There has been a distinct lack in several types of games in the last years. One of these lost genres has to be the moto-racing games that seemed to have their own niche audience back on the Play Station 2. Like all racing games, these moto-racing games were split between the realistic and (what I call) fantasy moto-racing games. These two groups are polar opposites and it is fairly easy to figure out which category a game will fall into simply by looking at a little bit of the gameplay. Personally, I always found the more fantastical games to be more fun due to the freedom and insanity that they have the potential to bring. The more realistic titles always have aspects more meant for serious motorbike fanatics that know what they are and what they mean. Unfortunately, more realistic doesn’t necessarily make it more fun, especially for casual players.
A large part of reaching for realism comes in the form of the actual gameplay. With something as exciting as racing around a track on a high-speed motorcycle, you’d think it be inherently interesting and easy to capitalize on. Ride 2 seems to prove that wrong with its too real controls that make riding a motorcycle feel like driving a bus. While I understand that real life riders can’t do anything crazy like turn super sharp at high speeds or anything, I also understand that this is supposed to be a video game to have fun in. Partially stemming from my own ignorance, I didn’t feel like I actually knew how to control the bike even after the game’s rather light tutorial. Once this lack of control gets mixed with the Forza-esque guideline that tells players where to drive and if they are going too fast or not, things can get very repetitive and boring instead of fast paced and intense. On top of this, the game doesn’t bother to explain all of the possible controls you can use, leaving the player in the dark a bit more than usual.
After realizing the core gameplay is fairly bland, I looked to the game’s multiple game modes to make up for it. Unfortunately, the game modes are all nearly identical and don’t do anything new or interesting to make Ride 2 stand out. There are several single player modes such as quick race, tournaments and such that all play the same but judge the player slightly differently. There is also a split screen mode so you and a friend can play follow-the-leader on motorcycles together. This can also be done online with friends for a custom match with rules set up by the host. If competing is more your thing, you may want to try the online tournaments or the game’s world tour mode that will have players driving around a decent amount of tracks.
Even if I didn’t find Ride 2 the most fun to play, I can admit that the number or tracks they have is admirable. With right around 30 tracks covering Grand Prix, country, road race, city, supermoto and even drag strips, Ride 2 boasts a fair number of venues to race around. Another plus would be the number and variety of bikes available to play with. While some may have some inconsistencies, most are true enough to life and have plenty of detail to impress most gamers. Claiming to have 170 bikes (I can’t say I counted) to choose from, Ride 2 may just have one of the largest virtual motorcycle garages out there. These bikes aren’t from made-up manufacturers or anything either, instead coming from a lot of well-known and distinguished real life manufacturers. Several of the locales in the game are easily recognizable as well, with the two most obvious examples being Miami and Nurburgring Nordschleife.
With all of these well-known bikes and places, it shouldn’t be surprising that Ride 2 is a fairly pretty game with smooth animations and pretty enough backgrounds. The art in the game really shines when players look at the bikes and the amount of detail put into them. I can’t stress it enough, the motorcycles in Ride 2 look really good and would impress most gamers without a doubt. It’s unfortunate that this attention to detail wasn’t brought to the world around the tracks since they are going to be looked at so often. I can’t speak too much to the accuracy of the noises the bikes make during the races or anything, but I can say that you will be hearing these noises an awful lot.
Even if Ride 2 has some impressive bits and bobs, I can not get over how little fun I had while I followed the line on the ground and attempted to get out-of-the-way of the A.I. racers that didn’t seem to care that they were about to drive into me. Without a fun core, I couldn’t find a reason to care about much else in the game and had trouble finding many nice things to say about the game. The various game modes don’t change enough to spice up the game and by striving for realism, Ride 2 alienates the casual gamer that just wants to sit down and race a motorcycle around a track at high speeds. Maybe I wasn’t the perfect person to review this game, but it’s my belief that games should try not to alienate such large portions of the community. This game may be perfect for some gear heads that are into bikes and such but I can’t speak to that too much. I think the most important thing to take from this is that high detail and ‘realistic’ gameplay does not necessarily make a fun game.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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