TT Isle of Man – Ride on the Edge 2
Developer: KT Racing | Publisher: Bigben Interactive | Release Date: 2020| Genre: Simulation / Sports / Racing | Website: N/A | Purchase: Steam
With the coronavirus pandemic putting an end to the 2020 Isle of Man Tourist Trophy it’s a good thing that KT Racing has managed to step up to the plate with TT Isle of Man Ride on the Edge 2. This sequel once again allows motorbike enthusiasts to test their mettle in a virtual recreation of the 37-mile long Snaefell Mountain course. With its mixture of winding and straight sections, it is one of the most thrilling and dangerous tracks in the motorcycle sports world, which definitely means its not for the faint of heart. However, for this sequel, KT Racing has not just ensured that this iconic track is represented better than ever digitally, but has also added a whole host of other enhancements to sweeten the deal.
The Snaefell Mountain Course is no joke and numerous riders have lost their lives over the years while trying to conquer it since the inaugural race in 1907. After trying out the track ourselves, virtually, of course, it’s clear to see why it is feared and respected in equal measures. Navigating its twists and turns requires intense concentration and the type of speeds that can be reached on the straight sections are enough to make even the most dauntless riders a little nervous. Suffice to say that we have a newfound respect for any rider brave enough to put everything on the line by taking part in the Isle of Man TT.
Seeing how daunting the Snaefell Mountain course is, it’s a good thing that this game eases players into things. Motorcycle games are still a niche compared to their four-wheeled brethren, but KT Racing has managed to make this one a little more accessible. The game opens with a tutorial that allows you to get a feel for the bikes and the track before removing some of the assists to see where your comfort level lies. Hardcore motorcycle fans can go for the full simulation experience afterward while everyone else can customize things to align more with their skill level. No matter what you pick chances are you are still going to part ways with your bike and have a close encounter with the road a few times as this is not a game where you can zone out while racing.
The Snaefell Mountain course is obviously the highlight of the game, but this time KT Racing has also included 17 additional tracks to provide a bit of variety. After completing the tutorial players can dive straight into the multiplayer mode or try out the single-player mode.
Our brief foray into multi-player allowed us to search for a game or choose a track and bike before waiting for other players to join in. It’s straightforward, but a lobby system would have been more convenient. However, once the race started everything ran without a hitch, so we have no complaints there. On the single-player side of things players can start a quick race, time attack or explore the new free roam mode. In addition, there is also a career mode which is where we spent most of our time.
Digging into Career mode you’ll find that you are presented with a race calendar, garage as well as shop. The race calendar is where you get to pick where you will be competing each season while the garage is for selecting, upgrading and fine-tuning the bikes you buy from the shop. The ultimate goal each season is to take part in and win the Tourist Trophy, but along the way you are going to have to earn reputation and money. To help you out you can join a team, which means you can use their bike for the entire season along with their livery and suit. Pick carefully which contract you choose as each team also has its own objectives which can earn you parts to improve your own bikes. Some teams have very stringent objectives, while others are a little more lenient and more suited for beginners. One feature that we found rather unusual is the inclusion of “Perks” that require perk points to activate. Before each race, you can make use of up to four perks spread across categories such as Mechanics, Engineers, Influence, and Insurance. Perks range from quicker respawn times if you fall off your bike to increased money earned if you finish in the top 3 without restarting the race or earning maximum perk points at the end of the race even if fail. To be honest the perk system feels a little out of place compared to the realism found elsewhere in the game but can be useful.
The game features 18 different motorbikes, which is not a huge number, but it does include some great ones. The bikes are split into three different categories, so you can take part using Superbikes, Supersport, or Classic motorcycles. Most of the major brands, such as BMW, Honda, Kawasaki, and Triumph are represented as well as official riders, although we would have liked to see more customization options for the latter. Considering the number of crashes it’s a good thing that damage and repairs are not a thing in this game. The physics for this sequel has been revamped compared to the original game, so expect a few wince-worthy falls until you become accustomed to hurling your bike around at high speeds.
Visually, TT Isle of Man Ride on the Edge 2 is a decent looking game. Some of the details, such as the bystanders are not that great, but then you get to sections of the track where the view stretches off into the distance while driving next to the ocean with the sun on the horizon and it looks downright beautiful. Races can take place during various times of the day and in different weather conditions, but wisely there’s no racing in the rain. The fictional tracks set in Ireland and the UK are all pretty good and features varied scenery to keep things interesting. Thanks to a number of different views you can play with a third-person camera that shows more of the action or go straight for the fear-inducing helmet camera that lets you see every bug splattering into your windshield at high speeds. The audio is fairly decent too with bikes sounding like you would expect. However, the highlight of the audio is the nerve-wracking wind noises that really convey just how fast you are whipping through the tracks. It makes for a very intense experience, especially when played with a decent set of headphones. We also had no issues with the controls and playing with an Xbox controller allowed us to feel every bump and gear shift thanks to the force feedback.
As with most motorcycle games TT Isle of Man Ride on the Edge 2 is still a very niche title, but certainly one of the more accessible ones we have played. Stepping up the difficulty and using no assists once you get the hang of the game is also very rewarding. The inclusion of the free roam mode, which gathers together all the Irish circuits in one open-world map is also a nice addition. It’s not just great for trying out any new bikes you have bought or testing the alterations that you have made to the tuning, but you can also unlock new challenges that reward you with money and upgrades. If you are not a fan of free-roaming you can also simply open up the map and jump to whichever challenge you want to compete in. The actual races in career mode can also be stopped at any time and then resumed later if you need to take a break, which is very convenient seeing as some of the tracks can take upwards of 30 minutes to complete.
As with any title in such a nice genre, there is always going to be purist that will be able to nitpick things, but overall we enjoyed our time with TT Isle of Man Ride on the Edge 2. Having to earn signatures in career mode before being allowed to take on the TT is a great motivating factor and ensures that there is some build-up before the big event. The fact that you can choose between easy, difficult or hard events within the race calendar also means you can enjoy the game no matter what your skill level is. There’s definitely some rough edges and some of the visual elements could have been better, but the game still offers plenty of thrills.
- OS: Windows 7
- Processor: Intel Core 2 i5-2300 or AMD Phenom II X6 1100
- Memory: 4 GB RAM
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 630 2GB, or AMD Radeon HD 5870 2GB
- DirectX: Version 11
- Storage: 18 GB available space
- OS: Windows 10
- Processor: Intel Core i7-3770 or AMD FX-8350
- Memory: 8 GB RAM
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780, 3 GB or AMD Radeon R9 290X, 4 GB
- DirectX: Version 11
- Storage: 18 GB available space