TT: Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge is a motorcycle game based off of the famous TT event held on the Isle of Man that puts players in the seat of their favourite superbikes as they speed down faithfully recreated tracks from the Isle of Man.
Players take the role of themselves as a newcomer to the Isle of Man TT event. For those not in the know, the Isle of Man TT is an annual motorcycle event that runs from the end of May to mid-June and is traditionally run in a time-trial format along public roads that are closed during the event.
Players can choose from a number of bikes made famous by various racers such as Bruce Anstey’s Honda CBR, David Johnson’s Norton V4 SS, Ivan Lintin’s Kawasaki ZX-6R and Peter Hickman’s Triumph Dayton 675 to name a few. Having owned a Suzuki GSX600R I was disappointed to see that my favourite brand was not represented, so I settled for the Kawasaki.
After selecting a bike the game loads up the tutorial level. For those more privvy to the motorcycle racer this may seem like a walk in the park, but for new players such as myself, it was a godsend to get a feel of the controls before diving into the main event. It runs through the basics controls and mechanics such as acceleration, braking, racing lines as well as the manual gear mode; going so far as telling you to end the tutorial track with this mode enabled. However, the game neglects to school you on the finer points of clutch control. Accelerating with much more than a gentle tap would see my rider being left behind by the bike. Having ridden a bike in real life provided me with no advantage.
Getting into the nitty-gritty parts of the game, in career mode players are assigned a manager who emails over events. By accepting the invite players are then able to move onto the track to test their skills against the AI. The main events run as a time trial with racers starting in a staggered pattern. The aim is to complete the course in the quickest time possible. It’s worth noting that while you may be overtaken by a few other racers there is still the possibility you can come dead last. It’s all about time and every second counts. Competing and winning events sees your fame rise as well as your bank balance allowing you to unlock more bikes in the process.
I’d be lying if I said that TT Isle of Man was an easy game that anyone could pick up and play. In all honesty, the game is tricky to get the hang of and offers little in the way of hand-holding for novice players. Learning the tracks is the first step to mastery, but learning the bike is essential. Understanding both the rider and the bikes limits and knowing when to push them is a must in every race. Slamming into a corner at full speed is a surefire way to bin a great race while going in too slow means you’ll lose precious time. Striking a balance is key but it’s not as simple as it might sound. The racing line offers a helpful indication of when to slow down and start turning but often I found myself focusing more on that than the rest of visuals the game had to offer.
And mostly TT: Isle of Man is a good looking game. While the bikes have been recreated well and are true to their real-life counterparts the scenery really lets it down. Moving at full speed adds much-needed blur which allows you to overlook any flaws, but slowing down does tend to show the faults with low-resolution textures and eerie looking spectators. I even found the loading screens would suffer from stuttering and image tear.
Adding to the difficulty is a number of glitches and less than wary AI. In a number of races, I found my rider hurling himself from the bike for no evident reason or the bike would veer across a straight road while I struggled to keep it in place. AI riders would often shunt my rider at high speed resulting in yet more crashes. It’s incredibly frustrating especially when it ruins a perfect lap.
While the game does offer a multiplayer of sorts, I didn’t find this to be all too memorable. It offers local multiplayer for up to eight players but this is presented in a take-turns style time trial event while the online mode felt empty.
With all of this in mind, TT: Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge is a game based on a single race event as opposed to a number of races in different locales. While the game offers the 37.5-mile Snaefell Mountain course faithfully recreated in-game, I can’t help but feel the title’s nine fictional tracks look more-or-less the same. It’s worth noting that unless you’re an avid fan, TT: Isle of Man may not be for you. It’s a very specific game aimed at a very specific set of fans, and while fun to play I can’t help but feel it’s missing the opportunity to appeal to the wider audience.