When I did the preview for RaceWard Studios’ new motorcycle sim, RiMS Racing, back in July, it was a game where the more I raced the more I wanted to race. There was a steep learning curve I did not fully appreciate until some real time was spent with the title. The preview I did gave me a glance at a title that was trying something different than most, and that had me very excited. Now it’s time to find out if different means better in our RiMS Racing review.
What I Like – RiMS Racing Review
On-Track Racing And Physics
Most racing games I review, whether it be of the two- or four-wheel variety, often reward you for pushing the boundaries and capabilities of the racing machine of your choice. RiMs takes a different approach, and while I struggled mightily at the beginning of my journey through, I came to respect and appreciate what was being done here.
RiMs is a motorcycle title about racing, but it’s also about appreciating the track, the venue, the bike’s capability, and the driver’ skills. It does all this in a way that wraps it all together. When these elements are able to blend, it’s a symphony of cohesiveness.
If your goal is to win by pushing the boundaries of everything you can, you will find yourself frustrated, confused, and often in last place. I know this because it was my early approach. As I progressed and learned how to stay within the capabilities of each bike, learned the nuances of each closed venue or open track, and raced within those parameters, the game really started to open up for me.
For those worried that the game may be a bit more than you can handle or consume, RiMS offers multiple levels of difficulties and different physics settings that range from beginner to full-blown simulated physics — and can be adjusted along the way.
Nothing on the track in RiMs is black and white, and everything requires moderation, adjustment, and understanding. If your initial approach to the title is handled in such a manner, your entry into the world of RiMS will be a much smoother journey than what I experienced during my own hard-headed journey.
Career mode feels more like a career as both a rider, shop owner, mechanic, and a bit more. The game starts you out on a path that includes 70 events, and the events vary between a manufacturer showcase, a one-on-one race, challenges, or a standard race.
RiMS Racing also gives you the option to participate or pass on events. However, the more events that you skip, the more credit and team points that you miss out on. The credits and team points are the lifelines of your career mode as that is the path to bolstering your facilities and stable of bikes.
What I liked here with this approach is that the variations in options to enter each weekend kept things from feeling repetitive to a large degree and gave a sense of real involvement in how my career was going to unfold. What makes the game deeper and adds an RPG feel is the fact that your bike’s components deteriorate over time, and as mentioned before, this is where the credits that you have earned come into play. The parts wear over time and are impacted depending on how conservative you are during your time on the bike.
If you are more apt to drive aggressively and push your bike harder, the components will rapidly degrade, which means the bike’s performance will dip as time goes on, and those components will need to either be repaired or replaced.
Once the components are used up to a degree where they are no longer viable, you have the option to sell those on the market for credits. While it is easy to forget about selling these used parts, it’s vital as it adds to the bottom line and inventory space is rather limited.
During your career, you will earn and accumulate both credits and team points. Credits, as mentioned before, can be used to purchase new bikes and components. Team points on the other hand are used to unlock and utilize the skill tree in both the R&D and management departments.
When unlocked, the management skill tree will allow you access to perks such as inventory discounts and larger inventory storage, which can come in handy as your career progresses. For the R&D department, with each unlock there will be new component information acquired. There is also weather forecasts for the upcoming weekend event, and if you unlock enough skill tree tiles, you can even access what type of bike setup your opponent is using.
Most of this isn’t new when it comes to racing titles — we have seen multiple developers utilize this RPG-style element regarding the vehicle’s overall upgrades and improvements — but it is handled extremely well here in RiMs and adds a nice layer of realistic depth to career mode.
I also want to make a small mention here of the in-house penalty system that RiMS provides during your career mode. It is a system that looks at the error that has taken place and does so by investigating it. This would normally be a trivial aspect of a game to include in a review, but I put this review system to the test. I wanted to see if it did recognize when I tried to correctly navigate the track, or made a simple mistake, or made a mistake by trying to cheat the course.
Every single time the investigation correctly called out what I was trying to do and never penalized me for a true mistake. However, it did know when I made no effort and was just trying to circumvent the legalities of the track path.
In short, RiMS delivers a deep and enjoyable career mode.
For me, I spent most of my time with RiMS inside career mode for the reasons I spoke of earlier. That said, many will take their talents online. Those who do should be pleasantly surprised by the online suite of options that are provided here.
The RiMS online suite includes the ability to jump into a public lobby for a single race or cup championship, create a lobby for the same reasons, and provides online challenges that also provide live leaderboards to see where you rank among the best.
Whether it’s racing with friends and AI, or a public lobby loaded with real people to challenge at every turn, the online set of options for RiMS is quite impressive and worked very well at the time of this review.
What I Don’t Like – RiMS Racing Review
As often as this title succeeds on the track, one area of concern for me was the inconsistent graphical fidelity. The developers did a wonderful job of re-creating the bikes and venues that are in the game when it comes to detail, but too often the track-side details looked blurry and of low resolution. On top of the inconsistent graphics, even on the PS5 I often dealt with pop-ins throughout my time on the track.
These issues weren’t associated with just a single track either. I understand that RiMs is considered a mid-budget title with resource and financial limitations, but the resolution and drawing-distance issues are very noticeable.
Graphics and presentation often coincide with each other in these types of games, and RiMs is no exception. As much as I love the career mode provided in RiMS, the lack of presentation is saddening. There are a few lead-in screens of the track, and an occasional quick screen after the race is over, and then you are almost instantly shuffled back to the career home page.
Listen, as I mentioned before, RiMS is a mid-budget title and not every aspect is going to be enhanced due to limited resources. That’s acceptable to a degree as I would rather see time and funds allocated to the on-track gameplay. Still, the lack of presentation and the inconsistent graphics bothered me enough call both of them out here.
RiMS feels more like a two-wheel version of Gran Turismo, and that’s fine if people understand that going into the title. If one was hoping for another MotorStorm or even or a racing title that performed like the MXGP series or MotoGP, you should look elsewhere.
RiMS is a hardcore motorcycle racing sim and pretends to be nothing else. As I mentioned earlier, the game does allow for difficulty adjustments throughout to help acclimate yourself, but even on the lower levels it is unforgiving and frustrating at times. Some will struggle with the lack of presentation or with graphics that could have been delivered on the PS3, but there is an absolute addictive quality about the difficulty and challenge that RiMS presents, and it kept calling me back to the track.
There is plenty to do here regardless of your approach, be it single or multiplayer, and the career mode will consume you if you allow it. Adding RiMS Racing to your rotation is an easy sell if you understand full well the level of dedication and effort it will take to master each bike and venue.