Motorcycle games aren’t exactly our specialty here at PRC.net, due largely in part to Milestone’s monopoly on the genre, but if you guys send us any substantial info on them, we’ll sure as hell cover it. Today’s Reader Submission comes from Karim S., who has gladly taken the time to evaluate Milestone’s new release, Ride 2, though unfortunately he has requested a full refund for the title – albeit with certain complications. Let’s find out why…
I just wanted to let you know about my Ride 2 experience so far. I have been playing Milestone games for many years, so I have an idea what to expect. I think the MXGP games are quite good, despite their technical limitations, and Mot GP 15 Compact has proven to be good fun for $2.74 CAD. For those who are unaware, you can buy a “lite” version of MotoGP with just Single Race, Season Mode, and Online for a heavily reduced price, which is a nice option if you can’t see yourself dropping full price on a game you might not like. Bike games aren’t for everybody.
I kept hearing really good things about Ride 2, so I took the plunge. I had to choose between the base game ($55) and the special edition ($58), which includes two ridiculous day-1 bike packs and a Nordschleife documentary video. Funny thing, putting the special edition in your Steam cart warns you that the presence of the video in the package prevents you from refunding that purchase, as it is contains consumable content. Nope’d right the fuck out of there and bought the base game and the documentary separately.
Thirteen hours of downloading later (26 gigs of shitty sounds and bland textures), I was ready to go. All settings to “max” (FX-8320, 8 GB RAM, RX 470 4 GB), the introductory race had me between 20 and 30 fps, with regular stuttering. After restarting the game several times in full screen and windowed mode, with various settings, I tried it again on “max” and it finally locked itself at 60 fps for some reason. I did some racing at Monza, Imola, Macau and some road track, and after a few minutes, the game gave me a memory warning and shut down. I’m thinking there could be a memory leak, something that users of the first Ride have reported. As far as bugs, the first time I watched a replay, there was no sound and one camera view turned around and was looking through the body of the rider. A bit unpleasant.
But how does it play? Where MotoGP is raw, has a lot of movement and is generally dynamic and challenging, this is exactly the opposite. I tried some high-performance models, and there seems to be a blanket over the exhaust, no grunt, no meat. MotoGP sounds vicious, and with some sound presets in an audio enhancer, you can retain the mean edge while filling in the low end, with some 3D “ambiance” thrown in. No such luck with Ride 2; it’s flat and hopeless, like some jazz preset in Winamp.
The handling is also very smooth and predictable, and coupled with the counter top-flat circuits, it’s impossible to feel anything no matter the speed. No bumps, no camber, no detail. It’s like they didn’t even try. I wasn’t expecting the game to support the Xbox One trigger rumbling that works so well in Forza, but that would indeed have given some texture to the gameplay. Even if we had a proper bike controller with force feedback, this game wouldn’t use any of it. This is what kills the game for me, and why I’ve asked for a refund.
Surprise, I can’t refund to my credit card because of the video I mentioned earlier. Even though I didn’t buy the special edition, the $1 video on the same receipt seems to limit my refund options. It will be a Steam wallet refund, or hopefully Steam support replies to my query in the next two weeks.
Good low-rent content, technically sound overall, but more lifeless than ever. What’s funny is that one of the replay cameras is a bit more “on top” of the bike, and there is also more movement, which seems pretty cool, but you can’t use it for gameplay. Add some wind noise, some bumps and better engine notes, and this would be a pretty good game.
Thank you for taking the time to write into us about an often overlooked sub-genre of racing games. Many people have wanted a pseudo-sequel to the excellent Tourist Trophy by Polyphony Digital, and it’s a shame this game has been hindered by the Milestone trademarks we’ve all come to know and loathe – in particular the dodgy framerate and questionable lack of polish. Like Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo which released earlier this year, Ride 2 on paper looks to be an intriguing game with a lot of content, but once again Milestone fail to make the game playable upon release. You should not need to restart an application several times in a row just to achieve a constant framerate.
I am also slightly confused why the sound quality and overall physics have been downgraded from the MotoGP series, especially with the Valentino Rossi game – which is basically another Milestone bike game that came out this year – exhibiting a much different style of play. Look, I’m aware that both titles were intended for different audiences; Valentino Rossi was essentially MotoGP 16, whereas Ride 2 is more of a Gran Turismo on Two Wheels that has been built for a casual player base, but why would this justify a totally different sound mix or riding feel?
For example, Forza Motorsport 6, and Forza Horizon 2 do indeed operate with different sets of tire behavior because they are aimed at opposing markets, but it’s not like the Horizon games were completely neutered in the way Ride 2 has been compared to MotoGP 16. Horizon 2 still kinda drives like Forza 6, and even going back a few years, the original Horizon drove like Forza 4 to some extent. What purpose does heavily simplifying Ride 2 serve? I support the decision to maybe simplify the tire model, but then going the extra mile and taking all of the bumps out of the racing surfaces, along with restructuring the force feedback effects… That seems a bit pointless to me. Especially after inserting tracks like the Nordschleife and Dundrod into the lineup and making them out to be this insane challenge that highlights Ride 2’s career mode, only for them to be completely underwhelming. Visually, they look great, as you can see in the video above, but to ride around at speed it’s lame Milestone would tone them down a notch.
Above all, I think it’s disappointing that Milestone continue to release products that are more or less not performing at an optimal level on the PC. Look, if I currently owned a PS4, I’d have no problem taking a chance on the games these guys develop because they clearly run much better on consoles. However, I own a PC, and on paper it should be a bit more powerful than the current console lineup. It’s not fair as a customer for console owners to receive a product that functions properly, whereas PC owners who purchase a Milestone product are shit out of luck from launch day.