Annually, motorcycle racing enthusiasts have their eyes on the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy races. In the early Summer days, professional racers head to the Isle of Man, an islet situated in the Irish Sea, to test their mettle in one of the most hazardous racing events in the world. In fact, the circuits on the remote island are so dangerous, that it has claimed the lives of several motorcyclists since the event’s inception over a century ago.
The development team at Raceward Studio brings us the events that occur in this annual fossil-fueled gauntlet virtually with TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge 3 being the latest in this series. Much like the real-life event, you will be tasked with running time trial circuits and, of course, grueling races through the narrow streets of the Isle of Man on the back of your high-powered mechanical steed. When you boot up the game, it will instantly throw you into the action. You can select your rider from a list of official competitors and dive into a season’s worth of challenges.
"Ride on the Edge 3 takes an approach familiar to Forza fans with a somewhat open world at play, though, it’s drastically scaled down from what Forza fans might be familiar with."
Ride on the Edge 3 takes an approach familiar to Forza fans with a somewhat open world at play, though, it’s drastically scaled down from what Forza fans might be familiar with. Still, you can roam the virtual recreation of the Isle of Man without any strings attached if you so choose.
Thrusting yourself into time trial scenarios or actual races is as easy as pulling up the menu, however. You can begin a career or a season that will eventually culminate in the big race. Players will have to choose between the 600cc Supersport class or the 1000cc Superbikes. Newcomers or amateurs should start with the Supersport class which takes things a tad slower.
The game also enables you to select your level of competency when it comes to both physics and AI. Having these both switched to “beginner” will still net you an enormous challenge and steep learning curve in this sprint that is all about precision. There is absolutely nothing “easy” about TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge 3. If you are a newcomer, you will undoubtedly learn fast why the actual event has been the demise of so many racers across several decades. Ridiculously high speeds don’t necessarily mix with narrow roads and sharp turns.
It’s too easy to clip a pole on the side of the track, or an object in the way that will send you flying head over heels. The game does its absolute best to warn you of upcoming turns. The green arrow trajectory highlighted on the road will turn red if you’re going too fast for the turn ahead. These turns can come very fast if you’ve truly put the pedal to the metal so-to-speak. What we’re talking about is potentially going from 200 mph on a straight sprint, down to 30 or 40 mph for a sharp turn. That’s a huge slowdown and one you must always cautiously be aware of.
"If you are a newcomer, you will undoubtedly learn fast why the actual event has been the demise of so many racers across several decades. Ridiculously high speeds don’t necessarily mix with narrow roads and sharp turns."
Ultimately, this game will take practice for the novice rider. Thankfully, there’s a quick way to at least reset your bike and rider after a nasty spill. But that still doesn’t remove the pain of constantly making a slightly wrong move and watching your avatar jettison into the air. Racing is unforgiving. Riding a motorbike is a bit more complicated than racing in a car. If you aren’t handling the bike well, you can lose traction and wobble your way into a devastating crash.
I know what you might be thinking. The ever-popular retort to struggling players (at least in the Souls-like arena) “get good” rings true here. You simply have to have the patience and fortitude to perfect your movements and reactions to the circuit ahead of you. Careening into a barrier or clipping an object on the side of the road can actually be the least of your concerns. Braking and turning too sharply at the wrong speed can also be detrimental as your rider can and will fall off the bike. There are many variables to take into account.
Despite being able to traverse the roads of the Isle of Man in a free-roam setting, the world is certainly not as open as Forza or even the latest Need for Speed. It’s hard to really admire the vistas traveling at such high speeds, especially when you’re more concerned about what’s in front of you. However, if you stop to take in the detail, you might find that some of the landscapes, structures, and even people on the sidelines are a bit rough on the eyes. There’s little variety in the people cheering behind the barriers. And while that shouldn’t be a focus for the overall gaming experience, it breaks the immersion when you see clones everywhere – even standing right next to each other sometimes. As far as the environments are concerned, there’s a lot of that same-y feel throughout. There isn’t a ton of variety and, at times, the foreground is rather unremarkable. So, in effect, the surroundings are better seen whizzing by you as you barrel down the road. You’ll also notice the occasional pop-in which detracts from the game’s visual fidelity.
If you find that you’re committed to becoming a champion motorcyclist, there are other options on the table aside from the time trials and races. You can test your skills against other players online, of course. You can even host your own custom racing events. Whether playing solo or online, racing is fluid and the game performs admirably in this regard with no major hurdles or technical issues that ever impede gameplay. Even when racing AI, the game recognizes other bodies on the track, and the AI racers don’t bunch up and get in your way. In fact, they tend to move out of your way as you approach. Or if they come up from behind, they’ll zip right around you. The AI’s self-awareness in this regard is completely welcome. Essentially, if you were to crash into an AI racer, you’d need to do so intentionally.
"It’s hard to really admire the vistas traveling at such high speeds, especially when you’re more concerned about what’s in front of you. However, if you stop to take in the detail, you might find that some of the landscapes, structures, and even people on the sidelines are a bit rough on the eyes,"
In terms of customization, there is a bit of legwork you can do on your own bike. In fact, strangely enough, Ride on the Edge 3 gets easier the further you dive into the game. This is because part upgrades drastically aid in the handling of your bike making life a little bit easier out on the street. Upgrading is absolutely key. You just need to get over the initial hurdle of managing a less effective bike from the get-go.
All-in-all, TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge 3 is a remarkably niche racing endeavor that’ll mostly speak true to actual fans of the sport. The difficulty curve is prevalent and will ultimately weed out novice or impatient players quickly. But while the game could certainly be more refined with better visuals and accessible options, that doesn’t stop it from being a noteworthy racing experience for fans of the genre.
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 5.
Exhilarating speeds and races; Fluid gameplay.
A steep learning curve; Bland world design; Occasional pop-in issues.
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