PlayStation 4
Game Info:

Ride 2
Published by: Milestone S.r.l.
Developed by: Milestone S.r.l.
ESRB Rating: E
Reviewed on PlayStation 4
Available on: PlayStation 4, XBox One, Windows
Release Date: February 14, 2017
Genre: Racing
Number of Players: 1+
Price: $53.95
(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Firstly, thanks very much to Milestone S.r.l. for the review copy!

Once upon a time, a young racing game named F1 2016 fell in love with an older but well known motorcycle game called Ride.  They had a whirlwind romance, and eventually got married.  They decided to have a child, and that child is Ride 2.  The player races high performance motorcycles in an over the shoulder perspective, and can use credits gained from victories to purchase and upgrade bikes.  The races are intended for different classes of performance bikes, and the player builds up a stable of different bikes to choose from for each race event.

This is a solid, fun motorcycle game with options for players who like to customize their bikes.  For the real aficionados of high performance motorcycles, there is plenty of content consisting of lots of different models to choose from provided by a wide variety of manufacturers, used here under license.  In fact, much of the game consists of choosing from such a vast selection.  Ranging from simple dirt bikes to super fast crotch rockets, there's plenty to look over.

Oh yes, and there's a racing component to the game, too.

As with any game of this type, the player can choose a quick race option to get right into the action, but the selection of bikes is limited to what has already been unlocked and in the player's garage.  New bikes are unlocked by good performance in career mode, where winning races (or at least placing well) earns credits which can be spent on new bikes or upgrades to bikes that have already been unlocked.

Ride 2

Strong Points: Wide variety of bikes, good graphics, lots of content for motorcycle fans
Weak Points: Nothing truly unique
Moral Warnings: None

During a race, the optimal path is displayed for the player as a HUD consisting of colored indicators to warn when the bike is moving too fast to handle an upcoming turn. Red means it's going too fast, and the indicator switches to yellow, then green as the bike slows.  This is the exact same mechanism used in F1 2016.

Ride 2 is definitely trying to go for maximum realism, but seems to fall short in a way that feels like the goal was to get it "good enough."  When you watch motorcycle racing on TV the sharp corners are handled by riders who lean the bike so far over they actually drag one knee along the pavement at the sharpest (and slowest) point in the turn.  In Ride 2, no matter how slow and sharp the turn, the rider never does this.  It's a minor point that doesn't impact the way the game actually plays, but it does feel like a missing piece in an otherwise complete package.      

Ride 2 plays on the standard PS4 controller.  The left stick steers the bike while R2 works the throttle, but with the very small travel of those controls it's hard to make really fine adjustments to steering and speed, which is a common problem among racing games in general and not the fault of the game itself.  It's especially pronounced in this game because the steering is incredibly sensitive, especially at high speeds.  More on that below.

In the multiplayer game if the player hasn't unlocked bikes fast enough to be competitive they can use a loaner bike, which provides enough performance to have a chance.  The problem is if the player hasn't unlocked the better bikes themselves through gameplay, they're not likely to have enough skill to make it worthwhile.  I had to do this on my first race in multiplayer mode and at no time did I feel like I could control the bike at any competitive speed.  It was utterly beyond my skill to even keep up with the pack, let alone place respectably.  This is where those short controls really hurt.  Steering the bike felt like I was on ice, with no tire grip at all.  To be fair, a lot of that probably had more to do with my own newbie skill level at this game but it definitely wasn't fun at all.  Multiplayer is definitely for the more advanced players.  To be honest, I respect that and I wouldn't mind seeing more games work this way, but if you're the type of player who doesn't enjoy the campaign mode of a game and prefers to live in multiplayer land, get ready to be crushed.  The learning curve is steeper than the cost of most of these bikes.

Ride 2
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 80%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 3/5

Morality Score - 96%
Violence - 9/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 9/10

The graphics are great during the race, so long as you're moving fast.  The crowds watching the race stand perfectly still, which isn't noticeable when zipping by at 170mph but if you're like me, you'll spend a lot of time watching your bike skid sideways as the rider tumbles over and over and so you'll get a good look at that crowd of statues.  Of course when the player is browsing the various models of motorcycles, the bikes are rendered beautifully, and nigh photo-realistic.  This is definitely where the impression comes from for me that this is a game for aficionados of bikes. I suspect this is where such a player will spend most of their time.

Each bike has a different engine and the engines each have a unique sound, which does add to the realism.  The effects were crisp and clear with no issues.  That said, the sound effects are what one would expect in a game of this type and don't really leave a lasting impression.

The game plays smoothly and didn't crash or freeze when I was playing.  

Ride 2 is a straightforward racing game, so morality issues are minimal.  Of course one can drive the bike in a reckless and dangerous manner which puts other riders at risk in the game.  The game spares the player any gruesome effects from crashes, as even if the bike hits a fence at almost 200 mph the rider will just fall off the bike and flop around a bit like a rag doll before re-spawning at roughly the point on the track where the crash happened.  This hurts the realistic feel, but I'm not sure I'd want to trade it for a more realistic visual effect.

It's also possible to knock other riders off of their bikes by riding into them.  A minor time penalty is incurred for this but that's about the extent of the consequences.  There were no language issues noticed and no sexual content.  There's no occult or supernatural content of any kind.

I enjoyed Ride 2, but it isn't very different from other racing games.  It hits all the necessary bits, but nevertheless the racing part of the game feels more like a test drive for the bikes the player has bought and upgraded.  

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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