When it comes to racing, there's a raw thrill… An adrenaline rush that can't be explained. In terms of gaming, it's a genre that's much beloved and for good reason, whether it be arcade-style or simulation-based. Italian developer Milestone is no stranger to the racing genre, and last year it put out a motorcycle-sim racer called RIDE. One year later and here we are with more motorcycle racing goodness. The question is, though: is this a ride worth tagging along on?
RIDE 2 is a full-on, simulation-based racing game. In a sense, it's almost like a Gran Turismo for motorcycles. That being said, don't raise your expectations to something of that calibre. You will start the game by creating your own character and choosing a bike that best defines you. From here, you will have several modes to partake in, the meat of it all being within the World Tour mode. This will consist of entering numerous Season Events where you will have to purchase bikes to use for specific competitions. Championships will let you take on several consecutive races when completing Season Events. There's also Team vs Team, in which you need to reach certain popularity from Season Events to enter. The main method of progression is climbing the World Ranking ladder. You earn Reputation Points based on the position that you place.
Season Events being the main progression mode, it's not strictly single races that you'll have to take on. The developer has implemented a variety of race types to keep things fresh. Some examples are Time Trials, Pair Racing, and Perfect Trajectory. Time Trials are your typical race around the track earning the fastest time. Pair Racing has you teaming up with another racer and earning points for the both of you to determine your final pole position. Perfect Trajectory has you racing through a segment of a track as fast as possible while staying perfectly within the cones. If you hit a cone, you get a huge time penalty. Honestly, this mode is probably the most enjoyable one of the bunch.
The core racing mechanics themselves are solid, and as mentioned, land in the simulation-based feel. The game oozes customisation content in making your bikes improve dramatically, which is great. The main concern is that the racing is just not all that exciting. The game works and functions just fine for what it's conveying. However, races are kind of a drag and the AI is bit more on the unfair side, even on the lower difficulty settings. The game also contains a Rewind feature. Make a mistake or fly off your bike and you can simply rewind the game time to take another try at where you made your mistake to fix. It's a neat feature, and one that helps ease the frustration of flipping off the bike after taking the lead. You have unlimited uses for this feature and there's no penalty for using it, which is a good thing.
The game does feature online modes like its predecessor. You can either do single races or championships with up to 12 players. It all works well, but it's fairly standard fare. We did have trouble trying to find matches, however, due to a low player population.
Visually, RIDE 2 is a fairly nice looking game. Bikes have an immensely detailed appearance, riders animate well, and environments look pretty nice. There's nothing jaw-dropping per se, but what is here is nice. The bikes have varied audio that give authenticity to each respective bike. The soundtrack in place is suitable, with the main menu music being fairly memorable and in-game music leaning on more generic.
RIDE 2 is a game for motorcycle enthusiasts without question. However, it's a game that is lacking in excitement for the material it covers. There's a great amount of content and production values, but not a whole lot of hook to the gameplay to keep you drawn in. While die-hard motorcycle racing enthusiasts may find some enjoyment, few else will be enticed.