Pre-order Ride 2
Released in Europe last fall, the motorcycle racing game Ride 2 is coming to North America next week, courtesy of publisher Square Enix. In anticipation of the release, Milestone met up with us for an hour to provide a quick overview of what to expect in the sequel.
Building on the first game, Ride 2 promises to resolve many of complaints voiced by players. Milestone said that player feedback was incredibly important to them, and the team has tried to incorporate as much as possible, including increasing the number and types of bikes available to play. This means more than 200 bikes from 20 different manufacturers will be available on day one. Cafe Racer and SuperMoto bikes have been added, and the number of low displacement and two-stroke bikes has been increased in order to make Ride 2 more accessible.
That doesn't mean the franchise is giving up its simulation roots. Much like Ride, Ride 2 features a full simulation engine underneath the hood. There are just a number of options that players can tweak to make things a little easier to handle. Aside from choosing 125cc bikes, which are naturally easier to control than their more powerful brothers, players will have the ability to join the brakes (so you don't have to apply front and back brakes separately), run the game on a simplified physics engine, or disable falls if you slide off the track and onto the grass. You can even have the game take over braking completely, if you choose.
Because Ride 2 is all about the bikes, a lot of work went into describing what's available. Each bike has its own description, along with each brand. You can read a short history of each manufacturer as well.
Bikes can be customized for performance, with the game sporting more than 1,200 different, real-world parts. Every custom part that can be fitted in-game can be fitted to the same bike in real life. Parts that can be upgraded and/or swapped out include the air filter, brakes, chain, ECU, engine, exhaust, gearbox, oil, shifter, and more. If you're a gearhead with an interest in bikes, there should be plenty here to keep your interest.
Unfortunately, Ride 2 does not allow you to customize your livery. For a game that is advertised as a motorcycle counterpart to the Forza Motorsport series, this is something of a disappointment, but Milestone explained that the lack of livery support isn't a technical issue; it's a licensing one. It seems that motorcycle manufacturers aren't nearly as keen on letting players customize their rides as car manufacturers. However, Ride 2 does feature a race modification option for some of the bikes (taking them from street legal to track-only specs), and those specific options have Milestone-designed custom liveries. Baby steps.
Customization options extend to your rider. You have the choice of a male or female rider and a full selection of real-world gear to choose from. There are five different outfits per player, two track sets, two road sets and one SuperMoto set. Having a distinct outfit comes into play with Ride 2's online system.
When going online, you can add friends as teammates. You can choose one right-hand man and two additional teammates. Once selected, these AI players are modeled after your friends, so they will wear the correct gear and drive like your friends, according to Milestone. That doesn't mean the standard AI is generic. Milestone promises more than 300 different AI riders that have their own set of bikes and skills. That means when you see a specific name across multiple races, the AI's behavior should remain consistent.
Location-wise, Ride 2 offers 30 different places to race, which compares favorably to the 15 locations in Ride. Those 30 locations end up as more than 50 distinct tracks, thanks to different layouts and conditions.
Motorcycles sometimes feel like an afterthought when it comes to racing games, so it's exciting to see a developer approach them with both passion and excitement. If Ride 2 can deliver on Milestone's promises, it could very easily fill an underserved niche.
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