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April 24 2015
Ride - PS4 Review
Release Distributer Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
27/3/2015FiveStarMilestone S.r.l.Milestone S.r.l.1-22-12
Version HDD Install Resolution Touchpad PS4 Exclusive OFLC Rating

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One of Ride's better looking tracks is Stelvio National Park in Italy.
It's fair to say that motorbikes really get the raw end of the stick when it comes to racing games. Even Polyphony Digital, who pump out Gran Turismo titles every few years and are regarded as one of the best racing game developers in the world, have only ever once dabbled with the two wheeled racer with Tourist Trophy on the PS2 almost a decade ago now.

Fortunately Italian developer Milestone S.r.l. has been keeping motorbike fans happy with their MotoGP titles, but now they turn to a non-licensed game allowing the developers to cover a range of manufacturers, track types and classes of motorbike.

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Racing in first person mode.
Indeed this title features 14 different motorbike manufacturers including Ducati, Aprilia, Honda, BMW, Suzuki, Yamaha and Kawasaki, and 114 different bikes to own and ride. Each of these bikes comes as a standard machine, but can be upgraded by spending in-game credits on items such as Engine (ECU, Air Filter, Cylinder Head Porting, Oil and Exhaust), Transmission (Gearbox, Quick Shifter, Chain), Brakes & Suspension (Brake Pads, Calipers, Braided Brake Lines, Suspension), Appearance (Turn Signals, Mirrors, Brake & Clutch Levers, Triple Clamps, Grips and Livery) and Wheels (Rims and Tyres). Many of these upgrades provide a boost in performance in categories such as Acceleration, Braking Power, Top Speed or Handling.

In terms of game modes the Quick Mode offers a Quick Race, Time Trial, Split Screen (for two players on a single console) and Tutorial all of which are pretty self-explanatory. Most of your time however will be spent in the World Tour which gives you a ranking and allows you to move up in classes of motorbikes, partake in different race types (which includes drag race, overtaking or standard races) and locations. It's even possible to customise your rider with new gear and appearances. I guess unlike car racing games where you don't see the riders, motorbike riders are front and center on the screen so that's a nice touch. Milestone have also provided a range of tracks from street circuits, to dedicated racing tracks and open roads with many of the tracks having different variations which keeps the game fresh.

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The Men At Work Trophy - not really working too hard are they?
When it comes to the actual handling of motorbikes well, while I'm not a motorbike rider myself, the game certainly handles well - too much power while taking a corner will see the back slide out, knock other riders it may affect the stability of both bikes and, while the game can be pretty brutal initially it only takes a few races to get to grips with the handling and as you are racing you can press the PS4's Touchpad to alternate between five different viewpoints - two are third person and three are first person on the bike.

Furthermore the game provides plenty of settings to toggle for racing which alters the game difficulty accordingly. These include Auto Brakes, Joint Brakes (so you don't need to worry about controlling each brake separately), Anti Wheelie, Automatic Tuck-In, Ideal Trajectory (which shows the optimal race line and braking), Transmission Type and Traction Control.

There is an Online game mode as well and while we would also love to say we've spent ample time playing Ride online sadly we rarely seem to be able to connect to lobbies, or have anyone join ours. With support for up to 12 human controlled bikes in online races (with the other four places filled by AI riders to fill the 16-bike grid) it should have been tremendous fun, but we would suggest this may be limited to creating sessions to race with friends.

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The Sierra Nevada track looks gorgeous.
Sadly Ride isn't a perfect game. We've already discussed the online issues - or at least lack of players - but we also found the AI of the CPU controlled racers lacking. In particular when approaching the corners most riders take a conservative approach allowing you to easily out brake them. Many people will likely find the game very difficult. Even on one of the easier levels, with many of the assists turned on you'll still be struggling to win races early in your career. In fact, it will likely be a source of frustration for many casual gamers.

Customising the bikes certainly boosts performance, but it would have been nice for a little more variety in the components - they seem a little limited but perhaps that's the same as real-life. We also felt that when in a race there was too much variety in the power of motorbikes meaning that while they should all be a similar class, some riders race off into the sunset while you're left in the dust even after you've almost maxed out the motorbike with the best components.

Certainly our biggest issue with this game is the lengthy load times. Despite an installation of around 18GB to the PS4 Hard Drive this is inexcusable and a very big hindrance to the enjoyment of this title. As an example, loading up the World Tour, Naked Bikes Middleweight, Under 700cc, and selecting the Milano Single Race (which is the first race most will try) takes an agonizing 70 seconds before you get to the start of the race - and that isn't a unique situation - in fact I have a Hybrid Drive installed (part SSD, part HDD) which reduces the load times - the stock standard PS4 Hard Drive will likely have even longer loads!

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Using Ride's Free Camera to get a shot.
Visuals in Ride are a bit of a mixed bag. In terms of the positives the motorbikes are superbly detailed and, as you change parts, they change appearance accordingly. The games frame rate is pretty solid during races and the menus are clean and functional. When racing it's possible to pause the game and enter a free camera mode which allows you to position a camera exactly as you want it in order to take some pretty impressive screenshots.

Sadly the biggest issue with the visuals relate to the amount of detail in the race tracks - it's pretty lacking, with plain looking textures, bland crowds the all move in sync, and a lack of incidental detail such as foliage, spectators, signage and so on. Even worse are stages around cities with buildings taking on flat, almost non- textured looks. It would hardly have passed the grade in the early PS3 era. This isn't helped on the PS4 by the 1080p resolution image which makes everything look much sharper, and flatter. Having said that some of the tracks, such as the Stelvio National Park in Italy, Kanto Temples in Japan and the rocky Sierra Nevada circuit are nice enough in places.

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Ride is a decent motorbike racing game.
Audio in the game is also pretty lacking with the game dominated by engine noises from the motorbikes and some largely forgettable music. Dialogue is minimal but what is there is done well enough.

Italian developers Milestone S.r.l. are a company that specialises in racing games (they develop both the WRC and MotoGP franchises) and Ride, despite some issues, is a solid enough title to recommend to motorbike fans. There are plenty of bikes, circuits, customisations and races to enjoy here but casual racing gamers may prefer other, probably 4-wheel, games.

Review By: Dave Warner

GRAPHICSClean and functional there is nothing spectacular here, but it's a smooth ride.
SOUNDMotorbikes sound like, well, motorbikes while music varies from very good to mediocre.
GAMEPLAYThe motorbike gameplay is actually pretty slick, AI could be better, but it's fun enough.
VALUEThere's a lot of content from bikes, to upgrades, to tracks and racing classes, but it becomes a bit repetitive.
OVERALLMotorbike racing is under represented and while Ride isn't a great game, rev heads will likely enjoy this, somewhat.

Talk about Ride in this forum topic now.