Since 1907, over 270 riders have died taking part on the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy race on the deadly ‘Snaefell Mountain Course’, 37 miles of high speed straights and punishing twists and turns. The beauty of the surroundings on the island (situated midway between England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland) is deceptive, and unless riders have trained to the highest level and have qualified to take part, they are denied the opportunity because of the dangers involved.
Curiously, hanging was still a lawful punishment for murder on the island up until 1993. It was abolished by the Queen when a chimpanzee was mistakenly hanged after a TT racer dressed in a monkey suit for Comic Relief accidentally decapitated a bin man. Karma works in strange ways….
TT Isle of Man 2: Ride On The Edge Review
The first TT Isle of Man game (released in 2018) was admired for its technical achievement in perfectly mapping the huge island circuit but criticized for its overly niche subject, bland front end presentation and the punishing handling model.
French developers Kylotonn have since added a sidercar-load of treats to the second edition of their TT licensed game including completely overhauled bike physics, improved controller feedback and handling, plus a raft of additional circuits, bikes and a free roam option. But how enjoyable is it to play?
Life In The Fast Lane
The answer to the above question is very. Providing you put in some hours to master the controls and get a feel for the handling model, which initially, is a ball-buster. The first hour of rag-doll calamities was dispiriting, with the slightest clip of a curb or a bush wrenching asunder the rider from the bike in a manner which ticks both the comical and agonizingly realistic boxes.
Like the tremendous WRC 8 from the same team, one is spurred on to improve by the sheer brilliance of the handling combined with the realistic and highly detailed bespoke circuit environments. Feeling like you are really there makes quite a difference to how you interpret a racing game, and although many other racing games feature extensive track-side details, Kylotonn seemed to have nailed it perfectly.
Graphically, TT Isle of Man 2 won’t win any awards but the superb lighting and track-side trimmings manage to conjure up a convincing sense of the Isle of Man, although the toothless simpletons are conspicuous by their absence. The 30 frames per second refresh rate gives a great sense of speed in the same way that DriveClub did – it may not be smooth, but the feel of haring along a realistic country road is quite exhilarating.
Take It To The Limit
Both third-person camera angles are the easiest for traversing the windy circuits but if you can become accustomed to the on-board cameras, then you are a true TT rider as the game becomes an entirely different beast. The muffled high-speed wind noise that accompanies the fly-splattered windshield really brings home how terrifying the actual event must be. It’s no wonder that most competitors choose to wear the renowned ‘Manx pants’ during the event – an adult diaper developed for astronauts which protects their leathers from flying clagnuts for the duration of the race.
Like four-wheeled rally events, a high proportion of the career races which lead towards the final infamous Isle of Man ‘Snaefell Mountain Course’ are against the clock. You’ll see other riders during the events but it is primarily a solo affair which is not a problem as the level of concentration needed is relentless. When you do come across the other riders, they are little more than drones who appear to be programmed to follow the circuit at varying degrees of competency.
Rocky Mountain Way
The single player career mode now features a whole heap of varied circuits from Wales, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland in the run up to the final 37 mile eponymous biggie. There’s plenty to enjoy on these fictional tracks and they have now been lavished with almost as much detail as the main event. The career races vary in length from five or six minutes up to fifteen minutes on the longer tracks and these can border on being tiresome. One lap of the Isle of Man mountain circuit takes around 25 minutes though, so make sure you’re wearing your ‘Manx pants’ and are sufficiently hydrated before you begin.
In addition to the new circuits, there is a new free roam option which takes in all the Irish circuits and threads them together. Challenges pop up on this patchwork of roads during the career mode enabling you to attempt face-off events, time trials and various other tests of ability on roads that are equally as punishing as Snaefell.
Seven Bridges Road
Aside from the challenging and enjoyable single player career mode, there is the online multiplayer option which promises to be excellent providing the servers are populated enough. In addition, solo riders can enjoy the free-roam, time trial and challenge options and no doubt Kylotonn will be bringing along some DLC soon enough as they did with the previous release. The return of the sidecars and a bunch of classic bikes going all the way back to 1907 would do the trick.
Despite all the positive vibes flowing from the game, it’s still a simulation of a niche sport with a potentially off-putting learning curve packaged in a fairly uninspiring front end. If you can see past these initial obstacles, you’ll be rewarded with a polished and playable two-wheeled street racing game which pays dividends once you get a feel for the handling.
TT Isle of Man – Ride on the Edge 2 is out now on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch.
Review code provided by publisher.