Racing sims are few and far between when compared to many other genres, so when I had a chance to play the preview build of Milestone SRL’s Ride 4, which is due out on 8th October, it had to be done!
Ride 4 sees you select from any one of 30 tracks and roads as well as pick out your insanely engineered choice of over 175 licensed two-wheeled rockets to ride on. For a series that has been going since 2015, there is clearly enough of a fan base to keep on evolving the game, attracting loyal fans and newcomers alike.
Ride 4 features a whole host of game modes to keep you entertained, from career, race, time attack and endurance to online multiplayer. The menu is easy to navigate and you can get racing in no time.
The career mode promises an exciting adventure whereby you choose a region to begin in and then work your way up through the ranks by winning races, challenges and leagues. With the affinity system you can unlock exclusive content for your bike by forming collaborations with manufacturers.
When selecting a race you can choose from a number of options such as bike type, weather and lighting, etc., however, it is the race settings and riding aids that allow you to fully customise how easy or hard you want your race to be. From AI difficulty to selecting a basic or realistic physics setting, there is something to challenge even the most seasoned of rider.
When on the grid, you can feel the intensity of it all as the countdown begins and the beads of sweat start to drip down your neck. Will you get a good start? will you make it through the pack safely before the first corner? The roar of the other 11 riders and their machines burst into life as the lights turn green and the front wheel picks up slightly from the ground as your bike accelerates across the tarmac.
Getting the cornering correct can be tricky. I ride bikes and I still somehow managed to end up taking corners wide through not watching the speed I was hurtling along the track at. Understanding where the braking zone is for each corner based on the bike is down to you, there certainly is a learning curve, as there is with every racing sim. You can turn on a racing line indicator that guides you through each turn, warning you if you are travelling too fast, however even if you get the correct speed you still need to ensure that your rider is in the correct position to get the bike around the corner, knee to the tarmac. The physics feel very real! Change the weather to rain and you will see the back wheel trying to slide out if you power on too soon, another thing to master!
One complaint from previous Ride games was that there the loading time was slow. I found on the preview build that it took around 20 seconds to load into Brands Hatch on my PC, not that bad really given the level of detail that has been put into each track. It is on par with other racing sim games.
Talking of details, the licensed motorbikes are really something else! Every nut, bolt and faring has been lovingly replicated using laser and drone scanning to make the bikes look as authentic as possible. When purchasing a new machine from the shop it really is a thrill as the bike is shown off to you in all its glory, presented in front of a black background.
If upgrading bikes is your thing then there is a whole garage section that lets you buy new parts to further enhance the performance and control of your bike. Other than this I did not see any in-depth tuning on the preview build, you can however customise your rider all the way to the type of goggles and riding style if you so wish.
Ride 4 is on par with the likes of Forza and GT Sport when it comes to graphics. Brands Hatch looks amazing as you thunder around it as does each of the 120 highly detailed motorbikes that I had available to me.
The choice of camera position when racing really brings you into the action allowing you to view the racing both from the handlebar as well as from behind the visor which was really atmospheric, especially with how the sound was muffled to represent the helmet surrounding your head.
The photo mode lets you capture your action from any angle you can imagine as well as render the snapshot with various filters, frames and ISO levels to give that motion blur of you in action.
Finally, I must mention the day/night cycle and dynamic weather. It flows through so well during racing and looks totally amazing. Remember the weather isn’t just for show, it does affect the whole ride!
Let’s face it. It’s all about the engines! and I am happy to say that Milestone has pulled this off very well. From the distinct low guttural growl of a Harley Davidson to the high pitched scream of a Yamaha racing down a straight, Ride 4 sounds pretty awesome.
There is ambient music that accompanies the menu screens, which is nice, however, that is purely there to fill the void before the fantastic hogs roar once more!
How long do you like racing for? For the preview build, I could only play races, time trials and endurance however there is a career mode which will also take up some of your time as well as multiplayer so the sky is pretty much the limit as you ride to earn those credits and buy new machines.
Ride 4 looks and plays amazingly well. I enjoyed the physics, I really felt that I was racing on the seat of my pants. With all of the options that you can tweak, Ride 4 will allow even the novice rider confidently take an R1 down the tarmac, or at least to the first corner.
There will be two editions available on release, standard and special. The special edition will feature a steelbook dedicated to the iconic Yamaha R1 2020 and a season pass with an additional 65 new bikes, 2 tracks and 150 new events.
If you love motorbike racing, Ride 4 is for you.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.