TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge is a racing game based on the real life motorsport event of the same name. Taking place across the picturesque Isle of Man, the roads of this normally tranquil island become one of the world’s most dangerous race courses; so dangerous that it was actually removed from the Motorcycle Gran Prix World Championship. Sounds perfect fodder then for the virtual safety of a video game.
Release Date: March 6th 2018
Size: 17.43 GB
Genre: Superbike Racing
Developed by Kylotonn Racing Games
Published by Bigben Interactive
Reviewed on Xbox One S; Also available on PS4 and PC.
The developers have delivered a painfully accurate representation of it’s namesake. All 37.73 miles of the Snaefell Mountain Course is here in its splendid glory along with nine other fictional tracks based on areas around Britain and Ireland. There are also 23 real life riders and 40 models of motorbikes (Superbikes and Supersport).
As someone who has never ridden a superbike, this is probably the closest I’ll come to the real thing. “Because the game’s handling is so authentic and realistic?” I hear you ask. I haven’t a clue, all I know is that just like I imagine is the case with riding a real one, the slightest error will see your bike careen out of control, into a barricade at “holy crap” mph and leave your prone body on the tarmac staring at the sky.
This game is fast….damn fast, as you’d hope from a game about straddling a rocket on wheels, but the steering is ruthless and unforgiving. On anything other than an empty straight and your bike feels more like the donkey from Buckaroo, desperate to fling you off. Turn while going too fast? You’re off. Turn while going too slow? You’re off. Twitch steer to avoid another racer? You’re off. Graze against the barricade? You’re off. Accelerate too quickly? You’re off. Get into a bit of barging with an AI opponent? You’re off, though annoyingly they hang on and zoom off into the distance.
There are options and assists to make things a little easier. ABS, Anti Wheelie, Anti Stoppie, Traction Control and the markings on the 3d racing line are great at letting you know when you’re way going too fast to make a turn, but strangely there is no way to adjust the steering sensitivity which seems a little bizarre for a racing title in 2018.
It can feel quite lonely at times as it’s very rare for a bunch of racers to be in the same place. Sure you can do mass starts and set off together but one accident in and you’ll be hard pressed to catch them without pushing it too far and just crashing again. With TT rules on, you and your fellow racers to take turns starting off and then you just compare times at the end so you may not see anyone at all.
The games has a few options for those who want to go it alone. There’s the obligatory Quick Race where you pick your track, number of laps, time of day (Morning, Noon, Evening) and your bike/Rider. This is a good way to familiarise yourself with each of the courses, learn the roots etc without any real pressures or consequence. Then there’s the next mode; Time Attack which is exactly the same but as the name suggests it’s all about beating the current fastest times.
The main meat of the solo content is the Carreer mode. You create yourself a rider then take on numerous events until you are king of the racers, champion of men. Things are made a little more “interesting” by the financial aspects evolved, as you win races and earn cash to buy better bikes. Regardless of where you place in each race though, you need to pay your bills; Maintence & Repairs. Now this combined with how easy it is to crash and the slow rate of earning money if you’re not finishing highly, means there is a real threat of going broke and if that happens it’s game over and you need to restart. Needless to say, the better you are, the more money you make, but it’s one more knock against beginners with its unforgiving nature, get good or get out.
The game really shows it’s lack of content here. There’s local multiplayer for up to eight people but this is a take it in turns and compare your times affair which is hardly engaging for a group of friends, except for maybe laughing at each other as they continue to wipeout of the track. There is an online mode but really it’s no different from the offline quick race except you may notice more collisions. Plus with only 10 tracks it all feels very samey, very quickly.
This is an area where the game shows some real strength. The sensation of speed is truly exhilarating, especially in the on bike camera mode, with the scenery smoothly flashing passed faster than you can think. The Snaefell Mountain Course has been beautifully realised with stunning amounts of detail. Unfortunately this also highlights how comparatively less attention was given to the fictional tracks which, while not horrid to look at with their pleasant textures and lens flares, are no where near as visually pleasing as the real course.
The riders themselves are a little stiff with some twitchy leaning animations and some plank like motions when they come off the bike but ultimately they do the job and are not really there to catch your focus.
There’s little music to crow about outside the menu screen and the bikes all sound like I’d expect them to. Whether a petrol head would be happy with the accuracy of the sound of each machines engine I wouldn’t know but there is enough suitable grunt for a layman like me to get the impression of power. One thing I would like to draw attention to though is the sound effects for the wind. It’s such a small thing but as you really start to speed up the sound of the air wiping passed your cyclehelmet is just as important in creating the eyewatering sensation of speed as the graphics, it’s a really nice touch.
I have a feeling that the people who have been looking forward to this game aren’t going to be put off by this review. The target audience knows what it wants and that is to race on a well crafted virtual Snaefell Mountain Course and that’s what they’ll get.
For me though, outside of that, the content available isn’t up to snuff. Theres not enough to do; not enough tracks, not enough modes. The gameplay itself is frustrating with its unforgiving physics. The game is too rigid to be an arcade racer but not in-depth enough to be a simulator. I’m sure those with the patience and reflexes to tame it may get some fun out of it but unfortunately that’s not been my experience.