I’m sure by now that when you hear the term ‘TT’ one of two things spring to mind; either the awful hairdressers car by Audi or the mental 37 mile street race on the Isle of Man once a year. Initially holding its inaugural race in 1907, it is often referred to as one of the most dangerous racing events in the world which has claimed the lives of numerous racers.
I generally avoid motorcycle racing games like the plague which I will give my reasons for later, but what made this different? Well, after reviewing BigBens latest release Monster Energy Supercross, I wanted to see if another of their titles could live up to the fun I had with that game.
As most racing games, the main focus is on your career path which will hopefully take you to the Isle of Man and the dream race for most bikers. You simply do this by competing in various street races; hopefully winning thus gaining both fans and money and then eventually being sent an invite for the big race.
There are 2 types of race format to contend with, a Mass Start race which sees any number of riders all starting at once and competing to be the first to cross the finish line or a TT race, which is basically a time trial and sees you trying to set the fastest lap overall. One of my main issues with this game comes in to effect when you have a Mass Start race. That first corner.. no matter what, 90% of the time you go flying off your bike too easily, even after the slightest nudge from other riders. I tried to take things safely as well by braking early on a few occasions, but the AI bikes just plowed into the back of my bike and through it sending me flying and them on their merry way. Now don’t get me wrong, there are occasions where you’re racing and the AI get it wrong ahead of you and you fly past them after they have been reset to the track, but they never come of when they send you flying, yet even one of your competitors farting will send you flying in spectacular fashion.
There’s not really much else to the career in the game. There are no upgrades to the bike you’re riding, you are forced to buy new bikes with slightly more power rather than being able to tweak parts on the bike you own and there are only 2 classifications of bike; Supersport and Superbike, the former being the less powerful. You do get to choose bikes from 8 different manufacturers, but it just doesn’t feel enough.
Other than the career mode, you can take your racing online or if that’s not your thing then single player does offer Quick Races, Time Attack races or a Tutorial which you really need to take to understand the physics of the game. My only issue with that was when I first loaded the game up I played it; it started off fine, accelerate, break etc but after a very short period it said something along the lines of ‘Right, lets turn off the easy mode as well as all the driving aids the game has to offer and watch you kill yourself repeatedly within 100 meters of road.’ Or thats what it sounded like to me in my head after I slowly started to apply the accelerator and my bike kept wheelying off in front of me whilst I was thrown to the road like a limp crash test dummy. It was too much of a steep learning curve within 1 lap of a course as I was still trying to get used to the overly twitchy control of the bike in the first place.
Therein lies the reason why I have avoided Motorbike/Superbike racing games for so long. I much prefer the reliability and stability of 4 wheels. If a bike game is arcade based, it’s usually fun to play. Once I had got past the very few issues Monster Energy Supercross had, I loved it. TT, I just never felt comfortable with. The bike is a nightmare to control at the best of times. Your rear tyre will spin out from under you no matter what speed you are doing into a corner and it is impossible to try and regain control sending you skidding to the edge of the road and in all cases, hurtling off your bike. The Accelerator control is a nightmare; no matter how much I tried to fiddle with the settings I couldn’t get my speed through a corner to just hold constant at say, half a press of the R2 button. You either decelerate or speed up, there’s no inbetween. As this is a street racing based game, there are curbs to contend with on roads, but I found that even the slightest glance of one and again the crash test dummy that was in control of my bike was hurled lifelessly through the air face planting either a streetlight or a house. You will spend more time off the bike than on it and it gets very annoying very fast.
I have found this to be the case with most 2 wheel racers I have tried over the years which is why I could never really get into them, but this game seems to be really over-sensitive. Now unfortunately the controls of the game are obviously a major part of the experience and this is what you will focus on whilst playing. The issue for me is that the rest of the game is surprisingly good!
The graphics are great. OK, they’re no Gran Turismo, but for a high speed racer they fly past really nicely with no framerate issues that I noticed. When you are flying along the road at over 150 mph, the sense of speed that this game delivers is out of this world, not to mention the sound of the wind flying by your head. The AI within the game is very hard. Once you have taken a few falls it becomes hard to catch up, let alone overtake on such narrow courses. I do like this as it does keep you on your toes, and if you can get your head around how temperamental the handling is in the game you can actually have some good races side by side with the other guys on track, just stay clear of them or you will learn to fly one more time.
Unfortunately, TT Isle of Man – Ride on the Edge does nothing to make me want to try any other bike racing games other than Motocross or Supercross. I do believe that it is aimed toward a very niche market which I am not a part of, but Im sure there will be some out there that can tame this beast and race to victory over the 37 miles of road on the Isle of Man.
For me the game just about warrents a 6/10. There are good points within the game once you get past the bad and after a while you do start to slowly get used to the way it plays, but it is exhausting to do so which does take away from the first time you actually win a race. Rather than elation, its more a sense of exhaustion.
**PLEASE NOTE: AIR Entertainment were supplied with a review copy of this game direct from BigBen games. This has in no way influenced my review as per our Review Policy**