TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge is a motorbike simulation racer available from retail stores and for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4. Isle of Man TT is an annual time trial event situated on public roads throughout the Isle of Man that originally began in 1907 with a historic victory for Charles R. Collier. The original Isle of Man TT course took place on the St. John’s Short Course spanning 10 laps totalling to a length of 15 miles until the course changed to the much longer Snaefell Mountain Course with a single lap length of between 37.40 to 37.73 miles. Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy) has been described as the world’s most dangerous race in the history of motorsports in any motorbike and sidecar category. Can TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge deliver the most immersive Isle of Man TT gaming experience to date?

TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge is the official game based upon the Isle of Man Manx TT. Track design predominantly focuses on the 1:1 authentic realism of the Snaefell Mountain Course that the Manx TT takes place on; complimented by nine tracks inspired by real British tracks, but without the same 1:1 accuracy including Tyrone, Northern Ireland; Triangle Raceway, Northern Ireland; Old Blair Forest Race, Scotland; Castle Ring, Scotland; West Sussex 4000, England; Hertfordshire Circuit, England; Super Hillside, Wales; Milford Street Circuit, Wales; and Antrim Speed Track, Northern Ireland. 23 riders and 40 bikes have been officially licensed including supersport’s Honda CBR600RR, Kawasaki ZX-6R, Triumph Daytona 675 and Yamaha YZF-R6, while superbike’s Honda CBR1000RR, BMW S1000RR, Suter MMX 500, EBR 1190RS, Kawasaki ZX-10R and Norton V4 RR with every motorbike finely calibrated to each of the 23 officially licensed rider’s preferences.

Gameplay begins with an optional tutorial that teaches the player how to accelerate, braking, reading corner markers, riding style, riding assists, shifting gears, leaning, respawning on-track and changing the camera angle.

Career mode begins with some basic rider customisation which is limited to your driver’s last name, first name, nickname, three colour sets for your rider’s racing suit and your rider’s nationality, while lacking the preference of a male or female rider, creating a look for your rider and not being able to put yourself into the game via the PlayStation Camera. However, the next step is a positive one as the player is able to purchase their first bike within a budget of £40,000 from an initial choice of Daniel Hegarty’s Honda CBR6000RR, Jamie Coward’s Kawasaki ZX-6R, Martin Jessopp’s Triumph Daytona 675 and Derek McGee’s Yamaha YZF-R6, while a few bikes can be purchased through earning enough money to do so, although the vast majority of bikes have to be unlocked by winning a specific manufacturer’s event. A home menu shows your calendar of upcoming events, messages from management, a showroom of your bike collection and the ability to browse manufacturer’s shops to purchase more competitive bikes, although bikes cannot be upgraded, while current funds for expanding your bike collection and your rider’s quantity of fans is also on display.

Your career will begin in the supersport category with an 8km debut TT style event located at Super Hillside in Wales with a first prize of £3,000 and a 1.5 stars fame increase. Rather mystifyingly, you can have a pretty good ride; fall off the bike once in totally random fashion, finish 4th place out of five riders and not only receive no prize money and no new fans, but actually lose £200 or so in bike repair costs and lose three fans. As a career mode is supposed to be all about progression towards an ultimate goal, but without excessively positive results the unbalanced lack of rewards feels frustrating as though it is challenging you to stop playing without even factoring in that it is on the easiest difficulty level. Each season in career mode culminates in participating in the full distance Isle of Man TT.

Quick Race mode allows the player to ride any of the 10 tracks in the supersport or superbike categories with 10 riders starting simultaneously or under TT rules of setting off individually in staggered starts for a race duration of up to six laps or an individual or 1 to 12 multiple sections of the Snaefell Mountain Course. Further customisation comes in the form of the time of day between morning, afternoon or evening and full customisation of riding assists to your ideal preferences which provides an excellent game mode to have particularly for people who only have a short period of time to still be able to play and enjoy the game in quick and short bursts.

Time Attack mode provides players with the opportunity to set the best lap time around any of the 10 tracks in addition to the ability to set a best lap time in an individual or 1 to 12 multiple sections of the Snaefell Mountain Course in an attempt to climb the online leaderboards representing the fastest lap times as you compete against players from across the world to see who performs the best lap time in a one lap scenario, although you can complete as many laps as you wish with a full selection of riders, bikes and teams from the supersport or superbike classes, while you can also customise the time of day as you prefer to morning, afternoon or evening and full customisation of riding assists to your ideal preferences.

Handling feels seriously unbalanced as the rear of the bike steps out as often as possible when applying the throttle after exiting a corner even when trying different techniques such as feathering the throttle instead of applying immediate full acceleration, but there are problems upon entry into a corner as lifting off the throttle and braking a fair amount before the corner will sometimes result in just going straight on or spinning up the rear wheel. This is a regular occurrence even during the maximum riding assists and easiest difficulty level, then making an effort to customise riding assists; therefore constantly feeling as though you cannot push the bike for more speed, despite trying to achieve the fastest time which is counterintuitive to the entire purpose of gameplay when considering that Isle of Man TT riders will experiment with their corner entry by turning in earlier or changing the exit to a corner if the rider feels it may save a fraction of a second on their time yet the in-game handling does not allow that at all.

There are four appropriately gameplay camera angles including two third-person views with a camera mounted towards the rear of the bike and the other positioned further behind the rider which highlights the weight distribution of the rider through corners, alongside two first-person cockpit viewpoints showing the cockpit, bodywork and the rider’s hands gripping the handlebars and the other positioned at the front of the bike looking ahead without showing any bodywork. Despite the cockpit view being quite immersive; it would have been even more immersive to have another accurate portrayal of the cockpit albeit from the actual rider’s eye view looking out through the crash helmet which authentically limits the peripheral vision of the rider at the top and bottom of the camera angle.

You can watch a full event replay with the ability to rewind or fast forward in super slow motion or quickly, pause, change the camera angles for a different view of the action and skipping segments of the replay. You can view the replay from five camera angles including a dynamic camera angle positioned away from the bike with the TV camera angle changing from camera to camera in the style of Gran Turismo, alongside four gameplay camera angles. It would be great to see some of these camera angles such as the front wheel mounted camera that could automatically switch from one side of the wheel to the other depending upon the direction of the upcoming corner or the Gran Turismo style dynamic TV coverage; make the transition to being playable as you are riding as they would further compliment the immersion within the authenticity of the time trial or racing experience. It would have been amazing for the gameplay and replay camera angles to include an actual rider’s eye view and a helicopter camera angle from high above the circuit following the action with the sound effect of the helicopter in the audio mix.

There are multiple downloadable content packs available including King of the Mountain Honda TT Legends CBR for a price of £2.49 to ride the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade with a Tribute to Joey Dunlop livery as John McGuinness, special leather and helmet to celebrate the 30th anniversary of legendary rider Joey Dunlop’s first TT victory with Honda. Meanwhile, Sidecar Thrill provides sidecar gameplay for a cost of £5.79 including three sidecars with different physics and handling in comparison to the bikes in single player using both analogue sticks or an A.I. controlled passenger and online co-operative multiplayer, while Sidecar Thrills also includes French rider Xavier Denis of the Optimark team with his Kawasaki ZX10R superbike and Honda CBR600RR supersport bike.

It is disappointing not to see a Vita release of TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge after KT Racing’s fairly good attempt at WRC 5’s retail release on Vita showed potential for where KT Racing could evolve their games on Vita, although the consolation for TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge is remote play. TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge’s remote play performance is excellent as the graphics, audio and general performance is the same quality as the PS4 version. The default control scheme during remote play has not been optimised at all; resulting in acceleration having been moved from R2 to the top right of the rear touch pad and braking moving from L2 to the top left of the rear touch pad. I had the best remote play experience with TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge after customising the control scheme in which acceleration was re-mapped to R1 with braking moving to L1, while shifting up or down a gear is already alternatively mapped to triangle and X respectively; therefore providing a comfortable control scheme much better suited to the racing genre.

The controls are well mapped to the DualShock 4 controller and are fully customisable. The default control scheme consists of holding R2 or pushing the right analogue stick forwards to accelerate; pressing L2 or pulling the right analogue stick backwards to use the front brake or reverse; pressing R1 or triangle and L1 or X to manually shift up or down a gear respectively; pressing O or R3 to use the rear brake; pressing square to respawn; moving the direction of the left analogue stick to the left or right to steer your bike in that direction; moving the direction of the left analogue stick forwards or backwards to appropriately distribute your rider’s weight; pressing right or left on the d-pad to change to the next or previous camera angle respectively; pressing down on the d-pad to view behind your rider; pressing up on the d-pad  to display your ghost performance time; pressing the share button takes you to the share feature menu; and pressing the options button to display the pause menu.

Vibration occurs when accelerating through the gears; that is certainly very immersive. There is no gyroscopic motion sensing functionality which could have provided an alternative steering method to the left analogue stick, while the touch pad implementation is not utilised at all and cannot be re-mapped at all, whereas an optional control scheme of MotoGP 13 on Vita included tapping the appropriate side of the rear touch pad to shift up or down a gear. There is no light bar support, although it could have produced alternative countdown lights prior to the start of an event and an alternative HUD for remaining fuel towards needing a pit stop or a visual assist to show when the player needs to shift up or down a gear.

Graphically, TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge is superb with every intricate detail of the Isle of Man depicted in 1:1 real-time accuracy that is absolutely sensational when you contemplate that is an entire island of 37.73 miles, alongside all of its scenery; complimented by nice touches such as leaves falling from trees and excellent rider and bike models. Meanwhile, the performance is particularly showcased at its very best when accelerating at high speed through a long straight or gradual bend.

The presentation of the game is solid with a great user interface across various menus such as the main menu, solo menus, quick race menus, time attack menus, career mode menus, tutorial menus, local and online multiplayer menus, online leaderboards, options menus and various gameplay menus with support for navigation via the left analogue stick, directional pad and face buttons, although it does not include support for navigation via the right analogue stick or touch pad. Menu backgrounds involve the camera panning around the motorbike you had most recently chosen.

Voice-overs includes a female voice-over introducing the cutscene video with a passionate speech about what it is to be an Isle of Man TT rider, while a male voice-over covers each game mode. Sound effects include your rider’s bike engine as it accelerates, brakes and shifts through the gears, bike engines from nearby bikes as you catch up to a bike ahead of you or lose ground to a bike behind you, collisions with other bikes or trackside obstacles and ambience; complimented by a soundtrack of instrumental rock riffs. There is no DualShock 4 speaker implementation that could have produced any layer of audio such as bike engines, collisions or ambience. However, as good as the audio is; commentary would have elevated the audible experience further such as from professional motorbike rider Steve Parrish having competed in 8 Isle of Man TT events between 1975 and 1986, won the 1981 British Superbike Championship and retaining the European and British Truck Racing Championships between 1990 to 1994 and again in 1996 as well as being an established commentator having previously commentated on British Superbikes, World Superbikes, MotoGP and more recently British TV coverage of the Isle of Man TT. Meanwhile, John McGuinness would be a worthy co-commentator having won 23 events at the Isle of Man TT and having also analysed a full distance lap of the Isle of Man TT within a gameplay video for TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge.

The trophy list includes 32 trophies with 17 bronze trophies, 8 silver trophies, 6 gold trophies and 1 platinum trophy. Easier trophies include the Newcomer bronze trophy for finishing your first race in solo mode; the Under Your Skin bronze trophy for finishing the entire race in helmet view (cockpit view); and the From Dawn Till Dusk bronze trophy for finishing a race at each time of day. Harder trophies include the Absolutely Legendary gold trophy for winning the Supersport TT or Superbike TT in career mode in three times; the Discretion is the Better Part of Valour silver trophy for finishing a complete lap of the Snaefell Mountain Course without taking any damage; the Collector gold trophy for buying a bike of each model; the Legend gold trophy for reaching 500,000 fans; and the Nothing to Declare gold trophy for winning the TT in less than three years in career mode. There is one online multiplayer trophy in the form of the In the Export Business bronze trophy for winning an online race. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 25 to 30 hours to platinum the trophy list.

There are two sets of difficulty levels with one set appropriately assisting your riding style and the other allowing you to set how hard the A.I. controlled riders are to compete against. Riding style difficulty levels include amateur, semi-pro, pro, simulation and custom, while A.I. rider difficulty includes easy, medium, difficult and expert; however starting out with maximum riding assists including high anti-lock braking, traction control, anti-wheelie and anti-stoppie as well as racing line, combined brakes and automatic transmission, alongside easiest A.I. difficulty level still manages to feel as though it should be at least a hard difficulty level between riding assists and A.I. as the rider will frequently fall off the bike and the A.I. will attempt to squeeze your bike out wide away from the optimum racing line.

Local multiplayer is restricted to a hot seat mode in which 2 to 8 players take turns in a pass the controller scenario on any of the 10 tracks or individual or 1 to 12 multiple sections of the Snaefell Mountain Course. As an additional mode; hot seat mode would be a worthy feature for anyone that only had a single controller, but otherwise without split-screen multiplayer it is quite disappointing, especially when considering there is a race mode in single player that could have easily been adapted for split-screen multiplayer. Isle of Man TT games have been quite scarce over the years, but going as far back as Manx TT Super Bike on the SEGA Saturn in 1997 and the TT Superbikes trilogy on PS2 released from 2005 to 2008; each of those four games have featured the Isle of Man TT circuit and split-screen multiplayer, so it is rather baffling that it can be achieved on SEGA Saturn over 20 years ago or on the PS2 over a decade before the release of TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge on PS4.

Online multiplayer includes a join mode which searches for an existing online multiplayer game to join as soon as possible through a selection of customisable preferences for the type of online lobby you would prefer to join including supersport or superbike category, Isle of Man or other tracks and Tourist Trophy, laps or sections which will quickly and effectively find an online lobby for you to join; however there is no listing of online lobbies to join that perhaps would have been an easier method of quickly joining an online multiplayer race. Create lobby provides a variety of options such as public or private lobby visibility, supersport or superbike category, Isle of Man or other tracks, alongside Tourist Trophy, laps or sections for the Isle of Man to be selected by you as the host of the online lobby or alternatively via a voting system if other tracks are chosen, while you can also invite your friends into your own customised lobby for 2 to 8 player online multiplayer races; however there is no ability to include A.I. controlled riders to begin the race without having to wait for other players to join the online lobby.

Online leaderboards focus on fastest times from each player with rankings covering all 10 tracks across the supersport, superbike and sidecar classes with each leaderboard containing each player’s rank; name (PSN ID); the bike used during the player’s fastest time; the best time set by each player; and the difference between each player’s time in comparison to the fastest time, while players can compare their positioning on the leaderboards with players that occupy the top 10, from your friends list and to immediately find and display your position within any given leaderboard. Meanwhile, the Snaefell Mountain Course has online leaderboards for the fastest times in the complete 37.73 miles of the Tourist Trophy lap, the track variant and each of the 12 individual sections.

TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge’s replayability first and foremost originates from the realism of the Isle of Man TT circuit, alongside 23 riders and 40 motorbikes that have been officially licensed; accompanied by a career mode encompassing 9 tracks inspired by actual tracks building up to the Isle of Man TT in each season, quick race mode allowing the player to learn each individual section of the Isle of Man TT circuit, time attack mode with full online leaderboard and ghost bike functionality, hotseat mode local multiplayer and online multiplayer for 2 to 8 players that will certainly keep Isle of Man TT enthusiasts coming back for more.

 

 

Analysis

  • Title: TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge
  • Developer: KT Racing
  • Publisher: BigBen Interactive/Koch Media/Maximum Games
  • System: PS4
  • Format: PS4 Blu-Ray Disc/PSN Download
  • Cross-Buy: No
  • Cross-Play: No
  • Players: 1-2 (Split-Screen Multiplayer)/ 2-8 (Online Competitive Multiplayer)/Online Leaderboards
  • Hard Drive Space Required: 22.22GB (Version 1.06 – PS4 Blu-Ray Disc/PSN Download)

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