With the shift to ninth-generation consoles, we’ve edged even closer to photorealism in games. Don’t believe us? Have a look at the footage above. I first saw it while idly scrolling through my Twitter feed, and it wasn’t until taking a second look I realised it wasn’t, in fact, a video taken from a GoPro.
It’s actually gameplay footage from Ride 4 on PlayStation 5, a new version of which was released for that console plus the Xbox Series X/S earlier this year. In it, we see riders taking on the North West 200, a spectacularly fast road racing course in Northern Ireland. The 4K, 60FPS video was uploaded on YouTube just under two weeks ago, and despite not being from the freshest of games, it’s gone viral, clocking nearly four million views at the time of writing.
Granted, if you play the video on your laptop and stick on full-screen mode, it becomes less convincing, but still - we’re hugely impressed. It’s not just about the fidelity of the graphics, with details like the movement of the ‘camera’ and the brake fluid sloshing about in the master cylinder reservoir really helping sell what you’re seeing.
The moody lighting and stunning reflections on the standing water are important in upping the realism factor too. It’s worth pointing out that in the sunnier settings (below), the game doesn’t have quite the same ability to drop your jaw, but still, it does look very, very good.
Although it doesn’t include the famous Snaefell Mountain Course used for the Isle of Man TT, Ride 4 does let you have a crack at the Southern 100 also held on the island. The game mostly focuses on purpose-built race tracks rather than road courses, with Cadwell Park, the Nurburgring Nordschleife, Monza and Laguna Seca on the extensive track list.
The latest instalment in a franchise that has been running since 2015, Ride 4 also introduced a new career mode and a dynamic weather system. As we’ve seen in a lot of car racing games, this feature allows for conditions to change dramatically over the course of a race.
If you’re happy to miss out on the mind-boggling graphics, there is an earlier version for the PS4 and Xbox One, which also happens to be quite cheap.