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July 20, 2004
Riding Spirits 2 - Review
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Sponsorship in its place!
Okay I confess to not knowing too much about motorbikes. I wouldn’t have a clue when it comes to front forks, steering dampers or shifters. You’ve probably guessed right about now that I’m not a mechanic so I won’t bore you with the technical lingo that this game can dish out. Riding Spirits 2 is the sequel to the very respectable but not very well known Riding Spirits. Spike have modeled their 2-wheeled simulation on the very popular Gran Turismo franchise with lots of bikes and the ability to tweak every little component to make your bike that much better than the competition.

Gamers can now take to the road with faithfully reproduced motorcycles from famous European manufacturers such as Ducati, Aprilla, Triumph and BMW in addition to top models from Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Suzuki plus Japan's most famous tune shops Yoshimura and Moriwaki. And with engine sizes from 250cc to over 1000cc available Riding Spirits 2 boasts an awesome 330 bikes, that can be raced in 40 categories around 15 courses from across the globe, including Suzuka and Twin Link Motegi. With 40 different customizable elements from tuning, tires and suspension to color and even the indicators Riding Spirits 2 certainly has the depth to match any racing simulation.

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A very close race...
Riding Spirits 2 offers a wide variety of game modes including your standard arcade and versus mode, ‘Battle 100’ mode which is when you verse one hundred other riders for the best ranking, and ‘Riding Spirits’ mode which is where you win prize money for winning races and you can also purchase new bikes and improve and tweak your old bikes. You can race off-road as well as street circuits, courses and racetracks.

Before you run out to the shops and buy this game you need to know about the pitfalls. Firstly the sound is terrible. The designers have gone high-tech with its MRSS (Motorcycle Real Sound System) that supposedly recreates the realistic engine sounds for all the bikes. In theory it sounds like a great idea but to have to listen to it for longer than twenty seconds is like listening to the latest batch of Australian Idol wannabies. Luckily enough you can turn the sound effects volume down in the options menu.

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One of the many bikes.
Visually, Riding Spirits 2, offers a mixed bag. Some tracks look stunning in the foreground of a breathtaking sunset while other courses are fairly bland and looked like they were developed by novice programmers. One pleasing aspect was to notice that the crowd element on the side of the roads in some races weren’t flat like some other games I’ve played. As you can see I look out for the more important aspects of the racing! Okay I crashed a lot.

Crashing does have its downside as it takes an eternity for the rider to get back on their bike and restart from a respectable position. Taking your time around corners is a must and learning the lean trick is a very valuable commodity indeed. The bikes are very sensitive to your every movements and it’s nigh on impossible to steer your bike off road. What I did notice to be unrealistic was the crashes between bikes. When two bikes hit side on, most of the time all you hear the sound of a laptop dropping to the floor and no one stacking it. While other times you’ll stack it but the rider whom you clipped rides off into the sunset. What is cool is to have an accident at the start that takes out the rest of the field behind you. This only happened once but it was a highlight to see about 6 riders lying across the road with their bikes mangled.

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Some of the nice backgrounds.
Did I say mangled, I meant bright and shiny. Just like GT, this game has decided to stray away from the damage meter that I found to be very disappointing. It’s so hypocritical of games to come out and say that they will be trying to be realistic in everything they’re achieving but when it comes to scratching the merchandise it becomes a no go zone? I say forget about the image and think about the players – bring on the carnage!

Riding Spirits 2 is no Gran Turismo by any stretch of the imagination but it does have elements that will entice motorbike fanatics. I felt that it did get a bit repetitive and boring after awhile but I still enjoy taking a few of my bikes out for a spin. Overall motorbike enthusiasts should definitely have a look at this title.

Review By: Allen Wager

GRAPHICSSome tracks look great while others are very average.
SOUNDM.R.S.S (Motorcycle Real Sound System) is just painful.
GAMEPLAYChallenging, the physics engine takes a bit of adjusting.
VALUEOver 330 bikes, 15 tracks, 40 customizable options – a lot of value!
OVERALLRiding Spirits 2 tries hard to be realistic in every shape and form but is let down by some embarrassing sound and at times boring visuals. A solid game with something there for the diehard supporters.

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