When you hear the term ‘Racing Simulator’ you probably think about the Gran Turismo series, you might not have considered a motorcycle simulator. Almost 2 years after the last game, Ride 4 picks up the simulation mantle and takes it a bit further, but is this a good thing?
The game kicks off with a license-esque racetrack stage, it is very punishing and may put off a few newcomers. Drive off the confines of the track and you fail and restart. It took me at least two fails before I realised why I kept failing. The tests do not stop after this, more license style stages really put you through the paces. Again, they are all incredibly punishing, trying to cut corners will either cause an instant fail or invalidate lap times.
What makes this worse is the lack of ‘rewind’ ability in these tests, which I understand, but on the other hand; I just picked up this game, I need all the assists I can get! Other assists that I tend to use when getting used to a racing game are auto-braking, but there are points in the game, particularly the ‘Speed Trap’ gates that require you to be at a certain speed in order to avoid a time penalty and finish the course in under a set time limit. Suffice to say this was impossible for me.
Thankfully, there are some saving graces and notably the visuals are stunning. The bike, stages and the riders look leaps and bounds better than any other motorcycle racing game out there. To add to this, every component of the bikes, helmets, racer outfit and even the stickers can be customised with an incredible livery editor that allows up to 1000 layers per customisation. You can then share them online and download ones you like for free.
Customisation does not stop there. Much like in a Gran Turismo game, you can upgrade your bikes and fit new components to improve its performance. Something you will need to do be successful in the career mode. I found you get to a point where the starting bike very quickly can’t keep up with the bike that commonly gets first place, so you have to buy a new one. Thankfully, there are tons to choose from. 176 to be exact with more to come via DLC and you get to race them over 32 tracks.
The ‘Career’ mode is basic, there is no story mode with your rider as the star of their story. You race, you win, or you lose. That is all there is to be honest. The structure of which is broken into Regional leagues that are based around what you select your driver to be from whether that is European, Asian or American leagues and once these are completed and you earn enough points you will progress to unlock the World league and the Final league. Something I noticed in this game is a lot of the content is blocked by progression in the career mode.
You do have the option to ‘Race’ and jump into any Single, Endurance or Time trial race from the menu.
Once I got past my frustrations (even the menu selection sound was getting to me) with the game and the obscene difficulty, I started to appreciate it more and enjoy it. However, I feel that the pacing and the way the game is structured will put off newcomers and gamers who are more casually interested in the sport. I can’t recommend this for everyone, but if you want a challenge and are hardcore into racing, maybe this is a challenge you could sink your teeth into
- Replay Value