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Review: TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge (PC)By The Strat Man At 14.04.2018 11:47

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The last time Kylotonn took to two-wheels, with 2015's Motorcyle Club, it's fair to say that the result was an incomprehensible mess. As such, it's likely down to its far more stellar efforts on the WRC brand that saw it land the Isle of Man TT licence. Does it do it justice? It has certainly gone to great lengths in certain areas. The entire Snaefell Mountain course has been laser-scanned, meaning everything should be 1:1, and in theory, at least, you should feel every crack of the road. Unfortunately, as the physics engine is a little off, the sense of realism can be somewhat pierced from time to time.

The handling has an arcade-like edge, which still presents an enjoyable challenge, just not in the strictly simulative sense. It seems difficult to save yourself in sketchy moments, and a minor mishap often cannonballs into a crash with little warning. The ability to save the vehicle (and your skin) in these moments is lacking, which is a shame for the immersion. Dealing with the somewhat twitchy controller setup can also be a significant hindrance, especially since it makes consistency a challenge until players really get a feel for it. Perhaps the pad rumble could communicate things better.

The PC version tested hits a pretty much rock-solid 60fps, which really does make a difference when surging through the beautiful countryside at eye-watering speeds. While the first thing racers will be struck by will likely be a lamp-post or a garden-wall, when in motion it's clear there isn't a better-looking motorcycle game out there. Admittedly, the fictional tracks, presumably added to bolster the package overall, are a little dull by comparison, but the Isle of Man itself looks excellent. Slow to a crawl and a few blemishes can be found, but that is neither here nor there. It's also worth mentioning the audio, which is quite impressive.

The revs rise and fall when working through the gears, and there's no better feeling than nailing a tricky corner, then surging through the gears as the driver exits onto a big straight. Speaking of which, TT Isle of Man: Ridge on the Edge offers manual shifting, as well as automatic, plus a range of assists. Whether you use them or not is likely dependent on your general understanding of racing on two wheels. It is fun to have everything turned off, but for the sake of a smooth run the braking line is very tempting, if not essential.

The career mode, unfortunately, is quite bare and feels a bit cobbled together. As previously stated, the Isle of Man TT track itself is really the main draw here, which is fine, only this is a full price game. Although there are some famous motors available from each bracket of motorcycle, both superbikes and supersport are under-represented and the separate classes don't feel distinctive. More to the point, it's not possible to customise or upgrade the vehicles purchased, so the sense of progression in single-player mode takes a hit as a result. The presentation is also somewhat poor, with slightly confusing and ill-devised menus. Not a huge issue itself, but it does seem clear that the team has worked intensively on the TT, and then made less attentive efforts to pad out the rest of the package. In a way, it would have been better to keep the game minimal and charge less, although this would likely not turn a great profit. Kylotonn intends to add to the title in the coming months, so the overall package may well improve in time.

One inclusion that is a lot of fun is online mode, which lacks options, but accentuates the core strengths - the TT course itself, the visceral sense of speed - whilst allowing for some more frequent duels with other drivers. This doesn't happen so often in the single-player experience, since the event is staggered. It's also a chance to race with drivers who won't (necessarily) drive straight through you and cause you to crash like the AI tends to do. After all, racing real people is always so much better. It's just a shame that the online mode lacks options, since it is potentially the most captivating aspect in the long-term. There's no way to keep track of stats across several races, so championship bouts are not possible to engineer amongst friends. All the same, this mode still provided a great deal of fun - it just could have been miles better.

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Final Score
[i]TT Isle of Man: Ridge on the Edge[/i] deserves praise for its fairly meticulous recreation of the famous event. The sense of speed, high quality audio, and the impressive visuals, amount to a visceral driving experience. This may be reason enough in itself for motorcycle enthusiasts to give it a try, especially since there's an on-going shortage of this type of racer. With that said, though, those hoping for a simulative experience will quickly identify a few shortcomings. The AI drivers routinely survive in scenarios where real drivers would end up in some villager's living room, and given half a chance, other drivers just plough right through you. Under the microscope, the physics engine is quite arcade-like, which is a shame and a surprise considering the effort it took to laser-scan the entire Isle of Man course. Also, the career mode is lifeless, although online play is a saving grace.

6

/10

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