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Ride 5 Review


 

Developer: Milestone

Publisher: Milestone

Reviewed on: PS5

Also available on: Xbox Series X & S, PC

Release Date: 21st August 2023

Rating: G

 

Life is a highway, I (nearly) wanna RIDE (5) it all night long….


The latest instalment in the RIDE series is now out, and with it brings some fresh new features, including a refreshed career mode, dynamic weather effects and is now playable cross-platform, a feature becoming much more common now, blurring the lines on needing any particular platform to play with friends.



After booting the game up, you are offered the usual choice of some difficulty and customization options and are (somewhat unforgivingly for a newcomer) thrust into a 1-on-1 race battle. If you aren’t too familiar with the series, it will be a struggle even on easy difficulty, as getting used to the bike physics can be a challenge. It took me a handful of races to really get used to how the various bikes handle.


A generic voiceover walks you through all the menus, explaining in detail what each part of the game entails. As expected, there are mostly the same options as the past iterations – Quick race, multiplayer/online (including split-screen co-op), customization for bikes and your rider, and a career mode. You can also create your own custom races and now even championships.


After I fumbled my way through the intro race, I dove head-first into the career mode, which is what I spent most of my time in. I tried out a few of quick races but did not get a chance to play online head-to-head, so I will not touch on this in my review.


The career mode is about as simple and straight forward as it gets. You start off with some easy and quick races and work your way up to more intense and longer events, including some timed endurance races. Most of the world’s biggest bike manufactures are available, and they each have plenty of models to choose, from decades old bikes up to modern 1000cc beasts. The on-track action is fun, testing and engaging, and I had a really great time falling into a flow state and trying to perfect my lines each lap. The AI puts up a good challenge, and makes each race feel high pressure. Although the career becomes bland in terms of not having much to do outside of racing, besides some bike and rider upgrades, the actual gameplay itself is incredibly satisfying and feels very well done. You can easily accrue new bikes through purchasing them with in-game credits or winning challenges, and it doesn’t feel like a grind at all, which is nice considering this has become a common theme with modern gaming.



Graphics wise, the bike models really look immaculate. Every single bike is meticulously detailed and riding them on each track and checking them out in the photo mode is fantastic. Unfortunately, the environmental detail on and around most tracks isn’t great, and I also found the colours to be a bit washed out. I tried on 2 different gaming TVs, adjusting some settings and still found it bland. The track environments still have a last-gen feel to them, with a lack of detail outside of the track itself, and mediocre lighting effects. Cut scenes are repetitive and meaningless, and the human models in the game really aren’t great at all. This didn’t particularly bother me, as the game is essentially about being on the track, but it absolutely takes away from the immersion.

As for performance, RIDE 5 ran at a consistent 60fps and had no issues with lagging or tearing. The loading times on PS5 were exceptional, and jumping between menus and racing is a breeze.



RIDE 5 has plenty to offer for die-hard bike fans. I really enjoyed the thrill of racing, and as I mentioned earlier, once I got the hang of the game and entered a flow state it was quite easy to lose hours playing it. It is a true racing simulation game, and as such does have a reasonably steep learning curve. I would probably steer clear (no pun intended) if track racing isn’t really your thing, as there isn’t much else it offers. On the contrary, if you want plenty of fun action and a plethora of bikes and gear to choose from, RIDE 5 is a solid option. Overall, the reasonably uninspiring career mode, bland environments, steep learning curve and some last-gen quality graphics unfortunately don’t make it a must buy for the casual gamer.



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