Review – TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge

I have never been the biggest fan of motorbikes and their respective racing events (as I have always been more of a car guy than anything else), but if there’s one two wheel event that I have always been a fan of, that’s the Isle of Man race. Set in the titular island located between Ireland and Great Britain, this testament to human insanity is a huge circuit based around both the island’s countryside and its towns’ narrow streets, with bikes easily reaching 200 miles per hour. It is considered the most dangerous event in motor sports and it’s delightful to watch. Being able to play a virtual version of this event is even better, even if the finished product is a bit rough around the edges.

The beautiful Manx landscapes

Despite the name, TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge features more than just that one famous circuit. There are a lot more tracks (even though they are mostly fictitious, despite their great design), two motorbike categories (each one with a decent amount of vehicles and pilots to choose from), and a lengthy career mode which culminates in the titular race across that island in the middle of the Irish Sea. The game ended up having more content than expected, even if the overall package does feature a lot less than what a racing simulator usually offers.

The recreation of the Snaefell Mountain Cross is really impressive. The developers spared no expense when it came to recreating half of the Isle of Man with as much detail  possible which is aided by great lighting effects. Such grand visuals sadly took a toll on the game’s overall framerate. No, it isn’t inconsistent or glitchy, but the framerate is locked to 30 on an Xbox One S. Sadly, such framerate doesn’t provide the insane sensation of speed a motorcycle blasting at 200mph should, but I guess that makes you appreciate the gorgeous scenery even more…

You’ll see this a lot

The real issue with TT Isle of Man however is how difficult it is to play, both due to its controls and overall challenge level. Despite having a tutorial when you first boot up the game, I don’t think I have ever seen such a complicated and newcomer-unfriendly racing game as this one.

Three things make this game complicated for newcomers: the physics, the controls, and the AI. The physics are a bit wonky, given that your character will fall off the motorcycle with the lightest of touches. The fact there is no rewind button will pretty much force you to restart the race after falling down once. The controls are very simulation-heavy and are quite complicated even when you turn on lots of difficulty-reducing perks such as automatic transmission or brake assistance.

Finally, there’s the AI. Simply put, this game is downright brutal and unforgiving, even on the lowest difficulty setting possible. The bikers simply don’t care about physics and try to ram you off the track as if this was the racetrack version of Road Rash. They’re so much better at turning corners than you in the beginning, so as previously mentioned, if you fall off your bike once it’s time to restart the race since you’ll never be able to catch up with them. Since the titular Isle of Man racetrack is 37 miles long, having to restart a 45 minute long race because of ONE little accident becomes annoying. The road to victory is extremely long and punishing, but once you finally get used to the controls and the physics, racing around Douglas and Ramsey becomes a lot more entertaining and gratifying.

The most violent bikers this side of Road Rash

TT Isle of Man is one of the most noob-unfriendly racing games I’ve seen in recent years given its aggressive AI, unfair collision system, and lack of a rewind feature. But if you manage to overcome your initial struggles with it you’ll be graced with one of the most enjoyable motorbike games around. Racing through the entire Isle of Man circuit in such incredible detail is an impressive achievement and a must for any fan of motorbike racing out there.

Graphics: 8.0

The graphics are absolutely gorgeous, but the limited framerate doesn’t provide the speed sensation that motorbikes at 210mph should provide.

Gameplay: 6.5

The game goes for a realistic approach in its controls, which make the experience quite complicated at first. Despite the realistic focus, the physics are a bit wonky at times.

Sound: 7.0

During races, all you hear is engine noises. When on menus, all you’ll hear is generic rock tunes.

Fun Factor: 7.5

If you take the time to get used to the controls, the physics, and the challenging level of difficultly, TT Isle of Man is a very enjoyable game with more content than expected.

Final Verdict: 7.5

Reviewed on Xbox One.
Also available on: PS4, PC