Creating a good motorcycle racing game can be tricky. On the one hand, if it’s done like an arcade-style game, it runs the risk of being deemed “too easy” by enthusiasts, without the precision control that’s expected for a game of its type. But, on the other hand, it can also be too technical, shutting out the opportunity for casual players to enjoy it, while die-hards try to master cornering and other racing skills. It’s a tricky rope to walk.
That didn’t stop Nacon and the developers at RaceWard Studio from trying the formula with RIMS Racing, a PlayStation 5-infused race-a-thon that goes for all-out realism. But the question is if it succeeds. Well, it could have, if it weren’t for the annoying parts surrounding a pretty good racing engine. It’s like trying to get back into the race, only for little road cones to pop up over the course of your journey.
Let’s talk about the racing itself. While definitely on the technical side, RIMS isn’t totally non-withstandable. In fact, its controls aren’t too bad at all. You can handle your bike with ease, without complications or any sort of hiccups getting in the way. In fact, the PS5 version of the game actually makes great use of Haptic feedback, though the rumble through Xbox One isn’t too shabby either. It makes for great handling of the bikes.
That is until you have to get around to fixing the bike. One major hindrance is when you’re asked to perform maintenance, and you will, considering that a ride can’t really last forever. Once that happens, you’ll have to go to the garage and swap out parts. This happens often and surprisingly drags the game down when all you want to do is get going.
There is another feature in RIMS where you can do quick swaps. But, oddly enough, this actually utilizes quick-time events. Quick-time events. In a racing game. They’re fairly simple to get through, but the fact they’re included here – stopping whatever you’re doing in the race itself – is annoying. They should’ve been done away with in favor of quick decisions or, hey, just letting the parts get upgraded automatically and getting back to the actual racing.
At least free play alleviates some of that pain, and also introduces some cool multiplayer components, including the ability to race someone on split-screen. It can get a little cramped on some occasions, but overall it’s a good feature – and does away with most of the technicalities that hold up the racing itself.
That said, the performance could be a little better under the hood. The track design is intuitive, and the next-gen speed of the game isn’t too bad, but RIMS still runs into its fair share of glitches, as well as some pop-in within the environment that’s really hard to ignore. We assume that the developer knows about these and is hard at work on fixing them, but let’s hope it’s sooner rather than later. Otherwise, the rest of the game isn’t bad, but it’s hardly next-level like, say, Codemasters’ epic DiRT 5.
In the end, RIMS Racing is at its best when it gives up the sum of its parts and just gets back to the general idea of racing. Handling is well done here, and when the game introduces multiplayer fun, it delivers. I just wish the other hang-ups, like the graphic issues and the weird gameplay elements, didn’t get in the way. This ride’s a little bit bumpy, but those of you that are die-hard racing fans may want to consider giving it a go.