October 2, 2023
The thrill-seeking speeds of Ride on the Edge are back. Have Nacon and LGW captured the high octane spills of the TT, or should they sit out and watch? The Finger Guns review:

The Isle of Man TT is regarded by many as the ultimate speed freak’s thrill. It’s not hard to see why, but also it’s clear the level of skill needed for such an impressive feat. Flying down straights at nearly 200mph whilst wearing some leather is something only a few will manage. Fortunately, that’s where Ride on the Edge 3 comes in for those who enjoy relative safety.

The third in this series, RotE 3 follows the current updates both to the season and gameplay improvements. Partaking in both Superbike and Supersport seasons, it offers players the chance to experience the simulated thrill of riding the legendary course.

So, you’d think that Lunar Great Wall Studios and NACON have honed that feeling by now. Grab your helmet, brace yourselves for speed and we’ll find out.

Ride on the Edge review

Isle Have A Go At That

As may be evident by the title, TT Ride on the Edge 3 (I will be playing with the title throughout) is a motorbike racer set on the titular isle. An annual event, the Isle of Man TT draws in thousands of spectators from around the world. Set during May and June, the whole island is transformed into the most insane superbike course that tests riders each year.

There are two classes of bike to use, if that’s the correct terminology: Supersport and Superbike. The former is the easier of the two, but don’t let that fool you. They’re still pretty quick and hard to handle (we’ll elaborate shortly).

Superbikes, by comparison, are the dons. The Gran Turismo 2 Suzuki Pike’s Peak car, if you remember that. There are the top tier, full throttle, hold-on-for-dear-life crotch rockets. As such, these are the harder ones to control, but by god do the rewards outweigh the cons when you get them under control.

Well, if you can get them under control. Ride on the Edge 3 is a sim racer rather than, say, something THQ used to put out. If you’re unfamiliar, that means that the racing is realistic yet punishing. Players won’t be drifting around corners, for example (if it were possible). Hell, even going too slowly around a bend will see riders fall off.

Yes indeed, this is the full Isle of Man simulated experience, warts and all.

Ride on the Edge review

Road Ragin’

Now, far be if from me to simplify motorbike racing to you, readers. It’s rudimentary to tell you how to throttle, brake and corner. However, whilst these tenets sound simple enough, Ride on the Edge will test what you know. Initially to frustration, it wants to set its conditions early on. But I’m not going to be cliche and call it “the Dark Souls of motorbike games”, no. If you want a direct comparison, it’s the DIRT Rally of motorbike games.

In as far as player aides goes, there are three levels of bike assistance. There’s the beginner, which helps with cornering and not over-throttling out of them. Intermediate, which I stuck with, as a nice little balance that doesn’t cripple you. Finally, there’s Realistic, which is for the experts, those so in tune with their bikes that they need help. Godspeed to them.

In terms of track assists, there’s a racing/brake line akin to Forza and such. But that’s it, as much like DIRT Rally there’s no rewind, nothing. AI skill can be dropped as low as 30% skill, but otherwise it is all on the player.

Ride on the Edge review

Qualify Or Die Trying

Now, this is where you’ll have to pardon my ignorance. I’m not very au fait with racing qualifiers in general, let alone the Isle of Man TT format. That being said, once you get your head around it, it’s not too bad. I mean, the style, not the racing. That’s still hard as balls.

On the map, during a season, there’s qualifying events and races. They follow on from each other: ergo, you can’t race without doing a qualifier before it. Each qualifier will have players set a time on each segment of the course. There’s a time limit, usually thirty minutes, to get them all done, or one can skip it and usually start last.

The race itself is either a mass start, as in a ten man grid and you all go at once. Or it’s the staggered gate style, one at a time, depending on the player’s qualifying times. And trust me on this: you’re going to want to try and qualify or you have to watch all nine racers go before you. Yes, it is as boring as it sounds and no, you cannot skip it.

These are time trials, so you won’t actually bump into other riders. The mass-start ones are “proper” races, if you will, and there’s no ghosting through opponents. Players can, and at times will, bump into racers at high speeds. My advice is not to do so.

Ride on the Edge review

More Power For The Rocket

Whilst I’ve not played a vast amount of sim racers, normally there’s one aspect that’s very involving: the tuning. Yet while RotE 3 may be a sim racer, its vehicle upgrade mechanic is pure arcade. Eschewing money to buy new parts, the game instead favours a points system. The higher you place, the more points you earn. So imagine how far behind I was with my early, high number finishes.

Anyway, poor skill aside, bike upgrades are set out as coloured and levelled tiers. Quite literally, players will decide whether they want to upgrade “Engine lv. 3” or “Brakes lv. 4” for their respective attributes. Fortunately, points carry over between Supersport and Superbike careers, so players can upgrade one and do well whilst performing subpar in the other. It’s what I started off doing, at least.

Besides that, there isn’t really much in the way of tuning. For the petrol-heads this might seem lacking, but for someone like me (or anyone equally inexperienced with mechanics), it was easy enough to just think, “Yup, I want the next ‘go faster’ bit on my bike”. Simple, yes, but sometimes it just makes life easier.

There’s also an experience/levelling up system, but that’s fairly inconsequential in terms of progression. It doesn’t lock anything out, for example. All I could see it being for was online bragging rights, which again, if you’re not serious it won’t affect you.

Ride on the Edge review

Over The Edge

Now, there seems to be an expectation with sim racers that they have to look realistic. You’re not playing NFS Unbound with its flairs and neons, this is serious racing for serious racers. Players want the graphics to be lifelike, even if they’re zipping past them at more than 150mph.

In most regards, Ride on the Edge does a good job of portraying the realism in both bikes (and riders) and the Isle of Man. I couldn’t tell if the latter is true to life though, I’ve never been. Nor can I say I’ve seen many superbikes up close, but the replication here seems to be on point.

The weather system is, for the most part, pretty standard. Sun glaring off visors and windscreens is pretty impressive, but it’s the rain effects that got me. All the above screenshots are in-game captures, so you can see just how nice it is. Surface water can be a bitch when sunlight reflects off of it, though.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the draw distance. Far too often my focus was distracted at high speeds by a hill popping in, or a road surface texture sorting itself out. Then there’s the occasional glitch above, in which my rider wouldn’t appear. At first it was funny, but then it became massively disorientating when you’re expecting to see that bodyweight tilt into corners.

It’s not a deal breaker, and it shows that RotE isn’t flashing AAA money about. It just maybe needed a bit more spit and polish before being released, is all.

The Big Race

Overall then, my impressions on Ride on the Edge 3 have become one of enjoyment over time. Initially I balked, was ready to call it “too hard” and give up. It wasn’t initially clicking, but that was more down to my inexperience with motorbike games. But, I am glad I stuck with it.

What does help is being able to run a career in both disciplines, as well as restarting a new one if you’re struggling. Or, if you make the mistake I did: start Superbike, skip a lot of it to get to the TT, skip qualifying for said TT and then lock it out for myself. That’s right, the game literally says, “You think you can just cheat your way in? Nah” and you’re locked out. It was funny, but also quite humbling.

I won’t pretend I’m now an expert on the event, nor will this game get me to start learning more about it. To me, it’s literally just a motorbike game. It has, however, made me want to complete at least one season, one full course TT, with a reasonable outcome.

Sure, the upgrade system is simple, outweighed against the difficult riding and unforgiving AI. But sometimes we need a reminder that sports games, motored or otherwise, need that bit of challenge to wake us up from simplified gaming.

Initially daunting and difficult, TT Isle Of Man: Ride On The Edge 3 could easily put players off. But perseverance is key here, as it does pay off when you start getting into the thrill of zipping high power motorbikes across the Isle of Man at insane speeds.

TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge 3 is available now on PlayStation 4 & 5 (reviewed on latter), Xbox One and Series S|X, and PC via Steam.

Developer: Lunar Great Wall Studios
Publisher: NACON

Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a promotional copy of the game. For our full review policy, please go here.

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