The motorbike simulation game isn’t a genre I’ve become accustomed to this generation. I have played some of developer Milestone’s prior work (the Moto GP series on the PS3) mind, but I’m far from an expert. So if you’re here looking for an in-depth chat about the handling model and whether it matches its real life counterpart then there’s nothing to see here, move along! You could consider this review “A New Players Introduction to the Ride franchise”. So let’s see how that pans out.
As soon as you start Ride 4 you’re thrust straight into a tutorial, which got me accustomed to the controls. I’m not so much a newbie that I didn’t know how to accelerate or brake, but it was good to get a handle on how the bikes feel on the track. Afterwards it was straight onto the Career and an attempt to get the Provisional License. This is where it became clear how incredibly rusty I was when it comes to simulation racing. In order to obtain the license you need to pass a number of challenges, such as time trials and overtake. The time trials proved to be the trickiest as leaving the track for even a second results in that lap being null and void. I have to admit, even though this was the first step in the career mode it took me quite a while to pass them all.
Luckily for those like me, there are a number of difficulty options to be tinkered with. You can always show the racing line, change gears to manual, toggle the rewind function on (allowing you to rewind time if you mess up a corner) as well as a number of options to help with the bike handling. It does it’s best to cater for people of all skill levels.
Once the license tests are all done and dusted, it’s onto actual racing. Again the game does a good job of allowing you to tweak the difficulty in such a way to make the game as enjoyable as possible. And it works in that I actually found myself improving as I spent more hours with the game. Tracks where I would be rewinding on almost every corner soon became muscle memory as I was taking corners with more ease, slowly ramping up the AI difficulty as I improved. Practice does indeed make perfect with Ride 4.
The Career mode has plenty of races and challenged to compete with a large assortment of bikes to buy. Bikes themselves able to be tweaked and given all new designs. The customisation options are quite numerous, from being able to design your bike, helmet or suit. With designs able to be saved and shared online. There’s a lot of content here on and off the track, as well as obviously, an online mode.
If there’s one criticism to be levelled at Ride 4, it’s that all feels very mechanical. This is very much a by the numbers simulation racer. There’s no frills here. Menu’s are easy to navigate, but basic, and load times between races could be shorter (something I hope becomes eradicated with the next gen port that is arriving next year).
For a newcomer like myself, Ride 4 impressed me greatly. A raft of difficulty options helped to ease me into the gameplay until I found my footing and was challenging for those 1st place wins. If you’re looking for a new racing sim to sink your teeth into, then Ride 4 may just fit the bill.