour events such as the Superbikes Golden Age championship requiring 23 medals to be earned from the Urban Style Expert World Tour event with a total of 12 championships to unlock containing between four and six races per championship.
Team vs. Team mode comprises of 8 riders spread across two teams with both teams attempting to accumulate the most points from the finishing positions of their four riders in a 3 lap race. There are ten Team vs. Team events, although the first event is only unlockable as soon as you have reached the appropriate rider position in the World Ranking system, while every event thereafter is unlocked not only by your rider position, but also your team position which improves as your team wins each Team vs. Team event. Team vs. Team also offers rewards for winning each event including a fair amount of credits and a choice of two bikes to select one from as a prize.
Quick Mode provides the opportunity of racing on a single track in a race against 15 opponents with a selection of your chosen bike or alternatively purchasing or renting a bike in which renting will only be for the duration of the race and while it is free to rent a bike it will offer no prizes at the end of the event, alongside any of the 27 tracks and retaining the freedom to adjust the race length from 1, 3, 7, 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 laps, A.I. difficulty and full customisation of riding assists to your ideal preferences.
Another major feature of the Quick Mode is time trials in which you attempt to set your fastest lap time to post on the online leaderboards with a choice of a ghost time of your personal best lap time around your chosen track, alongside all of the customisable riding assists and the full quota of tracks to select from.
There are more bikes than the previous Ride with over 200 officially licensed bike models provided by 20 motorcycle manufacturers including Aprilia, Bimota, BMW, Cagiva, Ducati, Energica, Honda, Horex, Husqvarna, Kawasaki, KTM, Lightning, Magni, Mr Martini, MV Agusta, Suzuki, TM Racing, Triumph, Yamaha and more besides, while there are also new bike categories that were not present in the first Ride such as Two Strokes, Supermoto and Café Racers with further bikes and motorcycle manufacturers added via downloadable content.
Ride 2’s tracks provide a truly globetrotting adventure for players with over a dozen countries with each track mostly having multiple track variations for a total of 54 tracks which is quite exceptional, although it would have been great to have the challenge of the Manx TT course. Tracks and locations include Nürburgring Nordschleife and Nürburgring GP – Strecke, Germany; Ulster Grand Prix Circuit – Dundrod and International North West 200, Northern Ireland; Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Pista South Milano – Ottobiano, Castelletto Circuit, Autodromo di Franciacorta – Daniel Bonara, Autodromo Vallelunga “Piero Taruffi”, Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari Imola, Stelvio National Park and Milan, Italy; Macau; Donington Park 2014 track variations and North Wales, Great Britain; Road America, Sierra Nevada and Miami, USA; Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours and French Riviera, France; Circuito de Almeria, Spain; Potrero de los Funes Circuit, Argentina; Sportsland Sugo and Kanto Temples, Japan; Hellenic Towers, Greece; Viking Valley, Norway; and Eastern Mountains, Indonesia.
Weather conditions have been introduced in Ride 2 including wet weather races with heavy rain falling during the race and cloudy with sunshine in addition to the standard dry races. Having the choice of wet weather or sunset is a positive step up from the previous game, although they are only available on certain tracks and there is no further customisation such as not being able to have a wet track from rain that had fallen prior to the start of the race but no rain during the race, cloudy with a chance of rain, light rain or dynamic weather. Most importantly of all; there is no day-night cycle which does not make any sense given the amount of high profile night races that take place in a variety of motorsports formulas.
The bike setup can be changed prior to the start of the race which can potentially provide a significant performance advantage if you experiment enough in an attempt to absolutely perfect your bike setup for each track. The bike setup allows players to change the suspension by adjusting the spring stiffness, preload, compression damping and rebound damping for the front and rear of the bike and changing the gears by selecting any quantity between 1 and 6 for all 6 gears and the final gear ratio, while there are options to save, load or delete your preferred bike setups and to return your bike setup to the default factory settings.
There are 6 excellently positioned camera angles including the third-person camera closely positioned behind the rider accompanied by two additional camera angles positioned further back to provide three views of the bike and the track surface up ahead amongst the surrounding environments, while first-person camera angles include a camera mounted just behind the handlebars; a driver’s eye perspective through the visor of the crash helmet; and a camera mounted to the front of the bike looking ahead without showing any of the bike. Even though the camera angles are positioned at appropriate distances for first and third-person perspectives; there is no optional re-positioning of the camera angle to bring it closer to or further away from the bike as has been expertly utilised in WRC 4 on Vita and MXGP on PS3 with a slide bar that could be moved 20 clicks further forwards or backwards from the rider to customise a third-person perspective that is suited to your preferences, although the focus of every gameplay camera angles except for the camera looking ahead from the front of the bike can be adjusted in order to look to the left, right, below or behind the rider.
You can watch a full race replay with the ability to watch in slow motion, pause, fast forward, rewind, view telemetry graphs, change the camera angles for a different view of the action and to view the action from the previous or next rider, restart the replay as well as the ability to enter the free camera feature which works in perfect harmony with the PS4’s share feature in producing incredible screenshots. You can view the replay from 8 camera angles including 5 of the 6 gameplay camera angles with two third-person camera angles instead of three, while there is an additional first-person perspective positioned just above the front of the bike reminiscent to that of a bonnet view on a car, alongside a camera angle situated to the side of the crash helmet and a dynamic camera angle positioned away from the bike with the TV camera angle changing from camera to camera in the style of Gran Turismo. It would be great to see the camera mounted to the side of the crash helmet and the Gran Turismo style dynamic TV coverage; make the transition to being playable as you are riding as they are that good and would further complement the immersion within the authenticity of the racing experience.
There are multiple downloadable content packs available including four free packs each containing two new bikes, an Aprilia and Suzuki bonus pack and a Kawasaki and Ducati bonus pack both containing two new bikes costing £3.29 each in addition to Exotic, Rising Sun, Ducati and Limited Edition bike packs containing six new bikes per pack costing for £4.99 each. A season pass effectively allows players to pre-order each of the 8 content packs including 39 bikes and 20 crash helmet designs at a cheaper bundled price of £24.99.
It is disappointing not to see Milestone’s Ride 2 or any of their recent games release on Vita since the release of MXGP and MotoGP 14 in 2014 after a total of six excellent retail releases on Vita, although the consolation is remote play. The performance during remote play is excellent as the graphics, audio and general performance are the same quality as the PS4 version, while the control scheme has been optimised resulting in the accelerator being moved from R2 to the bottom right of the touch screen and braking has moved from L2 to the bottom left of the touch screen. Acceleration and braking would have perhaps been better suited to the R and L buttons respectively, especially as you may have to lift your thumb from steering with the left analogue stick to brake or learn to manage the steering and braking simultaneously which can be awkward without when manually braking, but is fine when utilising the brake assist. Further control optimisations include changing the camera naturally being re-mapped from the touch pad to the centre of the touch screen and looking behind the rider has moved to the rear touch pad. I had the best remote play experience with Ride 2 after creating a custom control scheme in which acceleration was re-mapped to R1 with braking moving to L1 and switching chat from R1 to the bottom right of the touch screen and moving rewind from L1 to the bottom left of the touch screen; therefore providing a comfortable control scheme much better suited to the racing genre.
The controls are suitably mapped to the DualShock 4 controller and are fully customisable. The default control scheme consists of pressing R2 to accelerate; pressing L2 to use the front brake or reverse; pressing L1 to rewind following a crash or loss of direction; pressing X to use the rear brake; pressing O to manually shift up a gear; pressing square to manually shift down a gear; pressing triangle to tuck-in for the best aerodynamic positioning of your rider; moving the direction of the left analogue stick to the left or right to steer your bike in that direction; moving the direction of the left analogue stick forwards or backwards to appropriately distribute your rider’s weight; moving the direction of the right analogue stick to the left, right or downwards to focus the camera in that direction; pressing R3 to view behind your rider; pressing up or down the d-pad to increase or decrease TCS; pressing left on the d-pad to view the telemetry; pressing R1 to chat in online multiplayer; pressing L3 to view chat status in online multiplayer; pressing the options button to display the pause menu; and pressing the share button takes you to the share feature menu.
Despite the customisable control scheme; there is no way of mapping the steering to the gyroscopic motion sensing functionality and the touch pad can only be mapped to once instead of the left and right sides having their own purpose. It is surprising as the gyroscopic motion sensing functionality could have provided an alternative steering method to the left analogue stick, while the touch pad implementation is under utilised as it only changes the camera angle, whereas an optional control scheme from MotoGP 13 on Vita included tapping the appropriate side of the rear touch pad to shift up or down a gear. The light bar produces shades of white for a neutral gear on the starting grid, while green ensures a low gear ratio as the rider is safely within the gear, yellow represents a medium gear ratio to show the rider should start preparing to shift up a gear shortly, orange signifies that it is time to shift up a gear at the end of the gear ratio and a pulsating red shows that a gear shift is immediately required due to revving to the maximum within that gear. There is a lot of vibration from the DualShock 4 controller which certainly adds to the immersion of shifting through the gears, making contact with other bikes, running off wide into a gravel trap, scrapes with the trackside barriers and crashes resulting in your rider struggling to hold onto his bike or falling off his bike.
Graphically, Ride 2 takes everything positive from its predecessor such as the exceptional bikes and animations, while building upon it as there is no longer pop-in and pop-out of trees situated trackside with texture imperfections that were previously occurring in the first Ride on PS3 also having been eliminated; creating a much better immersion as the environments you are racing within are now free of such distractions and looks incredibly picturesque as a result to compliment the consistent performance.
The presentation of the game is solid with a great user interface across various menus such as the main menu, World Tour menus, Quick Mode menus, online multiplayer menus, online leaderboards, My Rider menus, options menus and gameplay menus with support for navigation via the left analogue stick, directional pad and face buttons, although it does not include support for navigation via the right analogue stick or touch pad. The background of the main menu focuses on panning and rotating camera angles of your chosen motorbike and rider. However, loading times are much faster in comparison to the first Ride on PS3, while being complimented by a fully modelled bike that can be rotated as though it was new on a showroom floor and a detailed history of the bike you are riding being displayed during loading screens to make any brief wait rather effortless.
A British actress named Sophie Colquhoun provides natural and informative voice-overs introducing new elements to the game throughout the tutorial and key areas of the game you are yet to venture into beforehand such as an introduction for choosing your first bike and event categories are rather helpful and effective. The most impressive improvement in sound effects has to be the ambience that was previously quite flat in Ride on PS3, but is now buzzing with excitement and atmosphere from the crowd in a realistic fashion resulting in hearing the crowd as you approach and pass them which is complimented by accurate bike engines that even change when riding through condensed areas such as tunnels and crashes, while the soundtrack consists of a variety of soft to heavy instrumental rock music. There is surprisingly no DualShock 4 speaker implementation, although it could have produced any layer of audio such as bike engines, collisions or ambience during races or even voice-overs or music during menus and introductions.
The trophy list includes 36 trophies with 20 bronze trophies, 10 silver trophies, 5 gold trophies and 1 platinum trophy. Easier trophies include the Time Traveller bronze trophy for using a rewind for the first time in any game mode; the You Can Call Me… bronze trophy for unlocking your first rider badge; the Slightly Better bronze trophy for unlocking your first Ride bonus; and the Boosted silver trophy for reaching the podium in a single race World Tour event with a pre-modified bike. There are five trophies that require an online connection which are realistically achievable including the See You Tomorrow silver trophy for completing three daily challenges; the Try and Beat This bronze trophy for recording a valid lap time in time trial mode and uploading it to the online leaderboards; the Hello World bronze trophy for completing your first online race; the Online Champion bronze trophy for completing an online championship; and the Silver silver trophy for completing 25 online races, while there is also the Top or Bottom bronze trophy for completing a split-screen multiplayer race that requires two DualShock 4 controllers. Harder trophies include the Team Number 1 silver trophy for reaching first in the team standings; The Best gold trophy for unlocking all Ride bonuses; and the Best in the World gold trophy for reaching first place in the World Tour rankings leaderboard. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 20 to 25 hours to platinum the trophy list.
There are 5 difficulty levels including very easy, easy, medium, hard and realistic with the major differences between each of the difficulty levels from very easy up to realistic is that very easy A.I. will remain on a fixed racing line and are easier to overtake in comparison to realistic A.I. which provides far more aggressive A.I. that are much harder to overtake due to their faster pace and the ability to vary their racing lines to increase the possibility of overtaking their opposition, but most impressively of all is that they are equally as capable of pushing the boundaries of their pace just a little too much resulting in going off track or crashing. There are further factors involved in the difficulty level besides the A.I. as there are 3 physics settings including standard, semi-pro and pro which increases the corresponding difficulty curve as the 3 physics settings each provide totally different handling. The standard physics feel more arcade oriented with a much lower chance of crashing when you have become accustomed to the handling, while the semi-pro physics strikes a balance between standard and pro physics as the pro physics are far more realistic and fully depend upon you perfecting the weight distribution of your rider and precision braking throughout every corner of the track, although the rewind mechanic can reduce the difficulty by being able to rewind back to before a crash occurred. Between the 5 difficulty levels, 3 physics settings and plenty of riding assists which can be turned on or off; players have full customisation over the degree of challenge they wish to encounter during any game mode in single player, split-screen and online multiplayer.
Split-screen multiplayer supports two players and performs well as it retains the speed and graphical fidelity of the single player with all of the tracks, bikes and race options available for selection providing for an entertaining local multiplayer experience, although it is essentially a port of the split-screen multiplayer found in the PS4 version of Ride as it lacks refinement in comparison other than the inclusion of wet weather and no camera angles being removed. By not building upon the split-screen multiplayer of the previous game in most areas; it still has the same limitations of having no race replays, no championships, no variation in game modes besides racing, only 4 A.I. controlled riders and even the improvement of wet weather conditions comes with the unnecessary optimisation of rain droplets having been removed in favour of a damp track, while split-screen is still limited to only the Quick Mode as you cannot play any of the World Tour or the online equivalent co-operatively or competitively.
The performance during online multiplayer is just as good as single player with the same sense of speed, graphics, up to 12 players and the capability of A.I. fleshing out the field. The premise is a play on the World Rankings as players gain points and even credits for a strong finishing position, although a poor result will see players lose some of their points which provides an excellent risk and reward factor during online multiplayer gameplay.
Hosting a lobby allows the player to customise their lobby with a choice of a single race or championship with additional options including bike category; the amount of races contained within a championship; race length; the physics from a free choice for each player to a set standard, semi-pro or pro physics; semi-automatic, manual or a free choice of transmission; track selection policies for random selection or voting; A.I. difficulty between very easy, easy, medium, hard, realistic or no A.I. opponents; collisions; off track aid; and privacy settings for a public or private lobby.
The replayability is produced from an excellent set of features including the plethora of World Tour events, Invitational events, Championships, Team vs. Team events, 9 event types, Quick Mode, 54 officially licensed tracks and over 200 bikes, perfecting your rider’s unique riding style, extensive bike customisation elements provided by earning credits to enhance a bike’s specification and wet weather conditions. Split-screen and online multiplayer is also complimented by online leaderboards in the form of fastest lap time trials as well as daily and weekly challenges that work in harmony to present the finishing touches to create a game which will have players returning for dozens of hours.
- Title: Ride 2
- Developer: Milestone
- Publisher: Milestone
- System: PS4
- Format: PS4 Blu-Ray Disc/PSN Download
- Cross-Buy: No
- Cross-Play: No
- Players: 1-2 (Split-Screen Multiplayer)/2-12 (Online Multiplayer)/Online Leaderboards
- Hard Drive Space Required: 32.54GB (PS4 Blu-Ray Disc) 32.54GB (PSN Download)