RiMS Racing from developer RaceWard Studio is now available in select regions on Steam, Xbox and Playstation consoles, with the full release set for August 24th. Here is my review of the latest motorbike simulator.

RiMS Racing from developer RaceWard and publisher Nacon aims to position itself as a pure motorbike racing simulator, with much of the promotional material released during development focused on the ability for users to replace individual components of their bike off track.

The title features bikes from Aprilia, BMW, Ducati, Honda, Kawasaki, MV Agusta, Suzuki and Yamaha, and international race circuits including Nürburgring, Silverstone, Fuji, Laguna Seca, Paul Ricard, Mosport, Zolder, Bahrain, Suzuka and Monsanto, plus 6 fictional point-to-point runs and their reverse layouts.

The Good
  • Challenging and consistent motorbike physics
  • Immersive career and bike maintenance mode
  • Excellent attention to detail on the bikes
  • Fun point-to-point courses
The Bad
  • Poor graphical performance
  • Frustrating AI racing
  • Limited content selection
  • Too much DLC at launch

Graphics

RiMS Racing is visually a mixed bag. While the title utilizes clever camera angles during replay and AI-controlled times, the gameplay visuals are a different story. The motorbikes look great with noticeable rider animations, but the surroundings are only passable. Even on the highest settings, the tracks have a grainy look, and there is a very pronounced draw distance limit that hold this title back visually. A well-crafted photo mode allows you to produce nice shots, but those aren’t representative of the core gameplay graphics.

Animated fans and blowing flags are present at the various tracks, which is a nice touch, but the surrounding hills and flora are uninspired and take away from the immersion of racing at the various circuits or riding through the hills and seaside roads showcased on the point-to-point courses of the title.

It is also poorly optimized during gameplay, as evidenced by persistent and disruptive frame skips. Even on my 6800 XT video card, I was unable to maintain a steady 60 frames per second. There are three V-Sync options: 30 FPS, 60 FPS and off. With the V-Sync turned off, I was averaging 110 FPS on the highest settings but still getting frequent stuttering. This was mitigated somewhat by turning the settings down, but the title still performs far worse than most contemporary racing games.

Sounds

RiMS has great sounds overall. The high-revving note of the 1,000cc bikes is complemented by a throaty exhaust during off-throttle times, along with the pops and bangs you’d expect from superbikes. RaceWard was diligent with sounds during the development of the title, and captured real-world sounds not only from the trackside, but also from multiple onboard angles. This makes riding in a tight pack of bikes or chasing an opponent down a long straightaway the best sounding moments in the game.

Secondary sounds like the tires scrubbing across the road or running over grass and sand off-track are way down the in mix, but nicely done. Given the amount of time you'll spend in the garage working on your bike, it's worth noting that the music never seems annoying or intrusive. The career mode voice-overs are fine, and about what you’d expect from a racing sim.

RiMS Racing Review 02.jpg


Content

The content present in RiMS Racing is difficult to grade. The bikes themselves are fantastic. Each of the eight bikes are nicely detailed and include unique liveries and sounds, plus slight variations in the performance. The track selection includes 10 racing circuits and 6 point-to-point courses, each of which contains a good level of detail.

The other side of the content is the relative lack of selection. There is only one class of motorbike here, and each of the bikes has a displacement of roughly 1,000cc. The 10 racing circuits should be enough to keep most racers happy, but the bike selection does feel limited considering the difficulty of the superbikes. Point-to-point courses are a nice addition, and they give us a scenic break from the hardcore racing action, though navigating the tight slow sections of the courses tends to feel more like a survival challenge than an enjoyable cruise when using these furious bikes.

It’s worth noting that I tested RiMS with the Ultimate Edition on Steam. This included the seven DLC offerings. Even though RaceWard offered a 10% discount on the title to celebrate the launch, the pricing model does feel wrong. Seven DLCs on release day seems like far too much, especially since the title is comparatively light on content even with the Ultimate Edition.

Multiplayer

The current iteration of the multiplayer experience in RiMS Racing offers both timed challenges and online lobbies. As you might expect with a title this new from a smaller studio, the online lobbies are very quiet. But there is an option to create a lobby, if you and some of your friends want to race.

Shared laptimes are integrated into the title, so even practice laps in single player mode can be ranked against the best in the world. Overall, the multiplayer functionality is very good, but until the title gains significantly more popularity it will continue to feel limited for those who want to just hop in and race against others.

RiMS Racing Review 03.jpg


Single Player

Single player and career mode is definitely how RiMS Racing was meant to be enjoyed. RaceWard’s focus throughout development was pulling the gamer into the complete riding and management aspect of superbike racing. And they’ve done exactly that.

Most racing game career modes focus on the task of winning a sequence of races, with some titles offering opportunities to improve the car or bike. RiMS takes a different path, and the racing feels complementary to the management of the bike.

Overseeing the various parts of the bike is main focus here, and you’re tasked with tracking the wear of various parts of the bike including tires, brakes, dampers and springs. RiMS allows you to see the current status of the bike parts mid-race with the single push of a button. Between sessions, you’re tasked with removing and replacing parts, and you can even sell the used components.

It flirts with trying too hard by requiring you to rotate your analog controller stick to undo screws holding components in place on the bike, but the greater experience of managing all aspects of your bike overshadows the odd control requirements. The career aspect of RiMS carries the title, and is a fantastic experience for gear-heads and motorbike fans.

Outside of the career, you’re offered practice sessions at any of the tracks using any of the bikes, and the same content selection is available for single player AI races. The AI is unfortunately among the worst aspects of this title, and it’s common to see two computer-controlled bikes come together in the first corner, reducing the already slim field of ten bikes. The trend of AI bikes crashing into each other or into you at inappropriate times continues throughout the race, and seems to be present at each track. It doesn’t ruin the single player racing experience, but it certainly limits the enjoyment of it, since you need to be constantly on alert for an approaching bike to bump you, or for the bikes ahead of you to be imminently assuming the role of a speed bump.

User Interface

The menus in RiMS are well laid out, and the load times are good. The majority of users will navigate the menus with a controller, and the advance/go back buttons seem intuitive. The garage is nicely laid out, with three “rooms” of the garage helping to sort the career associated tasks. You would expect a livery editor screen in the garage, but unfortunately none is present. One notable bug is that the title seems to lack memory session to session, meaning that you will need to set up your favourite races from scratch each time you go back to the main menu or exit the game.

With the focus of the title centering around the career and bike maintenance, there are some head-scratching moments surrounding the controls and associated screens. When it’s time to service your bike, you are required to rotate, hold and combine buttons to replace components. This feels unnecessary, and arguably deters the best aspects of the title. The bike maintenance theme carries into the race sessions, and RiMS allows you to see the wear of various components at almost any point during gameplay. The level of detail of this assessment is impressive, but it seems like this could be part of a HUD and allow the game to continue instead of pausing the session.

RiMS Racing Review 04.jpg


Bike Physics

In its pure form, RiMS Racing is not for gamers looking for a casual racing experience. When the difficulty is set to Simulation with separate front and rear brake inputs, the bikes are very on edge and difficult to drive. Riding on curbs is perilous, and doing so while cornering is likely to end with you separated from your bike. Moreover, acceleration and braking need to be done with great caution, and the rear tire grip is on a razor’s edge while on the power, and braking too hard with the fronts alone runs the risk of pitching you right over the front of the bike.

Combining the brakes and turning down the difficulty mitigates or eliminates the dangers noted above, but the bikes never feel forgiving. There is still a need to brake early and carry less speed into many corners than you might expect, as the bikes are prone to understeer.

The riding experience in RiMS comes across as an unapologetic simulation, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As difficult as this title can be, it does feel consistent. Learning your bike and the limits of traction is a tall order for those who might be new to racing sims or bike racing in general, but the consistency makes it a rewarding experience once you do get a feel for it.

Overall

RaceWard set out to create a hardcore motorbike simulation with RiMS Racing, and they’re accomplished this. The career mode is clearly the focus here, and it brings an immersive experience to fans of superbikes or those looking to accomplish more than just winning successive races in a career mode.

There are a number of bugs present here in RiMS that should have been resolved before release, like the stuttering graphics and AI awareness. Repairing these issues will need to be a priority for RaceWard in order to attract and retain gamers.

Although I disagree with the DLC model at launch, I do recognize that the DLC content should be treated as a bonus rather than essential to the experience. The best of RiMS is found when you take control of each aspect of one bike, rather than sampling content as you might with other racing titles. From assessing and replacing components, to mastering the difficult on track experience, RaceWard has done well delivering a hardcore motorbike racing simulation that forces you to focus on mastery of your bike. And the rewards of that experience are impressive.

Tested on PC using a Playstation 4 controller.

Be sure to let us know your own thoughts on RiMS Racing in the comments below, or leave a rating of the title to share with others here at RaceDepartment.
About author
Mike Smith
I have been obsessed with sim racing and racing games since the 1980's. My first taste of live auto racing was in 1988, and I couldn't get enough ever since. Lead writer for RaceDepartment, and owner of SimRacing604 and its YouTube channel. Favourite sims include Assetto Corsa Competizione, Assetto Corsa, rFactor 2, Automobilista 2, DiRT Rally 2 - On Twitter as @simracing604

Latest reviews

Pros: Sounds, physical, innovative parts installation... Only eight bikes, but well simulated.
Cons: At the moment, none. Good performance with 6800 XT and 5800 X.
My review

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Comments

Seen you on Steam chucking some time at this i have every MotoGP, Isle of Man tt,Rides you name it but for some reason this title put me off.
I don't know why but might get this on sale and have a crack..
Really good to see you here Mike like i have seen so much reported on (no offence to the others) since you have been on here at RD and a very welcome one at that...
Sticky...
 
It's good to see another dev dip their toes in the waters of bikes simulation, but looks like I'll be giving the game a pass. I sort of feel sorry for bike devs as it's way more of a dark art than car sims. There's just no way to emulate the way you use your body to steer the bike, it's just so nuanced and a pad is incapable of simulating that aspect at all. Notwithstanding riding a real superbikes is much harder than driving a fast car, especially on the edge (not that I ever rode on the edge..honest guv).
 
This game has absolutely nothing going for it. The graphics look outdated and even the models in the loading screen look terrible. The sounds are mediocre at best, most of the time you can actually hear the samples overlapping and the most important part about any racing game is a complete joke...

The physics are utterly horrible and these bikes handle like they`re attached to some invisible rubber bands without any dynamic movements, wobbles or slides and on top of that very sluggish and stiff handling. And what`s up with the engine revving coming out of corners like you`re pulling the clutch? Is that suppose to simulate wheel spin?
I don`t understand why anyone would think these physics are anywhere near realistic? If you`ve ever ridden a real bike or even watched enough motorcycle races you`d instantly know how far off this game actually is...
Never thought i`d ever in my life say this but they have a long way to go for they reach the physics level of recent Milestone products.

The only novelty it has is this tedious and time consuming way of customizing one of the few bikes there are. This all would have been somewhat fine if it had a price tag of about 20 bucks, but seeing as these developers are already releasing "DLC" on release it`s probably nothing more than a ordinary cash grab that most likely gets one or two patches at most and then is left to die before they start hyping up a 2nd "simulation"
 
graham123
Premium
Have to agree with all above views, been playing for a couple of days and nothing jumps out at me to say to others "Get this Game"..
As for the release date DLC I feel I have brought a car from a dealer, will have to pay extra for the passenger seats!!!
whilst I understand the model behind DLC, Are we getting VFM on original purchase???

When a company has DLC on sale, on day one I feel like they are taking the P**S. and they have conned me into getting a game that was not complete at time of purchase
 
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Enzo Fazzi
Premium
Can't say I agree with much of your review.

I found the UI/UX design terrible. The Xbox controller "B" button doesn't always go back, like you're used to in other games. And the same goes for more of the standard buttons and functions. When you have the little circle menu that shows the different parts of the bike, you can't navigate them like you're used to with the analog stick.
The fact that you constantly have to change parts and repetitively do these silly button combinations to undo screws got annoying really quickly (and I only played for <2 hours before refunding it on Steam). It would already be a lot better if this was an optional feature.
On top of that, other things like weather for the next session wasn't really clear either, or not where and how you'd expect it anyway.

AI difficulty is linked to some other 'difficulty' settings, like being able to restart a career race. Also not a fan of this, please just allow the user to make this decision for himself.

The game is said to be aimed at simulation, but I couldn't find where to turn the racing line off anywhere? Maybe that's just me, but if it is possible, it only solidifies my point about the bad UI/UX design.

The physics aren't great, but I would say they have some potential. It's still quite arcady though, but they sort of handle like you'd expect.

And then of course the lack of content and abundance of DLC like already mentioned above.

Like I said earlier, I requested a refund within the 2 hour period.


Oh and to top it off, it is absolutely littered with spelling errors and typo's. It's really hard for me to take something serious when you can't even check something like that before releasing the game.
 
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Mike Smith
Staff
Premium
Seen you on Steam chucking some time at this i have every MotoGP, Isle of Man tt,Rides you name it but for some reason this title put me off.
I don't know why but might get this on sale and have a crack..
Really good to see you here Mike like i have seen so much reported on (no offence to the others) since you have been on here at RD and a very welcome one at that...
Sticky...
Thanks very much! I appreciate your support!

And yeah, this title isn't for everyone. It's definitely on the hardcore side. I'm enjoying my time with it, but there are some bugs that might be turning people off
 
Does the game do low and high sides correctly? Milestone games (albeit only upto Ride 2 and VR46 the game) I have are far too forgiving in that respect (TTIOM 1 even worse!).
 
The Good

  • Challenging and consistent motorbike physics
  • Immersive career and bike maintenance mode
  • Excellent attention to detail on the bikes
  • Fun point-to-point courses

WHAT. Who wrote this? Did the guy even play the game?
Physics are "challenging" only because of their insane inconsistency.
Immersive career? Really? With no progression, races that are pretty much a repetition of the previous ones, and with a "bike maintenance mode" that's mostly a mobile game chore? He calls that "immersion"?I bet he finds Need For Speed games very "immersive" as well. Hell they might just be more immersive than this.
Fun point to point courses? What's fun about them? Anything special, like traffic or hazards?
 
Ricoow
Premium
I just got a ps5 and was big time tempted to buy it for the casual motor kicks. I'll look further! Cheers Mike

Also DLC on release day is an absolute joke. DLC used to be actual addons of stuff developed after the release... Those were the days.
 
Ardylicious
Premium
I agree with many on this and the list of improvements is long.
It has its flaws but the core game is there and with bug fixes, track and Bike DLC's this game has potential. My fear is the handling which is better than its competition will try to satisfy those who like to play on realistic expecting GT sports with bikes.. Exactly what happened to Ride 4. Which lets be fair had horrible AI on release. Patience is key. Having played this for a few hours now i am really impressed by how the handling is albeit having to change my tires every time. So many quirks and annoyances in this game, like the horrible controller set up and menu's re- setting itself. Lack of classes. But that will come in good time.
For me this is an enjoyable experience that edges over ride4 for rewarding ones patience.
 
What keeps me from enjoying motor bike sim game is the lack of dedicated controllers. I imagine it will be a joystick like controller in which we can control the front tire with our fingers and feel the front and rear tires ffb through our palm and fingers.
 
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You have one dude giving it 5 stars, everyone says the sounds are garbage and this one dude saying they are great, kinda thinking he works for said developers or is a mate of thers lol
 
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Ardylicious
Premium
You have one dude giving it 5 stars, everyone says the sounds are garbage and this one dude saying they are great, kinda thinking he works for said developers or is a mate of thers lol
They are great. They sound meatier than Motogp and Ride. There might be comparisons on youtube on this. Sometimes being objective is a tricky thing in sim racing. Rims now hold the bar on sound.

 
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