The Isle of Man TT 2020 event may be cancelled, but you can keep on riding this month with Nacon and KT Racing’s TT Isle of Man: Race on the Edge 2, which is releasing on March 19th on PS4. It’s a shame the real-life event won’t be going ahead due to the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) but at least there’s the game for the hardcore fans. Hey future readers! Here in the year 2020, everything went to shit when a new virus spread across the world.
Now that we’ve got the future-proofing of this review out of the way, let’s get on with it. I’ve been warming my wheels and avoiding all social contact this past week with the latest motor racing game, and I’ve come away pleasantly surprised, both at how much I enjoyed the game and at how easy it has been for me to ditch society and become a reclusive shut-in.
I’ll be upfront with you: Motorcycle racing games aren’t my typical go-to games when I want to do some racing. For me, the Forza Horizon series takes the cake, and Mario Kart is an easy way to keep a child quiet for an hour. No, Gran Turismo is not a feature in my house. Sorry.
So if I get the terminology wrong – and I will – or whatever, don’t be offended. It just means you’re a bigger fan of motorcycle games than I am, and that no matter what I say, you’re going to enjoy TT Isle of Man 2. And rightly so, because it’s a good game.
Single-player shut-ins, rejoice. TT Isle of Man 2 is all about the single-player life. There’s an in-depth career mode, a free roam mode, as well as quick races and time attack. There’s plenty of choice in how you race and when you want to, but for me, most of my time was spent in the surprisingly deep career mode.
You start out as a rookie rider and put your avatar together. It’s all standard. Then you are thrown into the Career Mode seasons where you’ll sign for different teams and race for them in the ongoing leagues. This was a surprise to me. I didn’t know motorcycle racing had leagues like football. You learn something new every day! How you race will affect your team’s standing, as well as your own career trajectory. Race well, get some wins under your helmet and you’ll be pulling in bigger money.
To start with, you’re nothing but a poor boy. Money is hard to come by, or at least it was in my case as I had to basically learn how to ride a bike again, but with a gamepad and a TV. It’s not as easy as you think, and if you’re a four-wheel racing thinking about making the transition to two wheels in support of Isle of Man TT, you’d do well to put some practice in before taking your team of choice tumbling down the league standings.
I was bad to begin, and I was constantly crashing into walls, pulling accidental wheelies, and generally just being a disgrace to the sport. Bikes handle nothing like cars, and once I got my brain around that, things started to fall into place. There’s a nuance to bike riding that you just don’t get with regular car racing games. It becomes almost like a dance. Tilting your bike from one side to the other in successive turns needs to be smooth and fluid, otherwise, you’ll find yourself wobbling all over the tarmac before crashing into a bin or a bush, sending your rider flying through the air. That happened to me lots. Really lots. So much so I reckon I could put together a decent compilation video. We’ll see how quarantine goes…
Once you’ve got to grips with the handling of the bikes (free roam is an excellent training ground for this) you’ll be able to really compete and pull in some bigger paychecks. In turn, this leads to better gear. Once the shop unlocks you’ll be welcome to buy new bikes, parts, and liveries for your rides, the latter of which doesn’t appeal to me. Just give me the power upgrades so I can fly, damn it! You can upgrade your bikes with new parts to put in better performance on the track, and you can also earn perks which can give you the edge, though the perk system is a little more complicated than I would have liked.
The career mode puts you on the calendar with different events, some of which pay out higher than others and earn you more prestige, though at the expense of being more difficult, while the regular league races are always there. You can choose to skip a league race, but it’ll be useless if you don’t place well in the event you’re skipping the league race for. It’s about finding that balance early on, and knowing what your own limits are to impress the crowds and get that all-important invite to the holy grail of motorbike racing.
I’ll concede and admit that I’ve only won a handful of races. Even now I’m still learning the ropes. I have my preferred tracks where I know I can do well, and there are some that I genuinely struggle. Generally, the more corners and hairpin turns, the worse I do. Brakes are for wimps…
TT Isle of Man 2 supposedly has a massive update to its physics model compared to the last game. I couldn’t tell you if it matters or is noticeable as I’ve not played the first game, but TT Isle of Man felt smooth enough to me. Bikes reacted how my brain (average power) expected them too; heavy bikes really do feel like big ol’ pendulums as you lean into corners, while the lighter machines tend to feel extra responsive and constantly at-risk of spinning out if you’re not paying attention. The best part about the game’s physics, though, was seeing my rider go flying through the air countless times. It’ll get old someday, but let that day not be anytime soon. You know what? I’m making that compilation video.
On the technical side, I never had any issues with TT Isle of Man 2. Crashes are non-existent and the general performance brilliant with a constantly smooth frame rate and zero stuttering or other mishaps. The graphics are good, not great, but good enough. Clear and crisp on my 4K TV, TT Isle of Man 2 looks good enough that you forget it’s a small budget production. There was one tiny issue I had that has become a non-issue now, but it’s worth explaining anyway. The roads would look like they were shimmering at the start of the race when I wasn’t moving. The blacks and details of the tarmac would jitter and it was distracting at first, but I realised that it isn’t present when you’re actually in motion. So if you do end up playing the game and notice it on your telly, don’t worry – it’s normal.
Like a lot of the games I’ve reviewed over the last 12 months, I didn’t expect to like TT Isle of Man 2 as much as I do now. It’s a difficult game to enter as a complete newcomer, but with a bit of patience and practice I got the hang of it and slowly but surely, I learned about a sport that had previously only existed on the outer fringes of my life. Will it turn me into a hardcore biker dude? No. But if you’re a motorbike racing fan, you’ll almost certainly feel at home with TT Isle of Man 2.
TT Isle of Man 2 PS4 Review
Overall - Very Good - 7/10
TT Isle of Man 2 is a solid racing experience whether you’re a veteran racer or the new kid who just lost their training wheels. The career mode has depth and drives a purpose without being a total grind. To put it simply, I had a wheely good time.
- Great single-player offering with a deep career mode and some extras to keep you busy
- Responsive controls
- Clean presentation and great performance
- There’s a learning curve, and while it could be a challenge for some, it should be OK for most
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS4 Pro.
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Chris has been writing about gaming news for far too long, and now he’s doing it even more. A true PlayStation know-it-all, Chris has owned just about every Sony console that ever existed. Trophies are like crack to this fella. (Bronze trophies, that is – he only has one Platinum.)