Speed is one thing, but speed on a motorcycle is something else entirely. The sense of cutting through the wind on a straightaway and seemingly hovering over the ground as you lean in on a tight curve provides a different sensation compared to car racing. But it’s also far more dangerous, hence why doing it in video game form is certainly the best way to capture a sense of the experience. Nintendo Switch does have a few cycling racers in its library, but TT Isle of Man – Ride on the Edge 2 seeks to provide a more authentic experience with its simulator-like mechanics. While it does bring a few good tune-ups to the table, it mostly provided a rough ride for me.
Working for the wins in TT Isle of Man 2
The meat of the experience in TT Isle of Man 2 is its Career mode. You will have a selection of teams that offer to sign you on, and when you do so, you’ll have access to their bike, suit, and livery. Your contract also comes with a set of objectives, and completing them gives you parts used to upgrade your personal bikes. The overall goal is to be eligible to win the Tourist Trophy. Like most racing sims, you’ll be racing following a seasonal calendar, and here it is separated into sections of each month. Shooting for the Tourist Trophy takes an in-game year, so you’ll spend the beginning of the Career mode participating in races to mostly gain experience.
Races are gradually unlocked as you advance through the calendar. Oftentimes, there are multiple races each in-game week to choose from, separated into Easy, Medium, and Hard. The more difficult the race, the more rewards you will gain. Easier races are mostly good for refilling your Perk Points. Perks are little bonuses that can be applied to a race to make things easier. You will mostly buy them using the points, though some of them also come at a monetary cost using in-game credits. The perks you obtain always reset to zero when a new season starts. The higher the position you place in a race, the more Perk Points and money you will earn, along with Reputation. Earning more rep is one of the ways to qualify for an invitation to race for the Tourist Trophy. Another way is to win the Irish Championship, which takes place throughout the season across eight races, and you can also try to win the Junior TT.
To supplement your progress in your main Career, there’s a Challenge Mode. If you win challenges, they will grant you rewards that will help in the main races. Challenges can include tasks like trying to outrun another rider for a certain period of time or keeping up a specific amount of speed for a certain period of time. All challenges are time-limited, on top of that.
Indeed, there’s a bit of moving parts to the whole experience. And in typical fashion for a KT Racing game, this is not at all a fun run for any inexperienced or casual race fans. This Career can and does punish you, even in small ways. And this is where things can get dicey.
I will admit I turned down the difficulty to “Beginner,” which is even lower than “Easy.” Even with that, combined with playing with all of the assists, the races in Career Mode still did me dirty. The AI drivers are almost flawless; they can hold the optimal race line from start to finish and rarely ever wipe out. So, if you lose your position in a race, fighting to get it back is either going to take a while or be basically impossible depending on how down you’re pushed. You’ll either be racing to get the best time or against a specific number of other riders. The time-based racers are a little less stressful, but you won’t know your actual position until the end of the race.
Aside from the seemingly rigged difficulty, the actual driving experience is what really makes TT Isle of Man 2 so hit-and-miss. The default controls feel off. As expected, the throttle and brake are mapped to the Switch’s triggers. The digital inputs are not good for a sim racer like this, especially since you’re dealing with fragile bikes. I found myself slamming into the ground or a wall more often than racing. That’s because the acceleration is so fast, and the triggers don’t offer the precision needed to best handle corners (which there are a lot of in these different courses).
But tucked away in the options menu is the ability to remap the controls. In fact, there’s already a preset that maps the throttle and brake to the right analog stick. I usually don’t opt to play like this in most racers, but here, it feels so much better. It is completely superior to using the triggers since you can make incremental adjustments to the throttle, even being able to feather it when faced with tight turns.
While this allowed me to fall a lot less, that doesn’t mean it stopped completely. Getting jettisoned off your bike is far too easy; simply bumping a curbside can be enough to send you flying. To add to this frustration is that when participating in a Career race, restarting a race will drop your rewards by 10%. The only other option is to forfeit the whole race. So, starting a race is a commitment, and you’re expected to complete it as flawlessly as possible. I’m not that great with sim racers, but this is one of the least forgiving I’ve ever played.
I did think of abusing myself even more by trying to compete against human racers online, but I was never able to find a match. Local multiplayer is an option though, should you ever choose to play with a friend.
Rough around the edges
Also falling short in TT Isle of Man 2 is the visual presentation. Close-up textures are of very low quality, and models are very simplistic. The environments look decent enough, though the scenery detail is hit-and-miss. Trees, in particular, suffer from rendering limitations. They’ll quickly fade into more detail as you come near but otherwise will look like watercolor blotches from afar. The resolution is sharp enough, though the game’s frame rate is unlocked. It does hit 30 FPS sometimes, but there’s noticeable choppiness most of the time.
The only real saving grace of the presentation is the audio — the FX work is well done. The sounds of the bike motors are mean and loud, and as you gain speed, the rumbling and whistling of the wind as it blows past you gets realistically heavier. Whizzing past objects at high speed also gives a very authentic “woosh!” effect, and larger objects will sound distinctly different from smaller ones. This is some great attention to detail, and I wish the visuals on Switch were given the same treatment.
TT Isle of Man 2 is not for the faint of heart
TT Isle of Man – Ride on the Edge 2 is ultimately a mixed bag. It had me more on the edge of my seat out of frustration rather than excitement. Again, KT Racing has a track record of producing difficult racing games, but this one feels like the least forgiving one.
While I applaud the team’s efforts for continually supporting Switch, I’m a bit bummed that, even after two years, their engine still doesn’t look all that great on Switch. Hopefully, things will finally improve eventually. It’s still playable, but nothing ground-breaking compared to more detailed affairs like GRID Autosport or Fast RMX.
TT Isle of Man – Ride on the Edge 2 is best suited for those that either are already decent with sim racers or who want to push themselves to be better through self-abuse. Either way, it’s not the best pickup if you’re looking for a casual bike racing experience.
A review code was provided by the publisher.