As a huge racing fan, when the opportunity arose to get my hands on a copy of ‘Ride’ to review, I jumped at it. I’ve played numerous MotoGP games, a few Superbike (SBK) games and have enjoyed racing bikes in games like Burnout Paradise and PGR4. Unfortunately Ride is not only the worst motorbike racing game I’ve ever played, but also one of the worst racing games I have played.
The first thing you notice when you play this game are the loading times. Not only are the loading times long, but also there’s also a LOT of loading. To get from the start screen to the main menu takes 67 seconds of loading. Once you have chosen a race, going from selecting a bike to the pre-race menu takes 74 seconds. In the middle of this loading there is a screen that shows you the bike you have chosen and tells you to press A and then it starts loading again. You can’t do anything else on this screen other than press A; it’s completely superfluous. Once you’ve completed a race, it takes 62 seconds to go back to the menus. For a game that has to be installed to a hard drive to be able to play, these kind of loading times are unacceptable.
Once you have sat through all the loading screens and start to race you are treated to very mediocre graphics. Some of the tracks look OK, particularly the ones with trees lining the sides of the track, but the city tracks look very poor with little to no textures on objects. The sides of the tracks do seem very sparse, particularly when you compare the Road America track in this game to the Forza version. I think there is a reason behind this though: the more stuff that is on-screen at anytime, the choppier the frame rate gets. This is nothing compared to split-screen mode, where you can almost count the frames per second as you race. The frame rate seems to drop below 10fps at times. There can also be lighting glitches that make the ground just behind your bike flash, which led to me getting a headache a couple of times. I also had one instance of my bike falling through the circuit into nothingness, only to respawn on the track a few seconds later as though I had crashed. The sounds of the game aren’t any better. The incessant electric guitars, shredding away, are tedious and the motorbike sounds appear to have been taken from a 1990s electric keyboard.
There are 5 types of events in the career mode. These are race, team race, time attack, track day (an overtake challenge) and drag races. Team races require you to either add a friend who has played the game to your team or use one of the computer AI riders. The issue with this is that the you don’t stand a chance until you get the best couple of riders and you have to complete the final elite trophies to get these (something the game could do with telling you). Drag races are also pretty poor. It all boils down to who has the fastest bike, which equates to if you have bought the most expensive bike and bought all the upgrades for it (the fact that you can upgrade your bike is something else the game could do with telling you).
If I had to say anything positive about the game it would probably have to be the online multiplayer. When you finally find a race (no easy feat as there are so few people playing this game) the game is as rock-solid as it is able to be. There was no noticeable lag, nobody randomly dropped out of the game and 95% of the bikes are available from the start. This makes you feel like you actually have a fair chance of winning.
I feel kind of bad being so harsh on this game as no-one sets out to make a bad game and the developers clearly love motorbikes. The amount of detail on the bikes is admirable and from the info they share about each bike, they want you to share their passion. The fact of the matter is that this game fails on nearly every other level and with this being sold at full price, it’s just disgraceful.