Much of my time with Ride 4 was spent mastering its challenging difficulty. This no-nonsense, over-serious racer is most likely the toughest bike racer I have played and it kind of reminds me of the original Project CARS… With two wheels instead of four. Milestone clearly wants this experience to be for the hardcore fans of the series and it is built for those who enjoy tinkering, managing and mastering the art of the “bike”. Unfortunately, this also alienates players who, like me, just want to race for the thrill of putting pedal the metal.
Even days into Ride 4 I still found it relentless control system hard to master and rage quit a few times before I went flying into the wall or barrel rolled around a corner. For those who love simulator racers, this is going to be your bread and butter in the genre. The sheer amount of details to tinker with will make fans of the series happy. This ranges from tweaking the body of your bike and changing the weights across the vehicle.
The mechanics then feed into the main game too as racing is not as simple as pressing a button and curving around a corner. Instead, I had to take more into account such as when to take a break in the pit and change my tires. Not to mention the general racing approach I had to adopt such as timing my breaks and trying my hardest not to bash into someone as I usually would in every other car racing game on the planet.
There’s a lot to love here if you enjoy this sort of game and all the micromanaging that comes with it. Ride 4 manages to capture the thrill of the motorsport and feels great to play. I also had to keep in mind that while Ride 4 tries to keep the realism at the forefront, the game also includes some rather impressive AI that often gets in the way while trying to race. So while I was trying to turn the corner with the utmost care, the predictable AI would often ruin my day and get in the way. I don’t watch motorsport much but every time the AI showed off their skill or reacted to the way I raced, it kind of felt like a natural way of doing things. Sort of like a human nature approach. I was impressed.
This further adds to the sheer challenge in Ride 4 as while the AI are avoidable in a standalone race, much of the campaign sees them get in the way during those races. This means that while I was juggling every other darn realistic mechanic in the game, the AI also popped in to get in the way and make their presence clear. Thankfully, Ride 4’s AI can be mastered. I began to read when one of them was going to act in a certain way and I prepare for it.
I took issue with how tough Ride 4 is and don’t get me wrong, this is not because I am bad at these sort of games. This is simply because the game makes no attempt to teach you anything at any point in the game. Booting it up for the first time and I had to race around a track. This took ages because I kept nudging the pavement and my lap did not validate. Not to mention that the first-ever mandatory race has some mad time limit which acts as an entry requirement into the game. You can’t play the game until you beat it. When it comes to the overall bike management, I had to learn it all myself too. There’s no in-game feedback whatsoever that told me whether or not I was doing something right.
As for the racing itself, there are some settings which can be tweaked to make the race easier. This includes brake tweaks and handling assistance. However, even lowering this all and Ride 4 still demanded the best of the best from me. In the end, it lost the fun and became a chore. Even when I did do well in a race, the whole experience felt dull. The campaign mode features races from around the world and loads of bikes and tracks to experience. You earn credits to buy new parts and bikes but it is a grind to earn enough to purchase anything worthwhile. Of course, Milestone made it possible to purchase this with real money because this is where we are in 2021.
So what about the PS5 enhancements? Well, for starters the game takes full advantage of the DualSense Controller and it feels great. The game includes some great haptic feedback to enjoy while racing and the trigger tension definitely makes this game feel immersive especially during the most intense races. The microphone also adds specific sounds of metal and braking to the game.
We then have the visual improvements which come in the form of enhanced bike models, higher frame rate and resolution. Ride 4 looks amazing on the console from a detail point of view. The weather effects are brought to life on the roads and the shimmer of the bikes give off an expensive vibe. There’s also a lot to enjoy when it comes to the sheer details on these vehicles and how great they look on the console. With that being said, there are still some rough patches around the tracks, including dull, distant objects and some nasty textures which are hard to overlook.
Ride 4 PS5 Review Verdict
Ride 4 is okay. The game is tough and way too repetitive to put up with. Currency is a grind and the lack of tutorials and tips does not help the situation either. It looks gorgeous on the PS5 and is fun for about an hour to two but there’s not enough reward and knowledge to gain from putting up with it.
This Ride 4 PS5 review was based on a code sent to us by Milestone
Available On: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC | Reviewed On: PS5 | Release Date: 21 January 2021 | Price: R1,249