From high profile releases like Forza Horizon 3, the resurgence of rally games with DiRT Rally and the start of the console sim racing saturation with the long-awaited arrival of Assetto Corsa, 2016 was a transformative year for racing games. To celebrate, we’re hosting our first ever Team VVV Racing Game of the Year Awards (something we’ve been meaning to do for years) to recognise achievements in racing gaming, from best graphics and sound, to car lists, handling and indie titles, we’ve got everything covered.
Best bike game
It wasn’t long ago that bike racing games were rarely released since publishers deemed them as specialist titles that were less likely to generate sales than traditional car racing games. In 2016, however, we were bombarded with them, from hardcore simulations like Ride 2 and Valentino Rossi: The Game, to accessible arcade racers like Moto Racer 4.
It’s fair to say that the annual MotoGP games were starting to get formulaic, with incremental updates that lacked innovation. To shake things up, Milestone released the imaginatively-titled Valentino Rossi: The Game. While it featured all the content you would expect from the 2016 MotoGP season, the main meat of the game is dedicated to the legendary Valentino Rossi.
Not only could you relive key moments from Rossi’s career, but you could kick up some gravel at the Rossi Ranch, or tear up the tarmac at the Monza Rally. If driving cars in a MotoGP game wasn’t already unexpected, Valentino Rossi: The Game also deserves its own award for having the most surprising downloadable content in a game – yes, we’re referring to the random Radio Controlled Car DLC.
Winner: Ride 2
Not since the release of Polyphony’s Tourist Trophy over ten years ago has there been a bike game as rich in content as Ride 2. With over 190 bikes (over 200 if you include DLC) from a plethora of manufacturers such as Triumph, Ducati and Kawasaki, Ride 2 holds the world record for featuring the largest assortment of motorcycles in a racing game.
Milestone's myriad of improvements make Ride 2 the game that the original should have been. The physics have been refined to make nailing apexes chronically addictive, the audio is much improved, and the track selection has been expanded to include the Nurburgring Nordschleife for the first time in a Milestone game, as well as real life road circuits such as the narrow Northwest 200, adding some much-needed intensity to the game. Ride 2 is a passionate love letter to motorcycling that every bike fan should own. And if you’re not interested in bikes, we guarantee you will be after playing Ride 2.
Do you agree with our winner? Let us know in the comments below.