If I had to compare Ride 4 to any other game I’d be torn between Gran Turismo and Dark Souls! Ride 4 is the motorcycle equivalent of a trip to Lordran. It’s tough, unforgiving yet rewarding at the same time. Ride 4 isn’t for the casual gamer. It’s for someone who enjoys racing games that lean more towards the realism of Gran Turismo than the arcade feel of Forza Motorsport.
Ride 4 just like its four-wheeled counterparts is a love letter to its death machine. There are a absolute tonne of bikes to choose from, ranging from simple 125cc bike to massive Harleys and 200cc Triumphs. With various manufacturers also available to choose from there is quite literally a motorcycle to fit anyone’s taste. On top of the wealth of two-wheel-death-machines, Ride 4 also has an abundance of tracks to race them around. If you fancy tackling Laguna Seca, or challenging yourself on Nürburgring or Interlagos then the game has you covered. As much as Forza Motorsport is a car lover’s dream, Ride 4 is the motorcycle equivalent.
As mentioned before, Ride 4 isn’t for everyone. You’d be forgiven to think that with the shear wealth of content available that it would be a must have for any racing fan. However like I mentioned in my introduction for this review, Ride 4 is one of the most frustrating yet rewarding games I’ve ever played.
Most of my frustration came down to the game’s controls. Whilst other motorcycle games such as MotoGP and TT Isle of Man are also tough they have various options and tutorials that cater to the newcomer’s needs. From an adjustable difficulty curve to most importantly adjustable physics settings MotoGP achieved this accessibility quite well. The trouble with Ride 4 is that it is too focused on its realism which means as a result that it#s far too heavy on its punishments. If you don’t instantly learn how to angle your bike into corners, rider weight distribution and speed from the get go then you will never win a race. It’s as painful as that.
If like myself you are a relative newcomer to motorcycle games then Ride 4 isn’t the game for you. I’m a motorsport fan and have dabbled in the odd motorcycle game in the past. But I don’t ever remember any racing game, cycle or car, to be as brutal as Ride 4. Even playing on the simplified difficulty setting makes even 600cc bikes tough as nails to control.
With most driving games now, career modes start with a few rounds of annoying time trials and checkpoint trials before you get your “licence” – much like Gran Turismo. Ride 4 features the same style. However with the ridiculous realism getting my racer’s license demotivated me that much that if I wasn’t reviewing the title I would have given up. Thankfully after more than a few attempts at the trials I was able to reach the bronze targets. This meant that I was finally able to tackle the rest of the career. Much like other racing games Ride 4, features a crazy amount of bikes to unlock. Unlocked bikes can then be used in the games Arcade mode, but to unlock them you need to do so in the punishing Career mode. Slowly chipping away at the trial events and the few exhibitions I had unlocked allowed me some funds to customise my bike.
Bike customisation is pretty simple. We’re able to exchange our often hard earned credits for performance upgrades such as tyres, engines, wheels as well us the option to remove the bikes licence plate and wing mirrors. Surprisingly I found that upgrading my bike made the whole game a little easier, which doesn’t make a lot of sense!? As mentioned before, Ride 4 has an absolute tonne of bikes to ride and features many well known manufacturers. From Ducati to Honda, or Triumph to Kawasaki there is a bike for every motorbike aficionado.
For better or for worse Ride 4 is the motorcycle version of Gran Turismo. It features a lot of content from bikes to tracks and lots of different events to take part in. For the price you pay Ride 4 is really worth your money. But when it comes down to actually being fun to play, it just misses that mark. Unlike other motor racing games on the market whether it be simulation or arcade, its controls are too stiff and extremely punishing. This results in a game that’s not fun at all unless your an absolute pro in the genre. Whilst impressive with its visuals and sound, Ride 4 is let down somewhat by its lack of accessibility which can be a problem in the current day and age of video games.
However its not all bad. If you an absolute pro at motorcycle games or even a returning player from Ride 3 then this game is for you. Its shear wealth of content is enough to keep you busy for a few hours. With adding the ability to unlock and upgrade hundreds of motorcycles then Ride 4 is a must buy!
+ Visually impressive
+ Wealth of Motorbikes and Tracks
+ Huge amount of events
– Very steep learning curve
– Punishing AI
– Assists don’t do their job
Reviewed on Xbox One X (also available on PlayStation 4, Windows PC)
A review copy was provided by the publisher.