RIDE 5 Preview - Come for the race tactics, stay for the crashes
Sim games have never been ones to skimp on realism.
Though we've seen our fair share of innocents trapped in swimming pools and locked in room-less, window-less cells, at large, the simulator game aims for pure realism at any cost, in order to well and truly put its player in the headspace of the truck driver, lawnmowing businessman or faceless god it wants you to be.
It's this realism that RIDE 5 prides itself on, taking the opportunity to allow the player some cheap thrills and firmly throwing it in the bin, favouring a deeply tactical, deeply extensive means of taking two wheels to the track and ploughing through the world of MotoGP. But even though it's one of few in the hyper-technical motorbike space, can it cut through the silence?
RIDE 5 is rip-roaring and arresting
The first thing that is immediately clear about RIDE 5 is that it is not a game that you just get to pick up and play. This game requires dedication, with no half measures.
Balance, speed, turns and tact are what will carry you to the finish line in RIDE, and thankfully for us, there are a lot of accessibility options to ensure that beginners don't take turns too hard and flop onto the tarmac. This won't keep up your reputation, though, and before long you'll need to take the stabilisers off in order to become the best racer you can be.
It's immediately clear that the game's "Gran Turismo, but for bikes" ethos has played into every corner of the development of the game, from the movement to the graphics, but it seems to take itself so seriously that it doesn't offer much room for fun for anyone other than the most dedicated.
The game is flaunted as a "sim-cade" title, but the "-cade" part was nowhere to be seen on our short gameplay trial. Winning a race is no doubt fulfilling, but it's a fulfilment that won't come from the high-octane race itself, but rather your ability to keep on the track and stay moving at a good pace for the entire run. RIDE 5 demands your full focus, or it'll leave you plastered on the hot ground as punishment - and for those used to the arcadey bombast of Forza Horizon or NFS, this isn't going to be a familiar experience.
Control freaks are going to love RIDE 5
There is plenty to be impressed by in RIDE 5, like its stunning weather system and beautifully rendered worldwide tracks, but the game's sheer speed may mean you forget to appreciate it.
You'll either be focused on not floundering onto the track or have your head down with the will to be the very best that it'll all fly by in a flash, and frankly, the beauty of it all deserves more focus from the player than that.
But, the game is very much designed with the simulation of motorbike racing in mind, and its dedication to this is formidable, even including its stunning backdrops.
So much impact on your race is commanded by each turn, lean and acceleration that it's very clear that this is a game for wannabe pros, and though it'll go down well with the most dedicated players of the likes of Gran Turismo and Truck Simulator, it's hard to see where the fun lies for casual players.
Being limited in scope doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing for the game, as it offers a chance for the game to make a select group of people very happy indeed - and if you think you come under that banner, then RIDE 5 is going to be a blast.
The intensiveness of RIDE 5 could prove to be a barrier to its success, or the key itself, and only time will tell if it comes around to blow the likes of Gran Turismo out of the water. We're just going to have to saddle up to find out.