Hard to believe it’s already been almost two years since RIDE 3 released, but it’s not as if developer Milestone s.r.l. hasn’t been busy in the meantime. Have they learned lessons from MXGP 2019 and MotoGP 20 with their latest release? Find out in our RIDE 4 review.
RIDE 4 Review – Shiny Engine
RIDE 4 uses the Unreal Engine, which runs about as smoothly as their other recent games. Even on a base PS4, stutters are rare and load times are quick. Draw distance is fine to see well beyond the upcoming apex, and riders have a realistic animation set. Tracks are realistically rendered, even including the infamous Nürburgring. The frame rate also stays consistent, though it does appear to be locked at 30 fps. Audio-wise, there’s not a whole lot going on with RIDE 4. A generic soundtrack plays between events, and the high-pitched whirring of motorcycle engines fill in the rest of the time spent with the game. First-person cameras feature a wind sound effect which gets louder the faster the rider drives, and players are mostly left on their own to get lost in the ride.
Controls are standard fare for a racing game, though with motorcycles there are separate buttons for the front and back brakes. The left analog stick also adjusts the player’s weight, if that driver assist is turned off. Most players who aren’t too adept at motorcycle racing will want to keep the vast majority of those assists on, because things quickly get incredibly challenging without them. Yes, RIDE 4 is a tough game. It is a simulation of motorcycle racing first and foremost. Having assists on, cranking the physics simulation down and lowering opponent AI will make it an easier to eke out a win. But to get a true sense of everything that it takes to drive these densely packed feats of engineering, the assists should be taken off or notched down to low levels. The game rewards you for doing so, as it increases the experience points and money gained after completing events by noticeable amounts. For some, though, the frustration of having to manage weight distribution will not be worth the trouble, at least not initially. RIDE 4 is a game you sit down to master over several sessions.
RIDE 4 Review – Scaled Back Career
A career mode is present in RIDE 4, which forces the player to pick a region to begin in. Only by collecting enough medals will other regions unlock, and this is only achieved by performing well enough in a variety of events. While traditional race events utilize a rewind button like so many other modern racers, other solo events do not allow the functionality. This is where Milestone’s penchant for harsh penalties comes back to bite players, since running outside of the track for even a few meters is usually enough to trigger a failure sequence on a timed lap event. This would be painful enough, but failing is accompanied by an unskippable animation of the player character being frustrated, and then a prompt to either retry or continue. But while pressing cross moves on from the unskippable animation, it also selects the continue option, which causes the game to load the career menu again. If the player wants to try again, that means they have to load the map once more. It’s easy to envision a frustrated player quickly mashing the cross button to try and move on from the unskippable animation as quickly as possible, only to accidentally press the button when the next prompt appears, thus pushing them back to the career menu.
Outside of a collection of menus, there isn’t much to the career mode. No rivalries to fight off, no sponsors to keep happy, no management of bike condition. Just racing from event to event, with little fanfare. It’s a bit like Gran Turismo Sport, then, in that there is always a new challenge to take on, but you’re not pretending to be some young hotshot gunning to win the championship against all odds. The “Volumes” from last year are gone, replaced by simpler categories. You’re simply racing for the joy of racing, a sort of unadulterated celebration of the variety that can be found in the sport. Some will want more from a career mode, but most probably won’t give it much thought other than “thank you, on to the next challenge!”
RIDE 4 Review – For the Fans
Milestone has seemingly standardized their livery and photo editors across titles, as what we have seen in MotoGP and other Ride games is here as well. Players can paint most parts in a variety of colors and coat types, and they can also combine hundreds of layers of stickers in almost any location on a bike to create the custom look they have in their mind. It does take a lot of work to achieve satisfactory results, but such is the nature of any decent customization editor. Liveries can easily be shared, though, which means that players who don’t want to do the legwork involved in getting a nice custom design going can instead search for inspiration. The photo mode can be brought up at any time during an event, and includes nice post-processing effects, which take some time to, well, process, but the results are easily good enough to share.
RIDE 4 is the motorcycle racer for motorcycle fans. This is a double-edged sword, of course, because outside of this core audience there won’t be much pickup from non-fans. The demanding physics helps to achieve great immersion in first-person view, custom liveries can easily be crafted, and the career mode gives a nice sense of progression, even if it is very low-profile. This all adds up to a neat package that fans are sure to enjoy.
RIDE 4 review code provided by publisher. Version 1.03 reviewed on a Standard PS4. For more information on scoring please see our Review Policy.