TT Isle Of Man: Ride On The Edge 3 – Around The Island

REVIEW – The annual Isle of Man street motorcycling event (which has made the venue famous since 1907) has had several game adaptations, but now, here’s the third act from Nacon, which released the second in the series (then under its previous name, Bigben Interactive) three years ago. There hasn’t been any significant progress, so this three-year gap hasn’t led to resounding success.



An iconic course for motorbike fans. 200km of open roads to practice on. Challenging physics. A simulation for the best riders.



Studio swap


This time, the game (won’t be named, even its abbreviation is ridiculously long) is not being made by Kylotonn, formerly the developer of WRC games, but by Racwward Studio, which previously made another motorbike game with RiMS Racing (admittedly, the technology, the KT Engine, remains the same, and that might be the game’s weakness…). Isle of Man TT is a different style from MotoGP: it’s a hardcore street race where fatal accidents happen. It’s about 1:1 scale digitized roads that you can drive on in Open Roads mode to explore the island, and there’s not much to see. But there’s a “career mode” (in quotes, because you can’t create your character, and that was an option before!) and a season. These can be done with the 600cc supersport or 1000cc superbike bikes. There are nearly half a hundred riders and a good two dozen bikes in total, and over time, you can earn upgrade points to improve your bike. As the season progresses, there will be races and time trials on what is said to be thirty-four but is more like eight different track variants on the island. Still, eventually, the whole circuit will be available for the primary race.

The tuning of the engines, divided into three tiers, is essential: handling them is initially difficult. For some reason, the engine’s shortcomings have always made the physics and handling seem like a car… but it should be pointed out that the engine and rider are perceived as separate, as the physics have improved compared to the previous editions. Even if there is help taking corners, it will not always be enough. Anyone who would expect such a thing on the open roads won’t get it (in a somewhat incomprehensible move), and this abandonment is unfortunately also noticeable in the upgrading process. Okay, there are no licensed parts, but there is no information about what improves what; we have to work out for ourselves that, for example, better tires give better grip, so cornering improves, except when it comes to slower, sharper corners, where our rider’s weight transfer feels somewhat sluggish. It looks good when you might crash into someone. Fortunately for us, the vision also blurs, and if we’re not careful, so do we (at higher speeds, the pavement or curbs seem sufficiently washed out, and we reflexively run into them and take off like a victory song).



On the road


The game can provide a fair challenge, as you can adjust the aid settings to give you a chance against the AI, which at least considers where you are rather than mindlessly knocking you off the road if you’ve missed a turn (Milestone, take notes!). But there’s no doubt that it won’t be easy at first. It is not a race track. Some very narrow roads here make it difficult to get started, so it’s not just about finding the proper braking distance and the right curve. You have to get used to the fact that your front wheel will be off most of the time at the start (you’ll also have to manage the clutch). And when you’re racing faster, even with a sense of speed, the game is just plain ugly (especially the Snaefell mountain in the background). Being cross-gen, the weakest platform, in our case, the Nintendo Switch, is holding everyone else back. On PlayStation 5, it has a choppy frame rate in some places (on PC, too, though it may be configuration-dependent, not everyone has an RTX card and a 10th+-gen Intel CPU) when in a “denser” environment. Many buildings or trees, maybe the crowd?

Then it will spoil our sense of speed, which in turn will ruin our performance. The rider and the bike don’t look nice either. OK, let’s put it in 120 Hz mode. Yeah, we don’t have that. That leaves us at 60, but maybe the frame rate is not refined because of the frame pacing. Sometimes the lighting is good, but most of the time, it’s not (bloom, bloom, boom). At least the studio has used DualSense properly: you can hear through the speaker if the tire squeals (it sounds annoying as hell, by the way), if the exhaust rumbles, or if you get involved in a crash. It shakes when you change gears (manual sometimes doesn’t work), but it might have helped if you could tilt your bike by tilting the controller (not quite the Wii motion-sensing control, but a little bit of assist). So far, not much has been mentioned about the sounds: the bikes sound suitably different, and you can get a pretty good sound, although the soundtrack can be divisive. Not everyone is going to enjoy rock music.



Lying in the mud


The game has some shortcomings that have not been mentioned so far. For example, it feels lifeless. Not just offline, but online, it’s already pretty lacking. Steam’s rating five days after release is 69. On the one hand, nice; on the other hand, ONLY sixty-nine? Maybe they could do a free-roam lobby, where you could challenge other racers to a race while riding a bike on the island, a la Need For Speed Underground 2. Then the challenger could choose a track version and race almost instantly. It wasn’t implemented, sadly. Raceward focused on the technical stuff rather than adding content because it could have been added to TT Isle Of Man: Ride On The Edge 3 (doesn’t it look ugly?). Okay, we can ride from event to event, but we could have taken the concept further. There is no rewind, so you have to ride well. The camera might be too close to the rider in the external view at times (first-person views feel slightly off, too), the track gets completely grassy at times due to a bug, supersport bikes’ physics are too tight, and superbikes tend to go wild under us entirely unexpectedly.



Slight setback


TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge 3 gets a 6.5 out of ten because the previous installment was more substantial and expansive. It’s not a bad game, but the series has seen better. It’s fun to concentrate on the longer races for perfection, but it has flaws in almost every area, so it’s hard to give it a seven out of ten. This game is worth buying at the lowest price at best; until then, it might be worth sticking to 2. And Nacon can go to hell with its upgrade point DLC, and charging three euros for John McGuinness’s paint job is ridiculous.



+ The island has been properly digitized
+ You can walk around the island freely
+ Physics that seem somewhat more serious, good audio


– …but maybe still restrained by the KT Engine; somewhat cary
– Struggles with shortcomings in almost every area
– Ugly and lacking content in the long term

Publisher: Nacon

Developer: Raceward Studio

Style: Isle of Man TT adaptation

Release: May 11, 2023.

TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge 3

Gameplay - 7.2
Graphics - 5.3
Physics - 7.1
Music/Audio - 7.4
Ambience - 7.5



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Grabbing controllers since the middle of the nineties. Mostly he has no idea what he does - and he loves Diablo III. (Not.)

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