Milestone S.r.l.’s Ride 3 launches with the hopes of picking up where Ride 2’s successes left off. It also hopes to capture some of the motorcycle racing market after TT Isle of Man’s lukewarm critical reception. If you are a gearhead and dedicated customizer then this game certainly does offer plenty to dive into. The actual racing, while perfectly well executed, is missing the spark it needs to raise the game up against its competition.
Like many racing games Ride 3 starts you off on a powerful bike to run you through a tutorial and to gauge your skill level. Veteran motorcycle racers will no doubt breeze through this course easily enough, while novice riders will probably become well acquainted with the wall and dirt. Motorcycle racing handles significantly differently from your average Forza or Gran Turismo game, and if you’re coming from those games expect a learning curve. Fortunately, once you are past the introduction the game opens up and you can tweak the settings to fit your playstyle and skill level.
It isn’t just the difficulty that can be adjusted in this game, either. You have a hefty amount of selections to customize your rider beginning with gender and ending with choosing different outfits for every different type of race you can participate in. Similarly, your bike can be customized to your visual tastes in a large number of categories, and once you start earning credits the actual mechanics can be tweaked, too.
In the end, all the customizations in the world don’t count for anything if the game isn’t fun, and that is where the game falters a bit. The racing is implemented well enough and there are no glaring problems, but at the same time, it lacks something to make it truly engaging. The tracks (of which there are about a dozen and several variations of each) generally feel empty and bland. They are also missing the smaller bumps and dips, so you feel like you are mostly racing on perfectly paved asphalt. Even when you do go off-road, whether deliberately or not, the driving characteristics barely change at all aside from losing a bit of speed. Turning on grass feels only marginally different from turning on asphalt, and it is off-putting (and, yes, I made sure that the assist option for driving off the track was turned off).
The lack of background music also means that all you hear is the monotone drone of the bikes as you drive along, which becomes even more pronounced when you break away from the pack (or the pack breaks away from you) and it’s just you and the vast empty track. The sounds of the bikes themselves are fine, although they do seem to be relatively muted so it lacks the punch it could. There are some voice-overs detailing your career, but it’s all just a basic framework with no meat. The sound design, in general, is just lacking across the board. One nice touch, though, is that if you are in helmet view mode the bike sounds are distinctly different as if you were hearing them through a padded helmet.
Ride 3 Review Final Thoughts:
There is nothing inherently wrong with Ride 3, and there is certainly plenty to recommend it if you want to get your hands greasy tuning your bikes. That said, the racing is uninspired and does nothing to separate it from its competition. Unlike car racing, though, your options are limited for motorcycle-centric racers and as near as I can tell there are no stand out games in the market. Ride 3 is a decent entry into the series and into the genre, but you will probably replace it just as soon as something new comes along.