Here in New Zealand Spring is in full swing and the weather is warming up. Cue all the fair weather motorcycle riders dusting off their leathers. I prefer to take to two wheels in a safer manner, from the comfort of the couch. And the Ride Series has been cruising along since 2015 for just that purpose. And here in 2020 is Ride 4.
So the time is here to dress in tight leather and stick some high powered machinery between my legs. Lets ride!
Road Rash! Or Ride 4 fun?
Ok, so first of all I’m not a great talent when it comes to racing games. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy them as shown by my hours in the likes of the Forza Series. But Ride 4 has tested my patience to a whole new level. The Intro/Tutorial requires you to complete a clean test lap in under a set time to even progress to the actual Main Menu. During this test lap, even the slightest deviation of the track will invalidate your lap. For me to get a clean lap my times were way too slow. Rage quitting isn’t my style but it happened here, several times. I finally got the lap done but the experience soured the whole game going forward. Oh, and Career Mode just ramps up the difficulty by not just invalidating your lap if you touch the dirt but making you restart the race!
Training Wheels Option?
Accepting that I am really bad on two wheels was a start. But with every setting adjusted to my favour still didn’t help. Good old practice is what I required. Slowly I got use to the controls and bike handling. Thankfully the Quick Race option drops you right into the thick of it, with no restriction to which way you want to travel. I my case gravel, dirt, and piles of tyres were frequently involved. But just being able to get around in your own time was nice. Not pretty, but nice. Still not a fan of the clean lap under a certain time to progress. Makes Career Mode really unattractive to me. The frustration vs reward is is way to skewed to frustration for a new or casual gamer.
As the saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And if you are going to imitate something, why not the best, sans a couple of wheels. Forza Motorsports has long been a leader in the racing genre. Ride 4 takes that tried and true formula and applies it to the world of motorcycles. Even the visuals are Forza-esque, and that is a great thing. Ride 4 is very nice to look at. Add to the mix dynamic weather to mix things up and you really do have some lovely eye candy. Load times are a pain, especially in the forced restart races. Will be interesting to see what the Series X/PS5 does to alleviate these.
It is hard to judge something when it is mainly my ability, or lack of, that is the concern. Ride 4 doesn’t hold your hand, but it also doesn’t offer to help you up if you fall too often either. Passionate motorsport enthusiasts will be straight in but those less affected by petrol fumes will struggle to stay engaged with Ride 4’s difficulty. There are plenty of tracks, bikes, and gear to entice those who are drawn in, that’s for sure. I think my motorsports fix is now definitely found in the form of open world games like Forza Horizon. Motorcycle games are light on the ground though and I’d have no hesitation in recommending Ride 4 to those in search of some two wheeled fun.