Motorcycle racing games are notoriously difficult. Whereas the four-wheeled racers that frequent the gaming world are accessible to many, for the most part titles which set out a two-wheeled career full of speed and adrenaline-fuelled desires only really cater for the most hardcore of enthusiasts. TT Isle of Man – Ride on the Edge 2 is no different. But spend some time with this beast of a motorbike racer, take the time to learn its intricacies and what is required to be a champion TT rider, and you’ll find a hugely impressive game that will drag you in for hours to come.
As the name suggests, TT Isle of Man – Ride on the Edge 2 follows on from the original Ride on the Edge to provide yet another motorcycling experience that is firmly focused on the iconic Isle of Man TT. And much like the real-world race being one that sorts the wheat from the chaff, providing only the best leather-clad heroes the opportunity to shine, the game also hits those heights.
Coming from Nacon and KT Racing, Ride on the Edge 2 is very nearly right up there with some of the best motorcycle sims we’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing in the gaming industry. But that’s no real surprise as recent history proves the pedigree each team has.
The main meat and drink of Ride on the Edge 2 is the Career mode, and this is certainly where the vast majority of your time with the game will be spent. Working through various events from July through to the following June when the final TT races take place, you can pick and choose your races and their difficulty – easy, medium and hard options are on the table – in the hope that you can prove you have what it takes to earn entry to the biggest races of them all. Spread across the streets of the Isle of Man, down into Wales, over to Ireland’s best race courses and through to England and Scotland, there are a massive amount of race events to partake in; rarely will you find anything not suitable for your skill level. And due to the very nature of the game, you will want to ensure you take part in as much as possible in order to achieve your ultimate TT trophy lifting goals. All of this is helped along by seasonal objectives, a management-styled email system and sponsorship opportunities for you to have a go at.
The racing throughout the career is nothing but fast, tight and utterly enthralling, as you partake in time trial and multi-opponent races in the hope that you can place high enough up on specific leaderboards and earn the required rep needed for a place in the end-of-season TT proper. It feels like a realistic bike racer too, with the need for you to slowly get up to speed so as not to leave the line on the back wheel, while physically the movement required, as you sway the bike left to right to nail apexes, is pretty much spot on. Anyone looking for a properly set up motorbike sim will love what Ride on the Edge 2 delivers – even more so should they dive into the multitude of customisable settings that are on offer.
The career itself will take tens of hours for you to complete, yet running alongside that are some wicked open-world challenges which are just perfect for wasting time. Set in their own small arena, this Challenge Zone sees new races and challenges open up as you move forward, with completion of each dropping rewards your way. Gold, silver and bronze medals sit waiting for you – which in turn deliver new liveries and in-game cash for new bikes and parts – and taking part in specifically laid out time trials, speed zones, elimination races and more will see you provided your just rewards. It’s a great little way of partaking in TT Isle of Man – Ride on the Edge 2 when time is limited or you’re looking for something away from the repetition and intense nature of the career. And believe me, that career is super intense.
As you would expect to hear there are also further standard racing options in hand – Time Attack, Quick Race and Free Roam options are all available for those who are looking for even quicker, super fast hits of action.
Whatever racing mode you decide to enjoy, there are a decent number of bikes to ride too, with all the biggest marques like Honda, Kawasaki, Norton, Triumph, Suzuki, Yamaha and more all in place. These let you work wonders with either the superbike, supersport or classic categories with an abundance of real-world racers, replicated liveries and 13 official team bikes available. Throw in a number of upgradable elements to each of these bikes, and the opportunity to be rewarded for your racing skills with a number of perks and race-helping elements, and again Nacon and KT Racing have provided what is required of a good racing game.
Visually and TT Isle of Man – Ride on the Edge 2 is a bit of a stunner too. While it has to be said that for the most part you’ll find yourself hurtling along at a stupid speed, unable to take in the surrounding scenary, should you stop for a minute and immerse yourself into the landscapes you will discover a decent attention to detail; roads snaking through valleys, dipping down into villages and out onto the open landscapes ensure a huge range of variety. The bikes look great too, and even though a personal favourite cockpit view camera and the brilliant helmet-cam forego any real eye-candy, should you wish to hit the fastest straights from a behind bike viewpoint, or right down on the bumper, you’ll be more than happy with what has been created.
In fact, the only real issue in visual terms is found in the cookie-cutter crowd that are lining the streets of the Isle of Man. These are poor, with sharp angles and a distinct lack of features present. But hey, you’ll only ever see these guys when you fall off and attempt to get back into the race – and for the few seconds they are present we just have to understand that the development team have focused efforts elsewhere. Similarly decent are the sounds of the racing, with the action well-replicated and mostly centred around the roar of a bike engine – pushing hard and letting it scream is a joy that never fails to see the hairs on your arm stand up.
So what’s wrong with TT Isle of Man – Ride on the Edge 2? To be honest, not too much, but carrying on from my opening gambit this really is a racer that has been lined up for the hardcore bike enthusiast. I fancy myself as a bit of a petrolhead and am frequently found at the front of the queue whenever a new motorsport or racing-styled game arrives, but even I was ready to call time on the difficulty found in the opening stages of Ride on the Edge 2. For that reason it really won’t appeal to the more casual gamer, and it may even be left erring on the wrong side of hardcore a bit too much. This is something which will probably push away those found struggling through the early stages. But should you stick with it, and allow time for things to ‘click’, then you’re in for a joy of a time, all as you become at one with the two-wheeled beasts that are included in the game.
Again though, even then there are times when you’ll be left screaming at TT Isle of Man – Ride on the Edge 2. See, the tiniest lack of concentration will, inevitably, end in disaster, with the slightest touch of a curb or an inkling of any removal from the optimum line seeing your guy tumbling down the road as your bike careers into a hedge. With bumpy tracks that have to be respected, it really doesn’t take much for this racer to push you into a tumble, and without constantly holding the racing line, braking and accelerating as and when the optional line dictates, you will be in for a world of trouble. And believe me, whilst ripping your leathers in a short race is bad enough, when you get to the latter stages of a career and are attempting to keep up with the AI in a 226 mile race around the island, keeping those concentration levels high is an issue.
Aside from that, it has to be said that TT Isle of Man – Ride on the Edge 2 is also a slight letdown in terms of the multiplayer options. Taking to the online world with either a superbike, supersport or classic bike is doable, but unfortunately the whole scene seems pretty dead, with there either being a severe issue with matchmaking or a total lack of other players wishing to take part. These problems ensure that multiplayer fans will be left disappointed.
Should you be looking for a new single player motorcycle racer to get your teeth into then TT Isle of Man – Ride on the Edge 2 on Xbox One is the one for you. With a deep career that will enable you the chance to plough in many an hour, a fun little open-world challenge arena and plenty of chances to indulge yourself in quick races, the solo bike fan looking for replication of the real-world event will be utterly enthralled. It’s a shame that the multiplayer side of things doesn’t complement that, but if you can look past this and are ready for a hardcore biking experience then Ride on the Edge 2 will be for you.