RIDE Visual Analysis: PS4 vs. PC vs. Xbox One

Milestone’s current gen racer is heavy on the bike detail.

Posted By | On 30th, Jul. 2015 Under Article, Graphics Analysis

Of the many racing simulators flooding the market in the past few years – including DriveClub, Forza Motorsport, Forza Horizon, Gran Turismo, DiRT Rally, F1 and whatnot – not much attention has been given to Milestone S.r.l’s titles. The developer has built up a fairly decent catalog of racing simulation titles in the WRC and MotoGP series. RIDE is another such motorcycle racing title but features an array of vehicles from brands like Kawasaki, Yamaha, Ducati and much more. It even goes back in time a little to the mid-90s and 80s for some vehicles, resulting in a well rounded selection of bikes. RIDE is also significant in that it’s only available in Europe for the Xbox One, PS4, PS3, Xbox 360 and PC – it will be making its way to North America by 2015 end.

We decided to take a look at RIDE’s visuals and determine just how realistic it really is. Will it be worth the wait for American gamers by the time it finally ships?

If you’re walking into RIDE expecting a frame rate of 60 FPS on consoles, then prepare for some disappointment. On PS4 and Xbox One, RIDE runs at 30 frames per second. The exclusion of 60 FPS isn’t necessarily a bad thing as long as the frame rate stays locked. The PS4 version is a good example of this since it can manage a number of effect and bikes on-screen at once while maintaining a solid 30 FPS. The Xbox One version, sadly, doesn’t have this luxury and the frame rate drops pretty often into the mid 20s.

Head to head video comparison between the PC and Xbox One versions.

Thankfully, both versions sport a native 1920×1080 resolution with the PS4 winning out with more refined effects. It’s in 1080p that the sheer detail on RIDE’s bikes can be admired but it has its drawbacks. The overall full HD effect comes across as rough even with anti-aliasing present. This is because it doesn’t really prove effective on the cars and foliage, and further paints the cockpit view with stair-stepping artefacts. And while the bikes themselves look great in both design and representation, the backdrop design feels a little too plain.

This is especially apparent when looking closely at the game’s foliage elements. Though better than previous MotoGP titles, the foliage assets come across as pixelated in 1080p. Anti-aliasing doesn’t affect these either, which is just a shame. To top it off, any real since of immersion that the beautiful bikes manage to convey is ruined by the spectators which consist of little more than copy-pasted sprites. They stick out like a sore thumb sadly. It’s also odd to note how some tracks actually look more detailed than others. Could this have been the result of trying to rush the game onto current gen consoles? Or will more time be required with the hardware before Milestone S.r.l. can crank out a truly remarkable current gen port?

Despite Milestone’s experience with the MotoGP games and the overall improved lighting in RIDE, there are no lens flare effects. The material system is also mixed in its implementation, resulting in different variations in matte textures. In terms of texture filtering, a trilinear approach was taken which comes across as blurry. Overall, RIDE doesn’t exactly give the impression of a true “next gen” racing sim. It fails to convey any significant leap from, say, last year’s MotoGP 14.

Camera and object blur implementation are completely missing. There’s a limited amount of vehicular damage in RIDE though bodywork deformation is procedurally generated in real-time, which is a plus. Reflections on bikes tend to be rendered in low resolution but you only really notice this during the pre-race introductions.

Head to head video comparison between the PC and Xbox One versions.

How does the PC version compare to the PS4 and Xbox One versions? Firstly, texture quality is pretty much identical across all platforms. There are only slight differences in the clarity due to the post-processing effects employed. Otherwise, the PC version offers more options in terms of customizing one’s visual experience.

The amount of details in the world is easily higher on the PC as you’ll spot a more plentiful supply of rocks, grass, foliage and whatnot. These details feel scaled back on the PS4 and Xbox One by comparison. The filtering on the PC version is also capable of bolder shadow outlines on Ultra settings. While the current gen consoles don’t compromise all that much on shadow quality, the settings are a tier below what the PC version can deliver.

Issues like texture filtering and limited anti-aliasing thankfully don’t affect the PC version. You can opt for 8x AA, a higher resolution and hit 60 frames per second. Testing the game on our usual set-up with a GeForce GTX 980 at the highest settings further confirmed that 60 FPS was easy to achieve. Even if the animation and character models can be downright laughable, RIDE does a good job with its physics. So there is that.

Though it has a wider range of options than consoles, there isn’t a very in-depth catalogue like Slightly Mad’s Project CARS. For some reason, you’re limited to how much memory can be allocated to details like reflection quality, blur and track textures. Because the one thing PC gamers want is a limit to what their hardware is capable of delivering in a game.

RIDE isn’t the worst looking racing sim by any stretch of the imagination but it’s far from the best. Detailed bike models and a native 1080p resolution clash with sparse track details and backdrops, sub-par texture filtering and several pared back settings that really keep the game from being “next gen” on the PS4 and Xbox One. The PC version is easily the best looking option among the lot but if you’re restricted to consoles, you’re better off choosing the PS4 version. Along with better effects work, it doesn’t suffer from any drops in its frame rate. That being said, it isn’t too different from the Xbox One version when it comes to texture quality, details and resolution.

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