Instead, the game takes away the controls and puts you into a menu to restart the challenge again. It breaks up any flow the game can muster and only frustrates the player as they sit waiting to regain control of the bike on the next attempt having sunk almost two minutes into said challenge already and built up feeling which is undone by the break in play.
Having such long AI-controlled portions is also one of the flaws in general gameplay. Beginning a time trial lap has you sat watching the AI bring you onto the start of your attempt, the starts of endurance races play out without you controlling anything as you watch riders run from one side of the track to the other and then for the first 500 meters of the race itself as riders fly by you and you’re unable to retaliate.
AI riders can behave fairly unpredictably, leaving you to decide whether or not you will be crashing or having to take avoiding action, but largely perform much better than in previous games. Tuning the AI difficulty to your preferred level will make for an entertaining race, with the HUD offering live gaps to the car in front and to the leaders simultaniously, something that is a very small but very welcome feature.
Any track limits infringements will be added to your race time at the end, taking the time gained by running outside of the track and tacking it on to your overall time.
The handling model makes for a challenging experience and mastering one of the 170+ bikes available in the game is a demanding but rewarding one. From track machines to road bikes, endurance-capable or dirt track, there is plenty to get stuck into vehicle-wise.
The circuit list has also been expanded from the previous game to include the likes of Snetterton and Magny Cours. All of the 30 tracks available in the game will be able to be raced in a full day/night cycle or with variable weather, but you’ll only ever get to experience the changing conditions in endurance races. These races can go from half-hour dashes to full 24-hour cycles for the extra dedicated player.
Ride also has a level of customisability for your rider and bikes using a paint tool. Players can get creative with their own designs for helmet, leather and motorcycle meaning you can get as in-depth as you want with how you look on track. You can share your creations online or download the more popular designs from players around the world.
Performance-wise, you shouldn’t experience any major issues with the game. Other than a few instances of frame loss and infrequent stuttering, the game was smooth and those issues will likely be patched out post-launch.
With the learning curve resembling a brick wall, many beginners and casual players will be left floundering and short of the full experience that Ride 4 can actually offer. More experienced players can extract the lap times and appreciate much more than the pretty bikes.
However with that high bar to clear, nailing a lap or overtake is extremely satisfying, particularly if you have been brave and turned off some of the assists you might have used to get to grips with the game in the first place.