Ride 5: First Impression – What’s new, Al system, Mod changes, technical leap, dynamic time & More

2 months ago By Ronny Walker

Milestone focuses on PC, PS5 and Xbox Series to offer a driving game with improvements in physics, artificial intelligence and weather.

If you are on social networks, you may have come across the viral clip of Ride 4 in its next-gen version, a video that became popular due to the photorealism of its images. Yes, it doesn’t look this good at all times, but in the right conditions, it’s spectacular. That was an intergenerational game. Coming to PC, PS5, and Xbox Series on August 24, Ride 5 has been designed from the ground up for next-gen machines.

Accessible realism thanks to innovative AI systems

It looks pretty awesome, maybe not as much as in that scene (although sometimes even better, at least in the PC preview we’ve tested), but that extra power hasn’t been used just for the graphics. Milestone’s objective is for Ride to become the Gran Turismo of motorcycles, a benchmark in its genre, those realistic titles that do not become a simulator, thanks to the visual and physical aspects.

And also for the numbers: 20 manufacturers, more than 270 racing, endurance and street bikes, and 44 tracks, many of them real. But it is not in the weight that Rides 5 stands out, but in a carefully designed physics system, which is easily noticeable when looking at the details: the tires deform depending on how you drive, which affects the controls, and visible moment to moment of the race.

The career mode is aimed at having a garage that is not very large but in which we have made an effort to improve each motorcycle.

This edition comes almost three years after its predecessor, they have paid special attention to accessibility, something that they have also taken into account in another of their recent releases, MotoGP 23. This is a series of artificial intelligence-based driving aids that allows the simulation to control the brakes, cornering, steering, accelerator and more by the player.

It may sound very intrusive, and in part it is, but as a Milestone representative said in the presentation, it is wrong to try to adopt the ways of guiding the player of car titles in a motorcycle game. Here’s a bigger problem to address: the crash. Falling off the bike is not fun, so they have had to find a balance between challenge and help so that the novice learns gradually.

Their falls and those of their rivals are frequent, especially in the early stages of the race.

This translates into a customizable AI aid system with dozens of options that offer a very different experience depending on whether or not the various settings are activated or not. For example, in our first game, we chose to activate everything, and the truth is that it was even boring: it wasn’t just that the bike had skates, it’s that they had us grabbed to avoid any mistake.

For the next one, we use one of the general, standard settings, and turn on a few more aids. The thing was very different. The speed of the bike and how long it took to turn made the experience almost terrifying: every time we got close to another rider we knew what was going to happen. We ate a lot of land. But little by little we learned when to brake (something that the superposition of the line does not indicate exactly) when to start turning, and how to approach overtaking. Rewinding helps a lot to solve track departures, which can annoy us a lot.

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In short, we learned to play, and this AI system was taking our skates away despite continuing with the knee pads stuck to our sweatpants. Artificial intelligence has also been used to incorporate a system that has reminded us of recent GRIDs, but less explicitly: throughout the race disputes are created with the other runners, who can become antagonists, so that they are more aggressive when overtaking or blocking a pass.

Mod changes and an ambitious-sounding career creator

There are also novelties in the modes. The campaign will adopt this mechanic from the antagonists in our race to become the best pilots in the world. With a classification similar to that of tennis, we must compete in many events throughout the world, both in real and original layouts, to earn points that allow us to move up the ranks.

There is a wide range of support options.

In this trajectory we will meet riders with their name: there are 10 in total, with their cinematographic scene of presentation, their unique 3D modelling and clothing, and their motorcycle preference. The order in which we face these challenges will depend on where we choose to start: we can start the race in Europe, Asia or America, and depending on our origin, the first available championships will be on one continent or another.

Throughout the four acts in this way, we will participate in more than 200 events, which are divided into main (more accessible, and which at first work as a tutorial) and secondary (their entry is more expensive, but they offer better rewards)  Gradually we will improve our performance on the handlebars, better teams will sign us and we will have a bigger garage that we will fill with the bikes that we buy with the credits, a currency that will also be used to improve them.

The camera from the pilot’s helmet increases the tension.

There are also changes to Endurance Mode, Long Duration Races: Dynamic Time gives it an extra strategic dimension. In addition, you can now save the game and continue with the race at a later time, and for the first time in the series, they can be played online through an online mode for up to 20 players, with cross-play on consoles, which has been restructured. and it has new modes such as Ranking; Of course, the split screen mode for two returns, with 12 runners on the track.

But probably the biggest revolution in the online mode is in the creation of races, a sandbox, in the words of Milestone, that allows you to choose any of the available tracks and adjust a lot of options, such as the number of competitors, the weather, the type of motorcycles and many other things. The Italian study promises that it will be so deep that it will allow recreating mythical sports motorcycling races, and of course, all that user-generated content will be shareable, although this function will not be available until after the premiere.

We can customize the starting light, time of day, time compression, weather type, and racing weather.

A technical leap that stands out for its dynamic time

We’ve mentioned it in passing, but one of the big new features in Ride 5 is dynamic weather. Not in the functionality itself, that too, but in a couple of technologies that give it a certain spectacularity. On the one hand, the sky has been renewed with a three-dimensional simulation of the clouds. On the other hand, these clouds now have realistic shadows on the track, leaving part of the track almost completely dark. It may seem like a trifle, but all this added to the real-time calculation of the temperature of the track, greatly affects what we see on the screen, and what we feel at the controls.

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We were able to prove this in one of our last runs with the demo when we had already removed a handful of aids. When choosing a fast race, we can select how the dynamic weather will work, that is, the number of phases through which the weather will pass throughout the competition, as well as how fast it goes from one to the other. Thus, we can start with the sunny sky, which little by little becomes cloudy, a good downpour quickly falls and it clears up again.

The sensation of speed and the weather effects are well achieved.

Seeing all these changes from a third-person view is attractive thanks to the fact that the bike models have been redone with photogrammetry and CAD modelling provided by the manufacturers (there are also improvements in the physics of each vehicle), but it is much more spectacular with the first-person views, especially one that recreates how a real pilot would see the situation; Although it makes the experience more difficult, it is worth it for the level of immersion achieved.

The traffic light turns green on August 24

Milestone has not revolutionized the series with each season but has gradually evolved. Ride 5 is not intended to offer a giant leap either, but to improve the known proposal using artificial intelligence, physics and more advanced graphics. But this time there is a generational change involved, and with the gameplay of approximately half an hour that we have enjoyed, we can affirm that it shows. We will see to what extent on August 24, when it is released on PC, PS5 and Xbox Series X / S.

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