Ride 5: A Love Letter to Motorcycle Enthusiasts

REVIEW – Milestone, the Italian game development studio, is basking in its high point. While it hasn’t quite reached the heights of renowned four-wheel racing game developers, Milestone has effectively cornered the market on motorcycle-based games. With lauded titles like Supercross, MotoGP, and SKB, not to mention their continuation of Hot Wheels Unleashed, the Ride series stands as a beacon in the motorcycle gaming genre, elevating its longstanding formula.



If you’re a die-hard MotoGP 23 fan, you might still be engaged when Ride 5 drops on consoles and PC. The creators, however, don’t see these as directly competitive products. While MotoGP is an annual release with minor updates, Ride 4 came out in 2020; now is the perfect time to check out the new features aimed at all the bike junkies out there.


Milestone is no joke when it comes to motorcycling - and as for RIDE 5, if it delivers half of what it promises, it will be worth a try!


“The road to happiness is a motorcycle ride away”


Diverging from Milestone’s usual offerings, the game Ride captures the exhilaration of motor racing without the confines of a predetermined competition schedule, real-world riders, or official regulations. While there are both upsides and downsides to this, we believe it’s an ideal pick for those who just want to enjoy the race without any fuss, especially if allegiance to the MotoGP universe isn’t a priority. In fact, we’re inclined to say it’s the top choice for casual racing thrills.

That’s not to say that everything in Ride 5 is make-believe. Right off the bat, it’s evident that Milestone is putting as much care into this franchise as they do with their other automotive simcade titles. Their enthusiasm for motorbikes shines through, showcasing brands like Ducati, Aprilia, BMW, Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawasaki, and several others—predominantly from Italy and Japan. The game allows you to customize these high-powered machines in various ways, from tweaking the performance-affecting components to altering their aesthetic appeal, as well as that of your rider, through a user-friendly vinyl editor. Plus, you can share your custom designs.

Equally important to the game are the circuits. Ride 5 features around 40 diverse tracks, including different versions of each. The majority are real-world circuits such as Nürburgring Nordschleife, Brands Hatch, Imola, Monza, Mugello, Laguna Seca, and Spanish tracks like Circuito Costa de Almería and Circuit Ricardo Tormo. These span continents including Europe, America, Asia, and Africa. In addition to these, Ride 5 offers fantasy and location-based tracks like Southern 100, French Riviera, North West 200, Ulster GP, and Kanto Temples. However, it’s worth noting that among these, only Blue Wave Circuit, set in Hawaii, is a fresh addition—the others are carryovers from previous Ride installments.



Real tracks are more important


Milestone places a significant focus on incorporating real-world tracks, which seems to resonate well with player preferences. However, this strategy feels like a missed opportunity to us, since these tracks are already well-known across various racing titles. What sets the original tracks apart are their unique challenges: they feature trickier corners, narrower areas that leave little room for mistakes or overtaking, and a visually stunning backdrop of fields or villages. We anticipate that future installments of the game will highlight these unique tracks, giving the driving game genre more character and a distinct edge over competitors.

The game offers several modes where players can experience this content, such as Trajectory, Career, and Multiplayer, as well as an editor to create custom competitions. While online cross-platform racing will keep players engaged for a considerable time, Trajectory is the game’s main solo mode. Here, players take on a sequence of tests across categories, vying for the title of the world’s best driver by competing in the World Tour.

In Career mode, a narrator walks you through your journey in the world of motorcycling. To ascend the global rankings, you must participate in various events like championships, cups, one-on-one duels, and races limited to specific bike types. With ten standout rivals each possessing unique personalities, and a total of over 200 playable events, there’s no shortage of challenges. The game also includes an optional path known as Unlimited Challenges, featuring heightened difficulty levels and more lucrative rewards.

Though the game doesn’t bring anything groundbreaking to the table, it will certainly keep players occupied for a substantial amount of time—somewhere between 20 to 50 hours depending on the content covered. The game offers a diverse range of motorcycles and race types, giving a personalized touch of human competition. Players also have the flexibility to spend in-game credits on new bikes, performance boosts, or visual enhancements. Plus, the addition of mid-race saves in endurance races makes them more inviting to play, especially those lasting 24 hours.



Balancing challenge with accessibility


In our review of MotoGP 23, we highlighted the need for Milestone to make the game more welcoming for novices. That’s because mastering a motorcycle’s controls is fundamentally different from learning to drive a car. A single misjudged corner, a badly-angled incline, or even a slight off-road detour can send you tumbling. Ride 5 addresses this issue effectively, providing an array of tools and accessibility features such as assisted braking, recommended driving lines, and auto-acceleration. The game also allows you to adjust both opponent aggressiveness and bike control, not to mention the rewind function for those little mistakes. The game is inviting and addictively engaging. Even if you’re a newcomer to the realm of motorcycle gaming, you’ll find it relatively easy to get the hang of it. We found Ride 5 to be more user-friendly compared to MotoGP 23.

Ride 5 introduces several tweaks in bike behavior compared to its predecessor, Ride 4. One noteworthy addition is the dynamic weather system. This feature lets players select the time of day, cloud cover ranging from clear skies to stormy conditions, and even how fast time progresses in-game. While this is beneficial for drag races, it adds an element of unpredictability to any racing experience. Milestone didn’t stop there; they’ve elevated the game’s visuals by replacing the 2D skybox with volumetric clouds that morph over time, adding a layer of realism to the weather conditions.



Cityscape racing thrills


When it comes to graphics, Ride 5 doesn’t depart much from MotoGP 23 in terms of its visual engine, both being powered by Unreal Engine. This technological consistency is most evident in the official race tracks, which, while precise, can be somewhat bland in presentation. However, Ride 5 flips the script when you enter its city circuits. Here, especially in wet conditions and with dynamic camera angles during replays, the game flirts with photorealistic quality. Those who were wowed by Ride 4’s graphics will find moments in Ride 5 that are equally captivating. While it may not consistently deliver this level of visual fidelity—appearing a bit more subdued in brighter conditions—the immersive experience it offers at its peak is unparalleled.

The audio elements of Ride 5 are a bit of a letdown compared to its visuals. While the game does justice to the sound effects of roaring engines, its menu and replay music are somewhat forgettable. Unlike licensed games like MotoGP, which understandably might not feature a top-charting soundtrack, Ride 5 is more of a simcade and could benefit from better musical ambiance. It’s not a deal-breaker, as the sound of the motorcycle engine provides its own kind of music, but it’s an area where the game reveals its constraints in production values.



A great entry point


For those who’ve been on the fence about diving into motorcycle gaming, Ride 5 presents itself as the top current choice, especially if you don’t need the bells and whistles of official championship licenses and real-world racers. It’s enjoyable, packed with content, and accessible while still demanding respect for the bikes you’re tasked to master. As of now, Milestone holds the championship belt in this driving genre.



+ Comprehensive yet easily accessible game mechanics
+ Various tracks, both real and fictitious
+ Strong emphasis on customization options


– Limited innovation in career mode
– Weak musical accompaniment
– The original tracks are missing

Publisher: Milestone

Developer: Milestone

Style: Competition

Publication: 24.08.2023.

Ride 5

Gameplay - 8.5
Graphics - 9.2
Career mode - 7.8
Music/Audio - 7.2
Ambience - 8.3



Ride 5 offers an engaging, feature-rich motorcycle racing experience with something for both novices and experts. While it excels in gameplay mechanics and customization, it falls short in soundtrack quality and innovation.

User Rating: Be the first one !

Spread the love
Avatar photo
BadSector is a seasoned journalist for more than twenty years. He communicates in English, Hungarian and French. He worked for several gaming magazines – including the Hungarian GameStar, where he worked 8 years as editor. (For our office address, email and phone number check out our impressum)

No comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.