Welcome to This Is Not A Review. In these articles we discuss general impressions, ideas and thoughts on any given game, but as the title implies, it’s not a review. Instead, it’s an exercise in offering a quick recommendation (or dismissal) after spending enough time to grasp the ideas and gameplay of a thing without necessarily playing it from A to Z.
The subject of this installment: Ride 4, developed and published by Milestone.
I’ve been on a racing game kick lately. Though my preference is usually for the arcade variety (Burnout and Need for Speed come to mind), in an attempt to broaden my horizons, I ditched four wheels for two in Ride 4.
The Ride games are a series of motorcycle racing sims. Think of something akin to Forza Motorsport, but with bikes as opposed to cars. Ride 4 is a serious racer that focuses on the intricacies of Grand Prix motorcycle racing (aka MotoGP).
As a newcomer to this style of content, my initial impressions, I’ll start by saying that this an experience clearly meant for those who are diehard sim fans or motorcycle gearheads.
Honestly, I struggled a bit with the opening gameplay segment. I was tasked with trying to obtain a certain time in a qualifying race. As someone who is awful at turning or drifting sharp corners in most racers, having to contend with a vehicle that moves with my driver’s body takes a lot of getting used to.
Most of the game is simply racing, though there is a lot of added variety thanks to weather effects and a day and night cycle to shake things up. There are several different modes included, and I spent the most time with Career mode. Here, players pick one of three leagues (European, Asian, American) and compete in several different races across different countries.
Racing felt good once I got the hang of it. It’s very fast (…and furious) but there is an elegance to maintaining one’s balance. Even better, the game offers plenty of options to assist new riders (like me) with things like automatic braking and more simplified controls. Sure, I never got to the comfort level I might have with an arcade racer, but I appreciated it.
Racing aside, what really piqued my interest in Ride 4 was the garage and dealership. Similar to other racers, Ride 4 is a virtual collection of gorgeous bikes — brands like Yamaha, Honda and Harley Davidson are all represented here, with an extensive editor included too. Players can edit the colors of their rides and riders with some great options including colored helmets, tracksuits and even riding style.
Ride 4 is an in-depth experience that’s definitely made for enthusiasts. While I enjoyed seeing what it had to offer, mastering its mechanics is an uphill challenge that made me realize I will probably never race motorcycles in real life.
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