TT Isle of Man: Ride on the edge leaves you begging to slow down

It's not often the achievement you can reach the quickest in a racing game is for crashing 10 times. Welcome to the Isle of Man TT in virtual form

TT Isle of Man: Ride on the edge leaves you begging to slow down

Bike racing games have a mixed recent past, with late 1990s PC title GP 500 remaining the high watermark for the discipline.

Now the epic, legendary, fearsome Isle of Man TT has its own game, and it has stayed true to the core values of proper motorcycle road racing, so direct comparisons with traditional motorbike games aren't particularly relevant.

But the USP of having the full TT course (more on how scary that is later), plus additional fictional shorter circuits that help populate a career mode, would wear thin pretty quickly if the handling of the bikes wasn't up to scratch.

Buy your copy of TT Isle of Man: Ride on the edge

Fortunately, this game is one of the better efforts in the 21st century in terms of handling. Recent games have become too focused on making bikes feel heavy, and trying to master the difficult challenge of incorporating independent movement of the rider compared to the machine. It's a great idea, based in realism, but when it's not executed well, it feels clunky.

Isle of Man TT Ride on the Edge deals with that delicate balance well, allowing for more mid-corner adjustment than the games that focus too much on the bike's weighted feel. And it's managed to do that without having to give up on realism.

Quirks of road racing, such as bumpy, uneven surfaces, crests in the road and aggressive kerbs, are all ready to trip you up at every turn in this game, and if you don't show the roads and bikes the respect they deserve, you'll be in the walls, fences and fields repeatedly.

A good example of the realism is how you are often more likely to crash due to being too tentative on the bike. If you reach a crest and back off the throttle or try to reposition at the last minute, you're having an accident.

But, as the real stars of the TT - many of whom feature in the game - will tell you, if you stay committed, keep the throttle cranked and hold your line, the bike will take care of itself, to a degree. Even in a game, it takes a little while to build up that courage.

The career mode is a good way to build up some familiarity with the discipline, taking part in mass start or TT events on shorter circuits, on more nimble, and forgiving supersport machinery before stepping up to the superbike category.

You'll also compete in events using segments of the whopping 60-kilometre full Snaefell Mountain TT course, to give you a feel for the fearsome challenge that is the game's ultimate showpiece. It'll be the first time in a game you realise you're forcing yourself to stay at 100% throttle while begging for a corner to appear just so you have a reason to slow down.

Road racers talk about effectively standing on the bike, using just the handlebars and footpegs as the points of contact. You'll soon find yourself doing the equivalent with your controller of choice, your fingers dancing on the controls as your eyeballs dry out because you're refusing to blink. There just isn't time for it.

With quite a narrow focus on road racing and the TT itself, there is a niche element to this game, but if you're a fan of that niche, or you are just captivated by a challenge as special as the Isle of Man - which has been painstakingly recreated in great detail - you'll get something out of this game.

The number of tracks might make it feel like there's not a huge amount of depth here, but the mix of TT and mass start races (be prepared for unforgiving AI opponents) keep the career mode relatively varied, and when you've got a 60km-circuit to tackle, this is never going to be a game that you'll feel you've conquered within an hour of picking it up.

Give it a go, if you're feeling brave enough.

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