RiMS Racing Review
I’ve never played a racing game like RiMS Racing, and its core unique mechanic is both the thing that makes the game stand out, and is also the thing that sometimes make the game tedious to progress through.
RiMS Racing is the newest motorcycle racing sim from French publisher Nacon and first-time developer RaceWard, from Italy. The core concept of the game is that it’s part racing sim, part mechanic sim. Instead of earning more advanced bikes during the game, your upgrades come in the shape of new individual brake pads, chains, tires and more.
After each race in career mode, you can dive into your individual motorcycle parts to check their condition, purchase better parts and change them out. Each time you change a part, you complete a series of quicktime events to change out the part. While this process is pretty neat at first — you’re seeing how the bike is constructed down to the literal nuts and bolts — it can turn into a tedious process.
The core mode in RiMS is the single-player career mode. You choose from one of eight motorcycles to start with — your usual suspects of Suzuki and Yamasaki, etc. — and set off down a list of 70 events. Sometimes you get to choose between a head-to-head race, a manufacturer’s event to unlock new bikes, or participating in a series of races.
It’s nice to have some choice in how you progress through your career. But as is the case with much of the game, there’s a lack of pop in the presentation that makes the whole thing seem like you’re just playing through a long list of races, rather than being involved in any sort of narrative. For the most part, in your career you complete an event and build up cash and XP to upgrade your motorcycle and engineering crew in various ways. It’s rewarding but a little dry.
Thankfully, the on-track action is pretty good. The racing is heavily sim-focused, though the modes for “beginner” racers at least help to keep the bike upright most of the time. It probably took me about 20 laps to really start getting the hang of handling the bike, and that was on lower difficulties. The pit stop mechanic is also one of my favorite pit stops in any racing game — you pull into the pits and have to complete a handful of quicktime events in order to change your tires and fill the tank up. It’s really cool.
It feels great to nail a corner, and passing fellow riders always provides a rush. That said, my first achievement in the game was for falling off five times. RiMS Racing is about as hardcore sim racing as you can get on console. The included tracks look great, and the point-to-point racing locations are unique and fun to race through.
The only problems with the on-track action relate to the AI racers. The fact that you can only race against 9 other bikers tops is supremely disappointing. I’d love to see the number rise to 16 or even 20. The other problem I noticed is that the AI seems to be on a rail, following the same lines much of the time. They also like to crash into the back of the player.
It’s been a month since the release of RiMS Racing. I tried multiple times to find a race online, but have yet to have any luck. This obviously doesn’t portend well for the life of the game.
RiMS Racing has a lot of cool ideas in the way that it marries on-track racing to off-track mechanical upgrades. It feels great to ride your motorcycle, and it’s legitimately cool to see the ways that racing wears on all of the individual parts of your bike. Some of this can lead to tedium as you manually change out parts. Ultimately, the presentation is barebones and the AI is middling, leading to a game with less longevity than it might otherwise have. Unfortunately, it also seems to be dead online just a month after release.
Regardless, RiMS is worth checking out if you’re a motorcycle gearhead. I’d love to see what the studio could do with a sequel that includes more tracks and better AI.