As the next generation of consoles start to mature, we are seeing more and more racing games being released. In just a short time we received two “triple A” racing games, DriveClub and Project CARS, both being received relatively well. While the next Need for Speed game loops in the near future, Bandai Namco jumped into the game with the release of Ride to round out the racing experiences available on the consoles. Ride is a motorcycle racing game that leans towards the simulation side of racing titles and directly competes with MotoGP or other games like that. Ride is a very clean, sharp looking and running simulation game. It does a great job, but the question still remains, is this game the next “must-own” racing title of the year?
The short answer to that question, is probably not, but there are some things about this game that may be worth a shot, especially if you are a motorcycle racing fan. Something you will notice almost immediately is that there is a ton of content right out of the box. You’ll have access to tons of tracks, motorcycles, racers and more. In addition, each bike has a ton of different tune ups and upgrades to make every bike you ride, truly your own. There is a lot of content here so you’ll have a hard time saying that you had nothing to do while playing the game. This doesn’t make it a great game, but it does attempt to give you your money’s worth and that has to be acknowledged.
One other strong point for the game is how customizable the experience is. As we mentioned above, every bike has a ton of upgrades and the game will give you a suggested path of upgrades for your bike. It will show you how the upgrade will effect the bike’s performance and will even show you what it looks like installed. Most games just give you a menu of options and gamers will just save up and buy everything, however, in Ride, not every upgrade is worth the price and some upgrades will not make your bike better or will conflict with other upgrades. This lets you tune your bike exactly the way you want it. You can also upgrade your rider with different character models, new racing suits and even new liveries. Getting into the core of the game and making it your own really helps the experience appeal to everyone and Ride does this well.
In the game there are several different terrains in which you can take your newly customized bike on the road. The terrain varies between forest tracks, mountainous tracks and even a few urban landscapes which keeps things interesting. In addition, there are several tracks that were inspired by the Grand Prix which gives those experiences a more simulation oriented experience. The game does a nice job at mixing things up enough to keep you racing and not presenting the same ride over and over again. There is a good mix of terrain and it pushes your ability to handle your bike and it gives you a reason to customize and tune your bike for a certain terrain.
From a visual perspective, the game runs fairly well. The graphics look great and are presented in a smooth 1080p which is the industry standard. The graphics were smooth and we did not experience any visual or technical glitches during our experiences with the game. It was a fairly smooth visual experience which is always a good thing, especially with racing games. The sound design of the game was also strong and it delivered an encompassing experience for those willing to try the game. The game took samples of real motorcycles which gave the game’s version a realistic sounding quality which worked well with the game. Overall, the game presented quite well and performed as you would expect a modern game to which was a good thing.
Unfortunately, there were a few small issues that held this game back from being a top rated game. To start, the load times felt extra long and added a lot of time on to your experience. With the modern gaming systems being the way they are, there shouldn’t be a reason to have such lengthy load times, but in this game they are present. In addition, the difficulty of the game seems a bit off. The game’s AI racers can be punishing at times which is never a good thing. It feels like you have to master the game before you can be competitive which is way too far down the learning curve for most gamers. Though there is a way to adjust the difficult, it still doesn’t work quite right and you’ll have to spend a good amount of time with the game before you start winning races.
Overall, Ride is a solid racing experience. Though not many gamers are into motorcycle racing, it does a great job at presenting the game to you in a way that is interesting and fun. There are a few issues with the game which includes a punishing difficulty and long load times, which will more than likely turn you off to the game. These issues tend to take center stage when you are playing the game and it can turn you off before you really get going. It was a shame because there was a good game underneath its issues, but because these problems were so prevalent, it was sunk before it even got going. Hopefully, they learn their lessons from this game and apply it to the next.
This review is based on a review copy of the Xbox One version of Ride developed by Bandai Namco Games.
- Great Presentation
- Nice Visuals
- Solid Performance
- Crushing Difficulty
- Lengthy Load Times