Our regular readers will know that its somewhat of a tradition for me to review the annual releases of Milestone S.r.l’s racing sims. The quality of these releases has increased over the last couple of years, and Milestone has really settled themselves in as one of the flagship companies for racing simulators. However, as with most monopolies, a competitor is bound to show. This time around, it comes courtesy of RaceWard Studio, Nacon and Bigben Interactive. RiMS Racing is their latest offering in the motorbike simulation genre and takes aim at Milestone’s MotoGP and Ride franchises, but is it any good?
Well, considering that RaceWard consists of Milestone S.r.l veterans, you almost already know what to expect. At its core, RiMS is a hardcore motorbike racing simulator. But it is also more than that. It tries to distinguish itself by doubling down on all aspects of motorbike racing. This includes managing your career, as well as your ride. At any time during the race, you can check the status of your motorcycle’s parts and, if damaged, you can pull into a pit stop to change them. While this management component seems great on paper, the execution is a bit of a hit-and-miss. In-race pit stops are a set of quick-time events for each action that needs to be performed. Though this is intriguing at first, it completely disrupts the flow of the race. These quick-time events also extend to the bike management post-race.
Worn parts can be sold for credits after the race, which can be used to improve your gear. Inventory slots are limited, and managing which parts to fit, which to sell and which to keep as spares is an important factor in your success as a rider. Admittedly, I initially enjoyed this aspect of the game, and with more than 500 licensed parts you are spoilt for choice. You can literally select your favourite purveyor of brake fluid. Unfortunately, after a couple of races the upkeep becomes tedious, and with limited funds available it feels more like an artificial roadblock than immersive. In fact, you can even buy a perk that swaps the interactive part for a more conventional menu-style system. The game must be commended, though, for the sheer amount of customizability. Everything from tyre pressure to amount of fuel can be adjusted.
Another drawback is that there are only eight bikes available, and while they have been reproduced in peerless detail, the in-game graphics are lackluster. In fact, the entire game suffers from technical issues. Textures pop in and out, and on several occasions the video feed just cut out. The worst, however, is the framerate drops. At higher difficulties RiMS, like a typical racing sim, is unforgiving and you must “git good”. However, the framerate drops makes this practically impossible. This is particularly problematic when multiple riders appear on-screen, such as during the start, which is ironically when pin-point control is required. At the time of writing a new update was available, so this issue could potentially be fixed, but it did take away a lot of my enjoyment during my playtime. I also have to admit that I’m not a fan of the game’s soundtrack. The EDM soundtrack works great in-menu, but over the drone of a humming motorbike engine it becomes really annoying. That said, the bikes sound really good so you may want to mute the music or load up your own playlist elsewhere.
In terms of game modes, the expected modes are all here. The focus is, obviously, the Career Mode where players race across seventy events. Some events can be skipped by resting, but others will have you racing head-to-head, doing tutorials, or racing on ten real-world circuits. There are also five road routes. All these can also be raced as a single race, but during the career mode you don’t have the luxury of making modifications to the race configuration. The result is that some of the races are too long, especially those beginning with warm-up sessions. There is also an Academy mode which teaches you basics and advanced manoeuvres, but it has to be unlocked during the Career. Private Test allows you to mess around with bikes and configurations, but to be honest, it is nothing to write home about. A multiplayer mode is also available, as well as local splitcreen, which is a nice inclusion.
Overall, RiMS is not a bad game. It presents a couple of unique ideas, but the execution is lacking. Some of the issues can be patched post-launch (and probably will be), but in its current state I had to force myself to play the game. A racing simulator is challenging by design, but when technical issues stifles enjoyment, there is a much deeper problem. That said, I hope there will be another installment. I honestly find the career and bike management an intriguing concept and I hope they refine it more. It is also worth noting that the game retails for less than a modern AAA title, so it might be worth checking out if budget is tight and you are looking for a motorcycle racing simulator.
A review code for RiMS Racing was provided to Gameblur by the publisher.
Review: RiMS Racing (PS4)Review: RiMS Racing (PS4)
Visuals5/10 NeutralEven though the motorcycles are meticulously crafted and look like their real-world counterparts, the in-game graphics are a let down and are stifled by technical issues like pop-ins and framerate drops.
Gameplay6/10 NormalRiMS tries to distinguish itself by doubling down on the nitty-gritty details of motorcycle racing. This includes on and off-track management of your racer and ride using QTEs. Though this is an intriguing concept, it has the tendency to become tedious.
Audio6/10 NormalThe sounds of the engines are on par and sound amazing. However, I am not a fan of the EDM in-race soundtrack. It does work for the menus, though, and certainly adds to the excitement of racing.
- Core gameplay is solid
- Authentic engines sounds
- Execution need some work, but solid ideas
- Performance issues
- Texture pop-in
- Tedious maintenance and management featues
- Average career mode