Another Cog In The Motorcycle Racing Simulation
With the release of RiMS Racing, while not as abundant as its four-wheeled counterpart, the bike racing genre has thrived for several years more for its underground appeal than its mainstream potential. When compared to car racing games, simulation-like circuit racing games like Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo to rally simulations like the Dirt Rally and the yearly WRC series offer something for players to sink their teeth in. Bike racing games are generally few and far in-between, with Milestone’s Ride series taking pole position and the MotoGP yearly series being another example.
Another competitor aiming to offer the most extensive motorcycle motorsport enters the competition with Nacon’s RiMS Racing, a company familiar with simulation racing games including the WRC series. The developer this time around is RaceWard Studio, which seems to be their first project in general. It is a rather ambitious project, reaching levels that most racing games don’t even attempt to go including dismantling your ride and reassembling it part by painstaking part.
Customization Is The Main Draw For RiMS Racing
The main draw to RiMS racing is its customization, but not in the way players who grew up with Need for Speed in the past 15 years will think. The back of the cover boasts “over 300 parts” for the player to mess around with. With only eight bikes to choose from, a fraction of Ride’s starting lineup, further emphasis is focused on treating your bike like an extension of your personality and not just another toy to play with and unlock.
That’s right, there are only eight bikes in the entire game to choose from, one from eight representing manufacturers. Staples, including the Honda CBR 1000RR, BMW M 1000 RR, and the Kawazaki Ninja ZX-10RR, ensure that the fan favorites were at least included in the roster. Rather than be disappointed about the limited number of bikes, it’s best to treat each bike as a specific “character” like one would see in an Action RPG, and just like those games, the player can customize each bike as they see fit.
While Limited, Each Bike Is Its Own Character
Emphasis on parts management is taken to the extreme in RiMS Racing as each part has a condition meter, lowering as wear and tear accumulates throughout each race. Even the rider’s suit has a condition meter that can impact the performance of the rider separate from the bike. Players can identify the health---I mean---condition of each part in real-time during a race, observing several indicators that will tell them which parts are healthy and which parts are at risk of failing. Fuel management, tire pressure, stability controls, and other staples to the sim racing genre are also taken into consideration, this time with the player given the ability to perform Pit Stop actions via an interactive minigame.
In the garage, removing and replacing parts is like a separate game in itself, as the tutorial will quickly cover when it comes to replacing brakes as an example. In other games, exchanging parts is as simple as going to a menu, selecting the part you wish to remove, and then going to the shop or your inventory to equip a new part instead.
Removing And Applying Parts Is Like A Mini-Game
RiMS Racing works a tad differently, instead of requiring the player to first remove the brake disc from the bike using a series of commands, then removing the calipers from the disc, and finally removing the pads from the exposed disc. Afterward, the player reassembles the brake disc utilizing the same steps but in reverse.
For every part that needs a replacement or removal, this process is done, some with simple commands while others require complex button presses for larger parts. For research, I wanted to see what parts were possible to remove and which weren’t. After five minutes of removing every possible part from my bike, my Ninja was left as a skeleton with nothing but its base form and engine intact.
Despite Impressive Ambition, RiMS Racing Is For The Hardcore
It was here that I realized the true intention of RiMS Racing as a game for the ultimate bike enthusiast. For fans of racing, ironic with the word being in the title, this may be a turn-off of a title. There are more tracks than there are available bikes and the gameplay is that of a realistic simulator even in its most “forgiving” settings.
Fans of bikes and the anatomy of bikes who wish to inspect every aspect of their ride and make it their own will find fun in this title, although that’s tailored to a specific niche. While I will give props to the developers for creating such a title, knowing that it wouldn’t exactly catch on to the mainstream racing audience, RiMS Racing seems like a bitter pill to swallow yet an enjoyable experience once the player eases up to its required palate.
RiMS Racing is available for the PC, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S, and Xbox Series X. A Switch version is expected sometime in Fall 2021.