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Game Info:

TT Isle of Man - Ride On the Edge 2
Developed By: KT Racing
Published By: Bigben Interactive
Release Date: March 19, 2020
Available On: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Genre: Racing
Number of Players: 1-8 local hot seat; online multiplayer + leaderboards
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
MSRP: $39.99
(Humble Store Link)

Thank you Bigben Interactive for sending us this game to review!

While I have had the pleasure of reviewing a few automobile racing games, I haven't had the chance to check out a serious motorcycle racer yet. The closest I can remember are some of the arcade-y ones like Motorstorm or classics like Road Rash. It was interesting to see my wife play an off road motorcycle racer earlier this year in MXGP 2019, though. (It's funny; our reviewers seem to pass motorcycle racers around, with no one person handling them all.) I really wanted to know how much different motorcycle racing really is compared to automobile, and looking for something different to check out, I jumped at the chance.

As it turns out, a person I work closely with used to be a serious amateur motorcycle racer (before kids, as these things go). He not only raced quite a bit, he was good at it, sometimes placing in the advanced class if luck was on his side. While he's no pro, he knows enough of the sport that when I asked him about the Isle of Man, he quickly perked up and explained how this is basically the Mecca of motorcycle racing, and a legendary race track. He then quickly started sending me videos to check out of some incredible races that took place in the last few years. I was impressed, and I had a whole new appreciation for what this game was trying to simulate.

Once I saw the real race, I learned a few things about this game. First of all, the default camera of behind the racer looks awesome but is terrible, and should not be the default. The reason is that your sense of speed as a player is totally wrecked. When you are going well over 100 miles per hour, it needs to feel fast - and from behind, you lose that sense. From 'head' view, that sense is restored and that's really important for a game like this.

Another thing I learned is how incredibly accurate the rendering of the Isle of Man is in this game. That beautiful, overhead forest? Yup, that's there. That little town? Yup, there. The buildings, streets, forest, everything - I am incredibly impressed at the sense of detail that the game and graphics designers went through to make this place look not just great - but just like the real thing.

Highlights:

Strong Points: Gorgeous graphics; really nice physics; great sense of speed (in rider view); career mode is enjoyable, and free roam is a nice touch
Weak Points: No force feedback on wheels or joysticks, only Xbox game pads; no split screen; not many playing online
Moral Warnings: None! (except for me flying off of my bike at high speeds)

Outside of the titular Isle of Man, there are nine other tracks in the United Kingdom, and eight in Ireland, which adds up to a total of eighteen total tracks. (Some races do divide up the Isle of Man into sections and have you race only a part, also.) The UK tracks take place in all different kinds of places, including rural areas, and even inside an airport. The Ireland tracks are actually all part of the countryside, and you can traverse the entire area (roads only) in Free Roam mode, available in the single player menu. From what I can tell, Free Roam seems mostly to be there as a relaxing diversion; there didn't appear to be any objectives in my limited time in that mode.

Each area that I played looked simply gorgeous. Sure, the people in the stands could be more detailed, but where it counts - the grass, foliage, scenery, rocks and fences, other cyclists, even the distant water all look breathtaking. While there are compromises if you look for them, the overall impression of the graphics is simply splendid. The engine roars, and the overall ambient sound in general is also high quality. It looks incredible at 4k on my powerful desktop PC, and runs wonderfully at 1080p on my gaming laptop. It does not run well on integrated video even at 720p, as I tried this on my GPD Win 2 without success.

Of course, with any racing game, especially ones that lean towards simulation, the real question is always 'how's the racing physics?' While I can't compare it easily with other motorcycle games, what I can say is that I found them to be really fun and believable. I chose the default medium difficulty, which definitely required me to adjust my driving style quite a bit; I even tried multiple controllers in an attempt to do my best. It's certainly difficult, but I didn't feel like it was unfair. You can also tweak the settings to various presets, making things more realistic (and perhaps frustrating), or making the feel even more arcade-y and easier to handle.

While you can certainly tell that the game designers spent a lot of time getting the gamepad experience right, I was pleased to see that they didn't neglect other control methods also. (I will say that if possible you want a gamepad with analog triggers, like and Xbox 360/One controller; digital triggers work, but you lose a lot.) I used an old school joystick (the kind they use for air/space combat) and it actually worked really well; that might be my favorite way to play this game. You can also 'drive' with a racing wheel setup, which also works really well, as long as you adjust the input range to be much shorter, as a 900 degree wheel is far too much for a motorcycle. I really enjoyed all three methods of driving, but I was disappointed that only game pads support vibration (classic Force Feedback, like wheels or some joysticks support, is not supported here.)

As an aside, this game saved one of our pets! After playing it with my gamepad and joystick, I wanted to see how it would play with my racing wheel. I have my Logitech G27 permanently mounted to a metal frame, that is quite large and heavy, so I put it behind my couch in the basement, and haul it out whenever I get the itch to do some racing. It's a great setup that's served me well with several games. The surprising thing is that we found our lost leopard gecko, Natsu, hiding underneath that racing wheel stand! He was lost sometime in January, and we found him this month - June. To think he not only survived those long five months, but still had quite a few fat reserves left, was quite remarkable. Since I didn't have a pressing need to pull out that racing wheel otherwise, TT Isle of Man 2 saved our pet.

TT Isle of Man - Ride On the Edge 2
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 90%
Game Play: 16/20
Graphics: 10/10
Sound/Music: 10/10
Stability/Polish: 5/5
Controls/Interface: 4/5

Morality Score - 98%
Violence – 9/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Having the larger range of motion, plus an analog sliding throttle (or gas pedal, in the case of the racing wheel) really helped me control my speed and aim for smooth turns. I have a tendency to 'mash button go fast', which is just asking for disaster in this game. Controlling your speed, stopping quickly when the task depends on it, and avoiding any and all terrain bumps if you are going fast is critical to avoid crashing. While a small curb might not be much more than a nuisance for a car, lifting that tire off of the ground for even a second can lead to near instant death on a motorcycle, especially at speed.

One thing that is quite a different experience between the car simulators I've played and this one is how leaning into turns changes everything. You have to manage your turning momentum - if you change directions too quickly, you might flip over your bike. (That's quite rare in the medium difficulty preset, but possible.) In a car, if you head too quickly into a turn, you need to fight momentum, and sometimes even drift to take advantage of that speed. On a motorcycle, it's all about leaning into the curve, setting up that new, smooth circular motion, and accelerating into that new curve. It's a crazy and wholly exhilarating experience to lean into a turn just right to take it at 130 miles per hour.

Our reviewer who played the first game in this series, TT Isle of Man - Ride on the Edge, found the physics to be incredibly realistic and superbly punishing. Doing further research, it seems a common complaint is that once your rear wheel breaks loose, which is apparently not that difficult, you can't get it back no matter what you do. While I can't speak to all of the complexities of the physics model, what I can say is that this game almost certainly solves that problem. Your tires are pretty well locked to the ground, unless you do something to lift them off - like hitting a curb, riding on the shoulder, or even a bump in the road. These things have to be handled carefully, and at lower speeds. Nevertheless, while this game is still certainly quite difficult, and placing high is not an experience I had playing this game, it always felt fair; I'm sure, if I kept practicing, I would finally earn those higher placed finishes.

Another new addition is the greatly expanded career mode. Here, you are an independent (or signed) racer where you race to win. If you get a contract, they also give you a bike to use, along with various rewards. You can also customize your ride, including tweaking the engine, transmission, suspension, and more. It's a fun system, and a great motivation to keep playing. Once I realized how improved this is in TT Isle of Man 2, I came to realize how much more there is to this sequel over the original. Another notable addition is the Free Roam mode, as I mentioned before. It's great being able to drive unhindered throughout the Ireland countryside. Really, after trying out TT Isle of Man 1, this product is dramatically better - graphics, controls, and polish. Rather than just supporting keyboards and gamepads (or gamepad facsimilies), this title supports a much wider range of input devices with native support.

There is a multiplayer mode, but sadly local is hotseat only, where you hand the controller to each player on their turn. It supports 2-8 players this way. There is competitive online play, but when I checked, no one was online. I would imagine with help from the Steam forums, you could find someone else to play against, but it wasn't easy for me out of the box.

TT Isle of Man - Ride on the Edge 2 is a great follow-up to last year's game, and from what I can tell, a largely improved experience. While still punishingly difficult at times, it appears to be a bit more fair, has a lot more to do, and still looks great on high-end hardware. It's squeaky clean for all ages, with the notable exception that crashes include ragdoll physics, so you get to see yourself go flying, and it often isn't pretty, but there is no blood or gore. I was also glad to see my Logitech G27 work out of the box, which was another complaint on the previous game. If motorcycle racing in any way interests you, you really can't go wrong with TT Isle of Man - Ride on the Edge 2.

About the Author

Jason Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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