One thing is for certain – I’m pretty sure I’d end up 6 feet under if I ever tried my hand at the real life sport! My poor racer soon got acquainted with being flung off of his bike with a little too much regularity. TT Isle of Man Ride on the Edge 2 is challenging then, but at the same time it’s a lot of fun. Some excellent controls and physics keep us in control at all times, and any (many…) falls generally sit squarely on the impatient rider holding the pad.
KT Racing have absolutely nailed the feeling of hurling several hundred kilos of metal and meat down long, winding roads. The sensation of speed is incredible, with the edges of our vision blurring putting focus on the narrow track ahead. The wind whips around our head, each passing tree or building distorting it in a quite frankly unnervingly realistic way. Played with headphones, it truly is impressive how immersed I got while flying alongside a row of tress. Each little flick of the stick sees our rider shift his weight ever so slightly, from a gentle lean to a full on hug of the tarmac. Just about scraping past someone’s front garden flowers before levelling out and absolutely gunning it never got old. The haptic triggers in the Xbox One pad play their part too – each gear change gives a short, sharp burst of feedback letting you know that things just got taken up a notch. I’ve never so much as ridden a moped in real life, but Ride on the Edge 2 makes us feel like a true badass racing king when it all goes right, as we thread through tight, twisty bends at over 100mph. It really is exhilarating stuff, and easily the best example of bike racing I’ve played.
But what use is all this amazing feel if there’s nothing to do with it. Well, Ride on the Edge 2 offers a full career mode for us to play through. Here we start as a brand new rookie and must work through the yearly race calendar to gain respect, money and sponsorships. Different teams vie for our attention too, provided we race well enough (needless to say, I didn’t get very offers…). There are often several choices of event to partake in, though you can only do one per race day. Choose and easier race and we may make some money and gain some prestige, but by doing so we miss out on better opportunities granted by competing in the harder events. The ultimate goal is to get to the Isle of Man race at the end of the year, either by gaining enough respect or signatures from winning races. Easier said than done mind. You’ll need some serious skills and patience to succeed.
Races themselves take the form of either time based staggered starts, or flat out races to the finish line. Regardless of the method, they are all lengthy affairs, with some taking over 10 minutes to complete. I’m not familiar with the real life race set ups, but I’d have preferred more slightly shorter races, either by distance or the amount of laps. Not so bad when we could keep in the action, but one fall tends to see us hit the back of the pack and stay there. The sheer speed of things means that it can be hard to really grasp what is coming up, especially without the racing line displayed on the track. Of course, more practice allows us to learn the tracks, but a penalty to earnings is effected should we want to restart a race to try again. AI riders also seem practically invincible, stuck on the racing line rigidly and able to knock us off pretty easily while they sail on without a care in the world.
Set across fictional locales in England, Ireland and on the Isle of Man, Ride on the Edge 2 at least looks pretty. Perhaps it’s because I only just got a One X (at last!!) but I was blown away by the stunning bike and player modelling, and the world looks great as we whizz past it. Not so much when we stop mind, but really, who’s got the time for that? There’s a race to be won!
Unless we choose the free roam option, in which case we can observe all the cut and paste spectators and un-interactive locales at our own pace. I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t go off road here, though the bike handles horrendously on anything other than solid tarmac anyway. Bikes can be upgraded by winning and purchasing parts in the career and will be essential later on if we’re to stand a chance. Sadly, no option to glue our rider to the seat though – might have given me a chance!
There are also challenges in career mode that blend the free roam and race aspect together. Here, we ride around at our leisure, but dotted around the map are several challenges to win money and the like. From getting ahead of a rival, to maintaining a certain speed for a set time, these offer up good ways to get to grips with our bike outside of the races. Success here or in the career also grants us with perks. These can be used to give us a little leg up, from sturdier tyres to better cash gains for winning races. All are single use only and cost X amount of money/points to use, but tactically used they can mean the difference in 1st and 2nd. We can also use these in online races, though as of writing this the online aspect is perhaps best avoided. Not only is it hard to find a race, but in game I experienced nothing but glitches, with my opponent sinking into the floor, flying above my head or abruptly slamming into my bike and knocking me off. Hopefully things will improve as the tense racing action could be really good fun with a handful of other human players.
Despite some niggles, TT Isle of Man Ride on the Edge 2 is easily the best feeling racer I’ve played in quite some time. The sheer sense of speed and place in the thick of hurtling along the track is almost overwhelming. Some more shorter races would have been nice, and it’s all too easy to fall to the back after a single mistake, but put a bit of time into grasping the delicacies of the handling and you’ll find an incredibly satisfying racer.