It's rare that a game comes along that really pushes the boundaries of what seems possible in game visuals. There are some that look gorgeous, but few look even close to photo-realistic, or make those major leaps in believability. Ride 4 could be the latest game to do just that, though. It's a PS5 motorbike racing game and it is turning heads for the sheer realism of its visuals. Especially at high speeds.
There's a lot that goes into making this trailer look so damn realistic. It's not just the high resolution, high frame rate and HDR, although those all help. A big part of it is the color grading, filling the world with lifelike colors. The first person perspective, grounding it in a visual position that anyone can be familiar with. The lighting is spot on, post process grading gives it that grainy, real world texture that's so hard to get just right.
There's also all the neat little animated elements, like the sloshing brake fluid, helping to ground the player in the reality of the game's world. Limited perspective and scope makes it easier to provide such intense detail of these small areas of the screen, and the overall effect is incredibly impressive.
It's not all perfect. The game lacks raytracing, and is begging for it when some of the reflections show the lack of that feature, and not all levels look as impressive as this one. Brighter, more well lit ones show the game's visual flaws that more clearly. But it does show the kind of direction gaming is going and will go in the years to come.
We're getting very close to struggling to tell between games and real life. And that's an exciting and terrifying prospect.