A Good Game For Motorbike Enthusiasts
While TT Isle Of Man is the perfect indulgence for motorbike enthusiasts, as a casual player TT Isle Of Man is quite the alienating experience. The impressive Snaefell Mountain Course is the main attraction here though and the 37 mile course has been recreated in full with an impressive array of bikes and riders available from the start too. A career mode and a plethora of custom tracks help to boost the longevity of the game but the lack of content and replayability holds the game back from being the great title it so easily could be.
With all 37.73 miles of the Snaefell Mountain Course accurately recreated, it’ll take a good 30 minutes to get round the entire course. The numerous tracks accompanying Snaefell are both challenging and well designed too, making good use of speed and harsh, tight corners for a thrilling and challenging ride. Once you’re done messing around with the various courses in solo play and online play, there’s a career mode here which sees you take on the persona of a custom character (We named ours Bikey McYamaha) as you attempt to rise up the ranks by taking part in a series of races chosen via emails. The visual design of these menus mirrors that seen in other sport titles like Fifa but the lack of options and versatility here is a little disappointing, holding this back from being a more engrossing motorcycle experience.
Helmet View is certainly recommended for the most authentic experience
Visually, the game looks great. Sunlight reflects off the road and rain-soaked segments of Snaefell Mountain boast an incredible burst of glare that really makes the course feel authentic. At high speeds there’s a slight blur added to the scenery that isn’t overbearing but enough to make it feel like you really are ripping up the course at crazy speeds. While the buildings and various objects along the road are generally well designed, the spectators are poorly rendered, repeating the same stock animation in janky fashion which is a bit of a shame.
Even on the easiest settings, the gameplay is tough to say the least. You’ll regularly fall off your bike, corners need to be meticulously navigated and unpredictable bumps and drops in the road make for a really tough, unforgiving experience. There are various options to make life easier though including automatic gear changes, a handy road guide advising you the best course to take on the road and when to slow down on corners as well as reducing the difficulty of AI players. Those expecting to jump straight into this after the brief tutorial and play perfectly will certainly be left disappointed. A significant amount of time is needed to learn the intricacies of each bike, rider and course and even then, one slip-up in a race could be the difference between winning and finishing last.
Riding Snaefell Mountain will be the main attraction here and the entire course has been recreated perfectly
While others have lamented the tough mechanics for the bike and riders, this isn’t actually the main issue with TT Isle Of Man. While the gruelling mechanics of the game can be passed off as an authentic motorbike experience, the physics and general AI for computer controlled players destroys any realism the game builds. Knocking into riders at 200Km/h will regularly see you fly off your bike while the other rider barely deviates from their pre-plotted path. Similarly, if you wind up in front of a rider at the start of a race and slam on the brakes, they’ll either knock into you or abruptly stop until you move, not bothering to shift gears and drive around you. It’s these small moments that shatter the realism TT Isle Of Man tries so hard to strive toward but to be fair, shifting the camera to “helmet view” does obscure your vision, hiding some of these issues.
For all its flaws, TT Isle Of Man is an adrenaline-soaked, incredible experience and arguably the best motorbike game on the market today. The eye-watering high speeds are realistically depicted and the way each bike turns and handles feels very similar to their real world counterparts. In video game format this translates to quite the niche game which does make it difficult to recommend at the full retail price to anyone but die-hard motorbike fans.
The lighting effects and track layout are impressively rendered
How much enjoyment you’ll get out of TT Isle Of Man will depend on how invested you are in motorcycling and how realistic you want your motorbike experience. The steep learning curve and lack of features do seriously hinder what’s otherwise an impressively crafted biking experience. For those who have never ridden a motorbike, the mechanics and physics will be visibly janky and awkward to how most games are presented which will put off a lot of people but for those niche fans who enjoy biking and motorbike games, there’s nothing quite like TT Isle Of Man. Is it enough to justify the asking price? At full retail cost it’s hard to recommend but at a significant price drop, this is one motorbike game worth picking up and taking the time to learn, even if it is lacking in features.
Verdict - 6/10