Throughout the past several years we’ve seen multiple titles from series such as Ride, Monster Energy Supercross, MotoGP and MXGP all arrive on our consoles, bringing with them some of the finest displays of racing realism you could ever hope to experience without actually taking to the seat of one of those beastly two-wheeled machines in person. Now though, RiMS Racing has arrived, taking a spot on the grid, and looking to take the racing world by storm. Does it match the high standards that we’ve come to expect from the big hitters in the genre though?
Coming from the team over at Raceward Studio and backed by the hefty budget of publisher Nacon, RiMS Racing brings a simulation style racing experience that looks to delve into the world of some of the finest superbikes on the market. Whilst we’ve already the likes of MotoGP 2021 bring top tier racing this year, it’s safe to say that nothing we’ve seen so far, or will likely see for the rest of the year, will match the lofty heights you’ll experience in RiMS.
RiMS Racing pulls no punches when it comes to offering as realistic a racing experience as possible. My opening moments with the game were met with a quick rush to pause followed by a scroll through the available settings because I’d assumed I was being thrust into the hardest difficulty from the off. This may seem like an unusual way to begin but the reason for this was due to the fact that before I’d even let wheels hit the track, I was expected to master the false start as the race begins by holding in the clutch and watching on as the lights turned to green before timing my launch to perfection to prevent a stall.
This may not sound like much to start off with, but in any other racing release this year, this alone is a feature that is usually done for you in the background whilst your focus is on the accelerator and the steering, even braking is usually a secondary focus thanks to some sort of assist. In RiMS, that’s not that case, they want you racing elbows to the ground from the very first corner, and that is only the start of the excitement.
The overall goal of the game is to become the next RiMS Racing World Champion. That is of course if you start by jumping into the extensive Career mode offering available. Other options include Single Race, Private Testing, Academy and Tutorial. Multiplayer of the Online and Offline variety is also available.
Single Race is pretty self-explanatory, whilst Private Testing aims to provide some customised training sessions whilst removing the threat of opponents, and Academy looks to teach you the more in-depth lessons about how to ride and set up your bike, then there is a tutorial because you can never learn too much.
For most players, Career Mode will be the place you spend the majority of your time and for good reason too. Beginning a new Career is as you would expect, you first create your rider and choose your starting manufacturer before being coached into a seasonal race calendar full to the ‘RiM’ (apologies to all) of events for you to complete. The first season is comprised of 70 events which is by no means a small amount, and throughout the season you’ll be taking part in Sponsored events with rental bikes, track races, point to point races, cups, face-offs and more as you look to build towards the coveted title at the end.
The core focus isn’t just on the racing itself, however, which I’ll get too shortly, but also the mechanical side of how your bike performs – or doesn’t perform – when out on the track. Through the completion of events, you’ll earn cash and skill points. Skill points are used to fund and upgrade your research, whilst cash will be the defining factor in keeping your bike in tip-top condition.
To do this, players will need to keep an eye on the many different components of the bike and believe me when I say if it’s on the bike, you’ll probably find yourself having to shell out for it at some point. From the windshield to rims, mirrors to exhausts, tires to brake pads, you name it, you’ll be buying and replacing it. Even the fairing (the shell of the bike) will need replacing at some point when its condition drops enough.
As for the replacing of the items, you’ll even need to manually mount and unmount each item with various button prompts and presses before shopping for each new part and potentially giving your bike an entirely different look in the process – think Car Mechanic Simulator and you’ll be on the right track.
Whilst that all sounds exciting and fun – which it very much is! – let’s not forget the real reason we have all been quietly eyeing up RiMS Racing since its reveal, and that is of course the racing.
Out on the track, you’ll have several things to focus on. Of course, the main priority in any racing game is the finish and doing whatever it takes to cross the line first. Doing that on a consistent basis, and without heavy penalties is going to take a lot more effort than other racing titles we’ve seen over the years though. Even on the easiest difficulty, RiMS can present quite the challenge.
Not all of this challenge is quite what you’d expect, and it has to be noted that the A.I.’s part in the difficulty should be put down to their overly aggressive nature rather than the difficulty of any skill. Throughout my time with the game, almost every race saw full speed shunting and heavy collisions in some capacity, be it to the rear-end of my bike, which then sent me tumbling to the tarmac or between the A.I. opponents themselves as riders tumbled off onto the asphalt in front of me.
Survive the first few corners though and what you’ll find is some of the most realistic and intense racing we’ve seen yet, with even the slightest mistake enough to have you swimming amongst the gravel. Through every corner, chicane, and even the straights, you need to be fully focussed if you want to squeeze the ultimate performance out of your bike. If that’s not enough pressure, then a press of the select button (the two windows that I refuse to call anything else) will see your race paused and a Motorbike Status Check (MSC) window pop up showing each of the key components of your bike, their condition from good to critical, and more useful information about each one that can help you better understand what needs improving or replacing when you get back to your HQ.
As mentioned before though, cash is key when it comes to replacing parts on your bike and finishing events in a decent position isn’t easy. Mid-race players can tweak settings such as the Traction Control System, the Engine Brake, and the Anti-Wheelie settings to best suit their riding style, whilst even the easiest difficulty will require you master the use of both the front and the back brake simultaneously, and even with all assists on you can still expect a healthy challenge as you go about your racing.
Another point of difficulty comes in the form of a lack of the famed rewind feature, made famous all those years ago in the Grid series and used now by almost every racing game we come across. Instead, a mistake here will usually have you under investigation from the race stewards to see if you’ve caused an infraction before any potential penalties are assigned, or require a full restart of the event entirely. At the time of writing this review, I’ve probably restarted around 200 events and counting, and there’s plenty more to come.
Whilst it is certainly a challenging game, it has to be said that RiMS Racing offers, without a doubt, some of the most enjoyable and exciting racing we’ve seen yet and what only makes this better still is the incredible sounds that emanate from the very machines you’re racing on along with the breath-taking visuals that will no doubt add to the delight of any photo-mode enthusiasts out there. From a visual and audio standpoint, RiMS Racing is something to marvel at. From the bikes to the tracks, and the components to the soundtrack that sets the edgy tone in the background, RiMS is a game that is firing on all cylinders, and whilst it might be nice to see a few more of the iconic tracks from racing history made available, this is certainly a game that has raised the standards for racing as a whole.
Overall if you want a refreshing bike racer that elevates the usual tropes and exceeds in all the key areas, then RiMS Racing is the experience you need. Whilst it might falter slightly with some questionable A.I. aggression, and it may not have quite the number of iconic locations as some racers out there, there is more than enough to get lost in with this two-wheeled dream ride. The petition for RiMS 2 starts here!Become a Patron!
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox Series X/S. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.