Milestone loves motorcycles and has established itself as the go-to developer of choice for virtual bike riders.
Ride 4 is the studio’s latest offering and the newest instalment in a series that’s aiming to become the Gran Turismo of bikes. Ride 3 was a good game but still had issues, so has this year’s Ride 4 improve upon its predecessor?
The Neural AI that was such a big success in MotoGP 20 makes it to Ride 4 and it works perfectly here too. The NPC riders feel realistic and adapt to your riding style to attempt to go faster or defend their position.
LIKE THE REAL THING: Ride 4's graphics are a large improvement over Ride 3
The bikes look and feel as you’d expect as well, there’s an impressive amount of detail here. The handling model adapted from MotoGP 20, meaning it's very easy to transition from Milestone's other racers.
The main improvement though, has arguably been regarding the circuits and environments, the textures for your surroundings are some of the best on offer in the racing genre.
This is something that will only improve further when Ride 4 is released on next-gen next year too.
One of the main complaints about Ride 3 was its lack of accessibility to new or inexperienced players. Milestone has addressed this for 4, adding in challenges at the start of the game which are very handy for newcomers.
For example, new this year is a mode similar to F1 2020’s Track Acclimatisation practice tutorial. This teaches you where to place your bike and how fast you need to be going around specific corners.
Bikes and Tracks
As you’d expect from Ride, there are plenty of circuits and motorcycles on offer to sink your teeth into. There is a wide array of circuits from all over the world and some tracks you don’t often see in major racing releases.
AROUND THE WORLD: You have loads of circuits on offer to race around
You also gain affinity towards certain makes and models of bikes depending how much you use them, so loyalty pays off.
Ride 4 encourages you to modify your existing bike rather than buy a new one, and this is further complemented by an excellent customisation system.
COMING SOON: Racinggames.gg, the new home of motorsport gaming
Everything from the mechanics on the inside to the decals on the outside is available for tuning and editing, exactly what all petrolhead love!
Also new in this year’s game is a day/night cycle. You may notice the clock in the bottom-left of the HUD indicating what time of day it is.
In addition, there’s now dynamic weather too, which is perfect for the new endurance races which can be raced and can be up to 24 hours long!
The bulk of your time in Ride 4 will be playing the Career Mode and while this is a good mode, it’s not without its flaws.
There’s a lot on offer to get into, you can spend dozens of hours going through the races available around the world.
CHOOSE YOUR RIDER: Everything down to whether you have your leg out while braking is changeable in this game
If you absolutely love racing bikes, this is perfect for you, but the lack of variation with its challenges won’t endear it to the more casual player.
Career Mode is better in this regard than Ride 3 though, there is more variation, just not as much as other games.
There are some more aspects to Ride 4 that will turn off some newbies too. While completing the early Career Mode challenges, specifically the time trial challenges, you’ll often be punished for the tiniest mistake.
Some are fine, but for others you’ll be instantly disqualified if you place even a pixel of your bike off the track. This happens a lot, even if it’s onto a run-off area that is before the clock starts.
However, despite all of this, Career Mode in Ride 4 is enjoyable, even if it takes a little getting used to.
In future though, it'd be good to see something like Forza Horizon's free play included into Ride. Motorcycles aren't just designed to be raced, some are to be driven around and enjoyed with the scenery around you.
Multiplayer has been tweaked from Ride 3 too. There are improved online servers to allow for a more pleasant and consistent experience overall.
It’s hard to tell how this will affect the game at this point in time, but the signs are positive going into Ride 4's general release.
Ride 4 isn’t perfect by any means, but Milestone are listening to the community and making improvements to its gameplay. However, some of the old issues are still present, especially when it comes to the accessibility of the game.
However, despite its flaws, this is still the best bike enthusiast game that money can buy and a must for those that into all motors on two wheels.
We're very excited to play Ride 4 on next-gen and to see what Ride 5 will offer in a few years' time!
RealSport Rating: 4 Stars (out of 5)
Ride 4 is released on PS4, Xbox One, and Windows PC on 8 October. It will also be released on PS5 and Xbox Series X on 21 January 2021.