A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Ride is a motorcycle-racing simulation game set on closed circuits, meaning there's no danger of colliding with pedestrians or civilian traffic. The dangers of high-speed racing are illustrated by wipeout animations but without any gratuitous violence (there's no blood or gore, and riders don't scream in pain). Players can alter both the gender and skin color of their avatars. Local split-screen multiplayer encourages friendly competitive play. An online mode permits kids to play with strangers but does not support voice communication. Since this is a simulation game, players will see plenty of authentic bikes and gear that can be purchased in the real world.
What's it about?
RIDE is a motorcycle-racing simulation game that strives for authenticity. Players race on realistic city, country, and technical tracks inspired by famous circuits on more than 100 genuine bikes from well-known manufacturers, upgrading their machines' performance as play progresses. The primary mode is a world tour with scores of class-based events and a variety of race types, ranging from straight-up three-lap races and time trials to overtake challenges and rival events. Starting in 300th place, players slowly ascend a world-ranking leaderboard, earning credits they can use to buy new bikes and gaining access to special championship events along the way. Outside the world tour, players can engage in one-off races alone or with a friend via split screen. An online mode facilitates races among up to 16 players.
Is it any good?
Ride is a competent, full-featured, and surprisingly approachable motorcycle-racing game, but it lacks the graphical finesse and innovation found in the very best racing simulations. The robust world-tour mode will take most players weeks (or longer) to get through, motivating them to keep playing with a seemingly never-ending stream of better bikes and gear. The straightforward parts-upgrade system results in noticeable and satisfying boosts in performance with nearly every purchase. And while motorcycle enthusiasts ought to appreciate the authentic bike physics and handling -- which involve leaning, hunching, and paying attention to the load placed on front and rear suspension systems when coming into turns and accelerating down straightaways -- these elements shouldn't annoy rookies too much, thanks to a heaping dose of optional assists designed to keep new players from constantly wiping out.
All of this said, there's very little in the way of originality. The structure of each mode and method of progression will be instantly familiar to racing fans and does little to keep a sense of monotony -- a constant threat in racing simulation games -- from setting in. What's more, the visual presentation is uninspired compared to other modern racing games, thanks to bland surface textures that don't always convey the proper look and feel of substances such as metal, plastic, and asphalt, as well as the cookie-cutter architecture lining most circuits. Still, bike-racing enthusiasts -- who are typically poorly served in the video game realm -- likely will just be happy to have a big, realistic, and generally pretty fun sim into which to sink their teeth.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
- Subjects: Science: momentum
- Skills: Communication: friendship building
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Bandai Namco
- Release date: October 6, 2015
- Genre: Racing
- Topics: Cars and Trucks, Sports and Martial Arts
- ESRB rating: E for Mild Language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.