Ride 5 Review – Authentic, challenging races

Ride 5 provides an authentic and challenging experience that doesn't stop being fun when you're losing,but PC players are better off getting a controller for this title.
Ride 5 Featured

Ride 5 is the fifth installment in a series dedicated to realistic and exciting motorcycle racing. It’s a game for those with a real passion for motorcycles and one that prides itself on its authenticity in portraying the racing experience. It advertises authenticity so much, in fact, that I just had to get the opinion of someone with real track experience before writing this review. To my surprise, we both had very similar things to say about the experience this game had to offer.

Upon launching Ride 5 and getting past the initial setup, you’ll find yourself welcomed by a cutscene describing the thrills of racing motorcycles on the track. This cutscene transitions into a practice ride, throwing you right into the action and giving you an idea of the game’s controls. If you’re playing on a keyboard at this point, good luck.

Ride 5 Race
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

Ride 5’s in-race controls are actually fairly simple, something I really appreciate. On a keyboard, you’ve got six buttons to keep track of; WASD for your general movement and braking, E to shift up, and Q to shift down. With a controller, you use the left stick to control movement, L2 and R2 to brake and accelerate, respectively, and X and B (or square and circle) to shift. Your other controls are less important to the actual race and are mostly flair.

As with most games, you’re going to control way better on a controller than you do on a keyboard and mouse. The stick and triggers just make for far more subtle control of your ride; subtle acceleration and breaking, subtle turning, etc. WASD on the keyboard will see you overcommitting to every movement and require tons of corrections. This is a problem a lot of games can’t seem to figure out. Being able to turn with the mouse would have helped a lot with steering, but you still have that acceleration problem.

A controller is definitely the way to go, but you’re going to need more than the right equipment to become a great racer in Ride 5.

Mastering turns, speed management, and shifting will be your biggest learning curve in Ride 5. If you don’t know when to shift up or down, you’re going to find your speed capped and your acceleration sluggish, seeing you fall way behind the rest of the racers on the track. If you don’t know when to slow down for a turn, you’re going to go flying off and smash into a barrier, a mistake I’ve captured in numerous screenshots.

Ride 5 Crash
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

The game has a sort of guiding trail to show you the optimal path you need to take to make the turns, but simply understanding the physics of racing isn’t enough. When I announced I was reviewing Ride 5, my dad—who has been riding for 20 years and has (unprofessionally) raced Laguna Seca and several other tracks—just had to get his hands on the game. What we both discovered is that technical knowledge will only get you so far, and you’ll have to physically train your reactions and control of the game to really excel in these races.

I never felt like crashing a bike or losing a race was overly punishing. I never wanted to quit the game due to a crash. This is partially due to the generous ability to rewind time in a race, allowing you to compensate for a mistake you just made as if it never even happened.

Even when my mistakes couldn’t be fixed in a way that saw me winning first place, I didn’t feel cheated by the game. The difficulty of the riding just felt like a skill I had to learn, and placing last didn’t hard lock you in place and prevent you from proceeding. If you’re losing races, all you have to do is practice, and a great way to do this is to ride solo on a track before you tackle it in a race. This is a tactic professional racers employ, and one the game even subtly mentions to you in the opening cutscene.

Ride 5 After Race
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

With practice under your belt, you can hit the game’s career mode to participate in incredibly lifelike races. Circuits are defined by the type of bike you have and take place across a myriad of different scenic tracks located all over the world. By participating in races (and hopefully, winning), you’ll earn cash that lets you unlock, tune and otherwise customize your bikes. Having a fleet of perfectly modified bikes is a great feeling, and racing to unlock newer, better machines is a simple but effectively fun mechanic that every racing game should employ.

Outside of the track, Ride 5 features a great deal of customization for both your rides and their riders. Want to truly personalize your character? You can do way more than change the color of your gear with a truly dynamic sticker system that lets you create near-infinite designs for your helmet, suit, and bike.

Ride 5 Helmet Stickers
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

You can even customize your riding style, choosing how you lean in turns and how many fingers you use to brake. That kind of level of detail is where Ride 5 shines and makes it stand out from other racing games on the market.

The Final Word

Ride 5 is a game that prides itself on its authentic portrayal of motorcycle racing. Much like real racing, you’re going to have to get some time on the track and really practice to steal first place from your competitors. This isn’t a problem, as each ride feels fun to control, with scenic tracks and intuitive mechanics that make it very forgiving to make a mistake. Just make sure you break out your controller if you’re playing this game on PC.

8

Try Hard Guides was provided with a PC review copy of this game. Find more detailed looks at popular and upcoming titles in the Game Reviews section of our website! Ride 5 is available on Playstation, Xbox, and Steam.

Erik Hodges

Erik Hodges

Erik Hodges is a hobby writer and a professional gamer, at least if you asked him. He has been writing fiction for over 12 years and gaming practically since birth, so he knows exactly what to nitpick when dissecting a game's story. When he isn't reviewing games, he's probably playing them.

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