The good and the bad.
Not all racing games are created equal. Some simulators have gained the status of legend thanks to their quality and level of realism. Others are content with keeping their spot in the lower tier and meeting the minimum requirements to deserve the name “racing game”. The Ride franchise is one of the top options for motorcycle racing enthusiasts looking to grow their own virtual career. Good news, the fourth installment of the series is coming in 2020.
Italian firm Milestone launched the first Ride game in 2015, followed by Ride 2 in 2017 and Ride 3 in 2018. The company has now announced that Ride 4 will launch in 2020 with the promise of increased realism and accuracy—something the game could definitely use.
In addition to the whole “new and improved” spiel, Milestone confirms its partnership with Yamaha Motors, however, the press release doesn’t specify what the nature of the collaboration will be.
What I Would Like Ride 4 To Improve On
I’ve had the chance to play Ride 3 on Playstation 4 over the past year. Contrarily to some games that offer to get you on some generic-looking motorcycle, the Ride franchise uses actual, recognizable, branded models, both vintage and new. Buying your first Ducati or Triumph is made extra special because of how good the bikes look. The tracks reproduced for the game are also existing ones you might have seen in MotoGP or WSBK. I have to say, the attention to detail in the bikes and tracks’ graphics is pretty spectacular.
The level of possible customization of the game is also amazing. The track conditions can be personalized, the rider’s abilities and actions as well, and of course, the bike can be set up and upgraded in countless ways. Not only do the new parts you get to buy along the way alter the motorcycle’s on-track character but you also get to adjust the front and rear suspension, the level of braking, the throttle input, etc. The higher the specs of the components you install, the higher the level of adjustments you can make. Eventually, you find the sweet spot that fits your riding style and your bike to perfection and once you start winning races, it’s extremely satisfying.
Once you hit the track, however, things aren’t as good. The physics are wonky and taking curves can be a nightmare (hairpins on the Isle of Man are a disaster of cones flying everywhere and the rider literally getting ejected off the bike if you try to straighten it too fast). Despite hitting that “setting sweet spot” I referred to earlier, you can’t win against bad in-game physics.
I’d like Ride 4 to add a bit of refinement in the controls, making the connection between the joystick and the reaction on the screen a bit smoother. The physics of the game could definitely use some help as well. I think it could greatly enhance the experience. Qualifications could also be a good addition to the game—as things currently stand, you only get to gain experience by actually racing. I haven’t found any practice sessions and there are no qualification rounds—no training wheels.
That being said, the company already has really solid bones to work with so I’m excited to see what Ride 4 will bring to the table.