Review – Ride 4

Milestone is at it again with yet another motorcycle racing game released this year. After the surprisingly robust MotoGP 20, a tough-as-nails yet rewarding racing simulator released earlier on in 2020, they’re back with Ride 4. However, there so many different varieties of motorcycle racing games being released every three months or so. With titles like MX vs. ATV and TT Isle of Man out in the wild, filling different kinds of racing game niches, does this one have what it takes to stand out? Let’s take a look and find out.

Ride 4

You can ram onto other pilots and make them fall over. Doesn’t mean you should, but hey, I’m not here to judge.

If I had to compare Ride 4 with any other car-focused racing simulator, I’d have to put it next to Gran Turismo and the first few Forza Motorsport games. This is the motorcycle equivalent of the “car porn racing simulator”. It’s meant to be a love letter to these two-wheeled death machines, with a jaw-dropping amount of models to choose from, ranging from simple 125cc bikes that a high school student would own, to big Harleys and 200mph Suzuki behemoths.

Do you want to ride those bikes through the beautiful roads of the French riviera? Maybe you want to tackle Laguna Seca? What about racing on famous Formula 1 racetracks such as Interlagos or the Nürburgring? Ride 4 has them all. The amount of racetracks in this game is downright ludicrous, being almost as high as the amount of bikes included in here. When it comes to options of what and where to ride, Ride 4 is downright shocking. It’s everything a bike lover needs.

Ride 4

Riding a 125cc bike on an urban setting just reminds me of rush hour.

Considering the huge amount of content, immense career mode, great graphics, and decent sound department, one would imagine that Ride 4 is a must-have not only for motorcycle racing enthusiasts, but racing game fans in general, right? Well, it’s actually the opposite. The game is excellent when it comes to presentation and content. However, as a game itself, it’s actually one of the most frustrating racing games I’ve played in recent times.

It all comes down to the controls. While other motorcycle games like TT Isle of Man and MotoGP were also tough to deal with at first, they featured decent tutorials, an actual difficulty curve that felt like a difficulty curve, and most importantly, customizable physics that actually changed the game for the easier in order to cater to newcomers. Ride 4 is way too focused on being the most realistic motorcyle racing game out there, which means that it’s downright punitive as a result. If you don’t master the art of turning at the right time, angle and speed right from the getgo, you will never win a single race. This game pulls no punches.

Ride 4

That goes without saying: the weaker the bike, the easier it is to handle it.

If you’re a newcomer to the genre, tough luck. I’ve played my fair share of motorcycle games in the past and I don’t remember a single one of them being as brutal right from the start as Ride 4. Even the “simplified” physics setting makes 600cc bikes tough as hell to deal with. The first few events in any given career mode, just like Gran Turismo before it, are annoying time trials and obstacle courses meant to “test your skills” for you to eventually acquire a racer’s license. It’s so hard that it demotivates you to even bother trying shortly after starting a new career.

Just like Polyphony’s franchise as well, you don’t have access to all cars on the arcade mode, just a select few. In order to ride the best bikes in the game, you need to buy them. In order to buy them, you have to tackle the career mode. I can’t be freaking bothered. I’ll just keep breaking my ribcages in TT Isle of Man instead. If you’re a veteran to the genre, and by that I mean a borderline e-sports player, then you don’t need to bother with these complaints. This game was meant for you. It will test your skills like no other racing game in the market.

Ride 4

I’ll never complain about driving around Laguna Seca in Forza ever again.

Ride 4 is the motorcycle equivalent to Gran Turismo, for better or worse. It features a lot of content, every single kind of motorbike you can imagine, from Harleys to Ducatis, tons of racetracks, and lots of different events to partake in. When it comes to bang for your buck, it sure delivers. But when it comes to being actually fun to play, it misses the mark. Unlike other motorcycle racing games out there, be it simulators or arcade racers, its controls are way too stiff and punishing, resulting in a game that isn’t fun at all if you’re not an expert in the genre.

If you’re used to playing motorbike racers, then sure, you don’t need to worry, this game is a dream come true. If not, then just look at it from a safe distance. It’s still gorgeous, just not very fun to play.

 

Graphics: 8.5

It doesn’t run at the fastest of framerates, but it’s still stable. The graphics are excellent, with gorgeous lighting effects and well-modeled motorcycles.

Gameplay: 6.0

It does feature realistic physics, but that results in a tough and newcomer-unfriendly control scheme that isn’t as customizable as other motorcycle racing games out in the market.

Sound: 7.5

Motorcycle engine noises might not be the most pleasant of sounds, but when it comes to a game like this, you have to have them. Ride 4 is very loud, just like it should be.

Fun Factor: 6.0

It features so much content, but it’s not as enjoyable as a game. Its simulation-heavy controls and physics aren’t very customizable, resulting on an extremely punishing game, even on the lowest of difficulties, which is not friendly at all towards newcomers.

Final Verdict: 7.0

Ride 4 is available now on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

Reviewed on PS4.

A copy of Ride 4 was provided by the publisher.