Ride 4 and MotoGP 21 are two two-wheelers two-wheeling their way onto PC and console. So what are the differences and which is better? Here is a comparison of the different aspects of both the games.
Ride 4 VS MotoGP 21: The Visuals
One big plus is that Ride 4 and MotoGP 21 are next-gen optimized, which means the PS5 and Xbox
Series X and Series S versions run better than on PS4 and Xbox One. And maybe PC if you don’t have the best system.
Both use dynamic 4K and 60fps, which means up to 4K detail and smoother racing.
A visually busier scene such as the start of a race is when the resolution drops to maintain a consistent frame rate. It’s barely noticeable and both games are smooth – with MotoGP 21 less prone to stutters. Although this is perhaps because there are no scenery-heavy road races.
While the facial animations and textures are not the best in gaming, the bikes are as accurately portrayed as the circuits. The level of detail is notable and actually beneficial as it’s helped the suspension physics become more accurate.
Ride 4 VS MotoGP 21: The Career
Speaking of racing, both games have a career mode. In Ride 4 it’s akin to Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport. You have license tests for each location, which pave the way to races and challenges in various CC classes.
Challenges include time trials, normal races, going through checkpoints at a certain speed and overtaking as many other racers as you can in an allotted time.
The variety in Ride 4 is good, especially as each region has its own flavour of the circuit. MotoGP 21, meanwhile, goes for a WRC 8 and WRC 9 approach. You have a bike team (comprised of a personal manager, chief engineer,
data analyst) who you can assign on a weekly basis to research improved engine performance,
frame rigidity, fuel efficiency and more.
When your staff is not working on upgrades, they can be assigned to increasing the data points necessary for research. Said data points can also be earned by completing other pre-race activities such as setting a fast lap time in free practice. Staff needs to be paid so it’s important to race and make money. You also need to sign new sponsors and teams, with it possible to negotiate a more lucrative deal. Providing you can meet their requirements such as always finishing above fifth.
As the name suggests, MotoGP 21 is designed to mimic the MotoGP season better than ever. That means you can only partake in races from the proposed 2021 race calendar. So no Northwest 200 or the Nürburgring like in Ride 4. In fact, the Algarve and Mugello are some of the only circuits present in both games.
Ride 4 has 31 of them and some DLC stuff such as Valencia. The standard game has 6 free bonus DLC packs so even without spending money you have a lot of content. MotoGP 21, by comparison, offers 20 circuits.
Fans of the superbike series may find solace in the 120-plus official riders you get, as well as 40 from the past. Ride 4 takes a more varied approach to the bikes, too. It offers a wide array of two-wheelers from different eras, more than 170 in total and some are crazy expensive. MotoGP 21, on the other hand, has some historic machines, but what riders are on now takes center stage for the purpose of replicating the real thing. Plus there is no customization beyond the aesthetic for the rider and bike.
Ride 4 is hardly lacking in competitiveness either, with road races rewarding you with money to spend on other bikes and upgrades though not as many as in the Forza games. Winning everything, getting gold in all license tests and buying all the bikes will take you a long time. As for the assist options, there is not much difference. In Ride 4 you have rewarded a per cent increase in race winnings as you make life tougher. By turning off automatic joint braking and the suggested line, for instance. MotoGP 21, meanwhile, rewards neither – it just gives you more of an authentic challenge and therefore greater satisfaction if you can master it.
I would say both games are best served with most but not all of them. The auto stuff slows down the process of learning to handle the bike, although ABS and joint braking does make the early days less frustrating.
Ride 4 VS MotoGP 21: The Handling
So what about handling? I’d say both are a step-up over Ride 3 and MotoGP 20. The bikes react more accurately to external forces such as the rider and circuit, which adds to the realism. Also, each bike’s personality is more pronounced.
It’s actually quite hard to compare the bike physics side-by-side as your brain is good at adapting to whatever it swaps to. Also, the new Xbox’s Quick Resume feature was not playing ball and that the bikes in Ride 4 are at least two years behind MotoGP 21, so as not to clash presumably. Even with an even playing field, it was tough to spot many differences. Both games are largely similar. This makes sense as developer Milestone is responsible for both – it’s just that some mild tweaks likely took place for the newer MotoGP 21 game.
It does however feel like braking is trickier to get right in MotoGP 21, particularly at MotoGP level, and that there’s a slightly higher level of twitchiness when turning.
Testing out a variety of bikes as similar as possible or the same at the same circuits, I found my pace was similar and there was little need to adapt my riding style, further suggesting the handling differences are minimal. Key gameplay adjustments do exist though. MotoGP 21 adds brake management, which means you need to watch for brake fade in addition to fuel levels and tyre wear.
Ride 4 does have fuel consumption, but only in endurance races. It may not seem like a big difference and in the grand scheme of enjoyment, it’s not really. But MotoGP 21’s need to manage this stuff as you race, by adjusting your pace and also the electronic systems, does make it feel more realistic and involving.
Improvements to the ANNA AI are also noticeable in both racers. I will say that I experienced fewer kamikaze moments in MotoGP 21, but riders do still like to have the odd crash. As they would in real life.
Ride 4 vs MotoGP 21: The Multiplayer
Multiplayer is also important. Ride 4 and MotoGP 21 have dedicated servers, private lobbies and other functionality.
The problem is that Ride 4 separates those playing on older consoles from those on next-gen. This means far fewer players to race against. A few times I’ve tried to play on Xbox Series X have been fruitless. Perhaps the stronger MotoGP branding will help MotoGP 21 enjoy a livelier multiplayer scene. Sadly, the option was unavailable right now.
If it can avoid the old versus new console generation split, it will gain a point.
Ride 4 VS MotoGP 21: Which is better?
It’s a close call. Ride 4 has ultimately improved on its claim as the Forza of two-wheelers. Get past the steep difficulty curve and you can enjoy some of the best racing on console and PC. However, if you want to feel like you are living a MotoGP season and want a slightly more simulation-focussed experience, MotoGP 21 is the way to go.
Honestly, it’s properly intense. Ride 4’s ability to replicate the sensation of speed is almost unrivaled, thanks to those road circuits. Not only that, there are just so many bikes and circuits to try out and the amount of variety and customization, though not as extensive as some car games, will keep you busy for a while.
About MotoGP 21. It’s just that a lot of its unique stuff such as bike research is still largely menu-based and uninspiring. You don’t get to appreciate the bikes in the same way as Ride 4.
Part of me thinks it is probably better to go for Ride 4 this year and wait for MotoGP 22. Because the latter really will not keep you as busy in its current state and is quite similar to its predecessor. But then what did we expect? Ride 3 came out in late 2018, while MotoGP 20 was April 2020.
In light of coronavirus gripping the world, we were never going to see a radical difference in one year. Same as with most of the annual F1 and rally games. Overall, Milestone has taken both games up a considerable notch when it comes to handling and visuals, particularly if you have a next-gen console or good PC, so neither is disappointing. It’s just that Ride 4 feels like a series at full speed, while MotoGP 21 is still getting into gear.