The Isle of Man TT is an iconic race. It’s steeped in more than 100 years of history, from close wins to dramatic crashes. It’s a feature on the calendar for racing fans, whether it’s to watch the action on TV or travelling to the Isle of Man to take in the action on the island itself. It’s often described as the most dangerous race in the world, and for good reason, but the blistering fast straights, sweeping corners and unique setting make it a bucket list location for bikers. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Isle of Man TT is cancelled this year but TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge 2 is not just a great virtual replacement, it’s a fantastic bike racing game and a love letter to the historic road race.
Let’s just cut to the chase – The Isle of Man TT Mountain Course is replicated here in incredible detail. From camber and curb size all the way down to the road signs, the iconic locations like Bungalow and Quarterbridge, KT Racing have created an incredible virtual version of the TT. It’s breathtaking at times – Trees alongside the road aren’t just your typical video game trees. They’re bent in realistic arches like they do along country roads.
If you want to jump straight in and take on the TT, you can do. Fire up a single race and you can choose a bike and a rider (including their livery) from a selection of current racers and historic winners. Alternatively, qualifying for the TT is the goal for the game’s Career mode.
This mode is where you’ll likely spend most of your time. Playing through season’s of events from time trials and races through the Irish Cup, the aim is to win enough to get through the Superbike and Supersport levels to eventually to compete in the Senior TT. There’s some really interesting elements to this mode – races come in 3 different difficulties which means in some weeks of the season you can choose to partake in an easier race for a small prizes or try to take on races with a higher difficulty for higher rewards. Teams and contracts play a part in this mode too. When you sign up with a team, they’ll set you optional objectives that’ll reward you with bike upgrades when completed. Some teams want wins and fast times, others just want you to complete races.
The season mode will take you across a variety of 18 road and circuit races across Ireland and the UK, some of which you’ll recognise if you played the original TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge game. The tracks are varied and most of the tracks are fun to ride on. The races in Ireland are all broken down from a large connected map that you actually free roam on in another game mode which is a real treat.
The actual handling in TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge 2 has been reworked since the first game to give a more realistic but accessible feel. There’s a new wobble feature, described as a “completely integrated gyroscopic effect”, which gives you a little more advanced warning before a tank slapper throws you off. The brakes and shock absorbers have also been tweaked to give a “more faithful recreation” of what it feels like to ride on a road. Pavements are a real obstacle to avoid here, especially on corners because hit them while you’re over and you’ll go flying. Racing in this game can be challenging at times but with practice, especially with distributing your weight with the right thumb stick, early frustrations make way for really satisfying game play. If you do end up crashing, you’re reset to the track and you’re free to go again. Because so many of the events are time trials, this feels like a truly effective measure for encouraging the player to stay on their bike, even if it’s to take corners slowly.
Thankfully, there’s a bunch of play options for those with any level of bike racing experience. Traction, racing lines, combined front and back brakes and on-screen corner instructions are all aspects you can change to make the game more accessible. This is on top of a reasonable tutorial that expects you to know a little about motorbikes off the bat but does a decent enough job of explaining the game’s controls and inputs.
It’s the little aspects that really make TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge 2 special though. The faster you go, the louder a wind noise builds around you. This little touch gives such an incredible feeling of speed. The lighting in this game is gorgeous. One of the several views you can cycle through while racing is on the bike looking through the windscreen and you can see the detail and dirt on the bike. Lean over too far and you’ll hear your pegs hitting the floor, generating some sparks which you’ll also feel in the controller vibration. The crowds you drive past are all 3D models. There’s no “2D-always-facing-you” cardboard cutouts here. Oh, and the bike engine noises are just fantastic.
For the gear heads, you can tinker with a plethora of settings with the bike. I’ll be honest, all of this went totally over my head but you can mess with all kinds of things.
Lastly, TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge 2 has online multiplayer. It’s lobby based and unfortunately, I was unable to test it before release as there were no other players online. A nice surprise is the inclusion of two player local split screen multiplayer. Any and all tracks aside from the open world Ireland track are available to race on here.
With the Isle of Man TT cancelled for the year, I can’t think of a better way to scratch the itch for this iconic location than with this game. TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge 2 is a love letter to the road race, displayed in the detail and obvious care that has been poured into remaking the mountain course. Not only this, the TT is held as the ultimate achievement as part of the season mode which shows it incredible respect on the calendar. There’s a racing game here too, even without the inclusion of the TT, through the various modes, 18 bikes, racers and 17 tracks set in Ireland and in the UK. As street bike racing games go, this is the best I’ve played in quite some time.
It hasn’t just won me over either. It has always been a dream of my dad’s to race in the Isle of Man TT. Every year we’ve crowded around the TV to watch it together and last year he even planned to travel over there are take a lap – only the plans fell through and he didn’t get the chance. My pop’s isn’t the most experienced of gamers but he knows his bikes and TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge 2 blew his socks off. After taking a slow lap around the mountain course to take in the details and get accustomed with the controls, he left rip for the remaining 3 and I’ll be honest, his face said it all. My dad might not get to race past Bungalow at 140 mph in real life but he sure looked happy doing it in this game.
TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge 2 has its target market. Bikers and those who know the heritage of the Isle of Man TT will get a real kick out of this game. It goes out of its way to put this seminal race on the pedestal it deserves and backs all of that up by building a mightily impressive racing game around it. It’s not perfect – I’d have liked to see some other models like sidecar races included – but what is here is very, very impressive indeed. In a year when the IoMTT won’t be running, this might be the perfect way to scratch the itch.
TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge 2 is launching on the PS4, Xbox One (review platform) and PC on March 19th, 2020.
Developer: KT Racing
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a promotional code from the publisher. For our full review policy, please go here.
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