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RIDE 5 Review: Burning Rubber For Championship Glory

Milestone’s motorcycle racing game, RIDE 5, adds new features, revamped game modes, racetracks, and bikes in the pursuit of pole position.
RIDE 5 Review: Burning Rubber For Championship Glory

RIDE 5 is the next installment in the motorcycle racing series from developer Milestone, known for developing some of the biggest motorcycle racing titles, including MotoGP, SBK, and MXGP, and now returns for another thrilling entry.

With a revamped Career Mode, new race creation feature, crossplay lobbies, Dynamic Weather systems, and the return of split-screen multiplayer, plenty of racing action can be found in single-player, online, and with friends. With the game slated for release on 24 August, 2023 on PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S, will it race across the finish line in pole position to claim the championship victory or suffer a crushing defeat?

RIDE 5 Review: Overview

According to its official description, RIDE 5 incorporates a “stunning level of realism and lifelike experiences,” built for next-gen consoles to give players the best motorcycle experience. What makes RIDE 5 so different from previous motorcycle racing games is that it's accessible enough for players of all experiences to start up their bikes and learn the mechanics to become great.

Additionally, some new features, including AI-based riding aids, assist players in handling their motorcycle, such as braking, cornering, and steering. Likewise, the game will bring forth new technical enhancements to add a blend of realism, such as the Dynamic Weather system and volumetric clouds for atmospheric views, stunning lighting, depth, and shape.

Featuring some of the world’s most iconic locations from around the globe and original racetracks exclusive for RIDE 5, players can take their racing campaign from sunny California to rain-drenched London and the demanding circuits of Japan. Players will gain access to a garage of motorcycles suited for competitive racing, endurance, street, or night-time racing to battle test your two-wheel monster for tournaments or single-racing experiences.

RIDE 5 Review: Gameplay & Content

Inspired by a reworking of MotoGP 23’s Career Mode, Milestone has borrowed a few aspects to revamp the Career Mode featured in RIDE 5. A detailed trailer revealed how its Career Mode works as it’s split into four chapters featuring an array of races from Single Races, Time Attacks, and Endurance across tracks from the United Kingdom, USA, Japan, and more.

Through Career Mode, players will unlock more motorcycles to help them get ahead of the competition or grant theme eligibility in the next group of races, for which there are 200 races total in this mode. When competing in these races, however, you will need to earn a specific amount of Leaderboard points which helps you advance and unlock exclusive motorcycles offered as rewards.

ride 5 opinion guide review career modeprimary secondary events championships endurance
Compete in over 200 events around the world, from championship competitions to endurance races in Career Mode. (Picture: Milestone / Ashleigh Klein)

RIDE 5 also includes an all-new feature, Race Creator, which gives players the power of creativity to design custom races on their favorite tracks to create the ultimate championship race day experience. The Race Director mode puts you in charge of organizing the races by enabling specific settings, match rules, and implementing penalties and bans on racers, the latter of which will be added in a post-launch patch update.

Race Director will be extended to various online multiplayer modes and features like crossplay and Leaderboards for one hotly contested race around the track. RIDE 5 also has single-player and multiplayer modes for those looking to further push their machines to the limit against CPU-controlled racers and online players.

Those who’ll be spending hours tweaking their motorcycles to compete with players online will be happy to know that the developer has included crossplay multiplayer. You can go online to race with your friends playing on PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S consoles for championship glory. Speaking of multiplayer modes, one of the most requested features, which returns to the RIDE series, is split-screen multiplayer. Players can now race with friends in co-op multiplayer fun.

RIDE 5 Review: Technical Issues & Criticisms

ride 5 opinion guide review career mode first race choosing motorcycle bike performance issues
Despite the slight performance issues experience, Ride 5 has enough content for players to experience solo or with friends. (Picture: Milestone / Ashleigh Klein)

During my playtest of the game’s review build, I did experience some performance issues which hampered my gameplay experiences. As this review was conducted on PC via Steam, playing the game at 30FPS and 60FPS was excruciatingly tricky as the response time to controller inputs was delayed by at least two seconds, which determined whether I could take the sharp hairpin turn or crash into the barricade.

It also made it challenging to decide on the brake response timing, which placed me far behind. Relying on the Rewind feature to avoid nasty collisions and cornering was terrifying — I didn't know if I was going to make it or faceplant into a barricade. Scrolling through the menus was quite challenging due to the game’s performance issues, but I hope this will be resolved in a future patch update.

As someone that has played plenty of racing games from Forza Horizon to Motorsport, Need For Speed, Burnout, and Gran Turismo, the lack of a tutorial mode may deter new players from jumping into the game. Some gameplay mechanics may make it frustrating for them to learn, even with the inclusion of Racing Aids, which helps with understanding the mechanics; for veteran players, this won’t be much of an issue.

As the performance issues didn’t deter me from jumping into the exhilarating action on the racetracks, RIDE 5 has plenty of content for players of all experiences to enjoy. Despite this hampering my initial gameplay experience, I could still compete in races online and begin my racing career to championship glory in Career Mode.

ride 5 opinion guide review gameplay features photo mode automatic shots
At the end of each race, there will be a collection of photos to choose from within the in-game Photo Mode. (Picture: Milestone / Ashleigh Klein)

While it does feel like a slight inconvenience ahead of its release, it could be a potential issue when the game launches. It also doesn’t have a tutorial or a training feature to help players new to the game series, or racing games in general, making it difficult for them to jump into.

It took me a couple of hours toggling my gameplay and race settings and tweaking my bike’s handling; I found the sweet spot, and only then was I able to enjoy racing. Even with the AI opponent’s difficulty set relatively low, RIDE 5 could be hard to master if you don’t get a handle on the game’s mechanics.

Regardless, the game has plenty of content to keep you racing and advancing your career, and with crossplay lobbies and the return of split-screen multiplayer, you can challenge your friends to burn some rubber on the asphalt.

RIDE 5 - The Verdict:
RIDE 5 is a thrilling experience, with plenty of content. But with a high learning curve, you'll need to spend quite some time finessing your racing experience before it gets really good.
Review code was provided by the publisher.
Reviewed on PC