Review: Ride 4
We were already allowed to get started with Ride 4, the new part in the long-running series of motor racing sim games. With 175 engines and 30 tracks, there is plenty to do. Despite the trailer only just coming out, the release of Ride 4 is already around the corner.
Ride 4 takes a slightly different approach than its predecessors. Players just starting the game will start with some tests. This is where the frustration starts. I'll do my best to put this frustration aside, but I'd still like to protect players. That's why I'll start this review with the negative aspects of the game.
The career mode takes on a more logical structure this time. Players will start in a regional league of their choice and, after earning enough prizes, will progress to the world leagues. Before you even start the career mode, you will have to do a few tests and qualifying rounds. This is where the punishment begins. If you go just outside the lines of the circuit, the current, and sometimes even the next, lap will not count. It makes sense that the developers want to see how far you can stick to the ideal racing line. However, it does mean that if you have trouble with the game, you will not enter the game.
Ride 4 takes itself very seriously. Just getting access to career mode is already an achievement. You would think there should be some reward for that. That is not true. Players start out on a Yamaha R6, a common and fairly mundane motorcycle. It is not the case that you can choose which engine you want to start on. That's unusual considering Ride 4 uses an affinity system that rewards manufacturers for loyalty. You can of course earn more credits quite quickly by racing. That way you can eventually buy other engines.
However, the racing is not easy. Anyone who thought only the qualifying races would be frustrating was far wrong. And again, if you're wrong during the races, your lap doesn't count. Then there is the AI. Ride 4 uses a custom AI system developed by Milestone. The AI will also make adjustments and will continue to learn as you progress in the game. That sounds great, but that's where it goes wrong again. The slightest tap from an opponent can cause you to break free from your motorcycle and crash. However, the opponents themselves seem invulnerable. The way the game treats the player here is downright bizarre. There is no penalty for crashing opponents, as opposed to going outside the lines.
This is where Ride 4 falls short. Although the setup is smart, and you get more rewards as you turn off different assist systems and switch to manual shifting, for example, there is no way to adjust the difficulty yourself. Opponents are much better in Ride 4 than they were in the previous titles.
So far, we've been pretty negative about Ride 4. However, that is not the intention. Now that we've had the downsides, let's move on to the positives. Ride 4 is by far the best in the series. Racing has never been so good. For many of us it will never get that far, but for the players who get the hang of the controls and start making real progress in the game, it will be a great experience. With various classes, many different tracks and the choice to ride any bike, there will be plenty to keep you busy.
Physics and graphics have improved enormously. The tracks look fantastic, and driving the different bikes has never felt so good. The difference between the engines is, in addition to the different speeds, clearly noticeable. The difference in suspension and braking power is always obvious. You can also change these settings per engine yourself.
The customization is also great. Every well-known brand is present. This also applies to the equipment of the riders. Every modern motorcycle helmet, every suit, and every high-end gloves can be found. You can also adjust these in color. Players can use from 6 different slots for outfits. This way you can always ensure that your equipment matches your current motorcycle. And there, too, the choice is huge. Cafe racers, naked bikes, supersports and circuit racers are available from all well-known, but also less well-known manufacturers
Ride 4 is rock solid. Enthusiasts will certainly enjoy themselves. Physics have improved a lot. While there are still some physics issues surrounding the collisions, the driving itself has never been better. In addition, there are plenty of game modes, including the new endurance mode. The AI is also better than it used to be. However, opponents will still sweep you off the road without a doubt.
The endurance mode adds a whole new dimension. Players will have to pay attention to their fuel consumption and the condition of their tires. The races can last from twenty minutes to twenty-four hours. So you will have to think carefully about when you want to enter the pit. Once there, you will have to choose exactly what you want to do during the pit stop. This can have a major impact on the rest of the race.
Those who want to tame the controls and difficulty will certainly enjoy Ride 4. For most players, especially the newcomers, this will not be doable. The career mode, despite the fact that it has a good structure, is tedious, very difficult and hardly rewarding.
If the developers took the time to work on the AI some more, and make Ride 4 more accessible for newcomers and players who are a bit more casual, this would be a rock-solid motor racing game. However, in its current state, Ride 4 is more suited to the veterans.
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