Timing is everything with sports titles and TT Isle of Man : Ride on the Edge 3 has managed to land right in the middle of the road racing season. With the marquee event mere weeks away, Raceward Studios has produced a challenging and rewarding racer that makes the Isle of Man itself the star attraction.
There’s a risk with sports games that they become stale and deal in incremental progress. TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge 3 manages to throw something of a surprise. Rather than just restricting your time to the show-piece and a handful of other, fantasy tracks, the other circuits on the island are represented. This is great for any fan of the road course season and it helps flesh out the location’s many roads.
Anyone familiar with the Snaefell Mountain course now has other diversions to get comfy with and it does help widen the digital tourism angle these games have accidentally traded in. There’s still a chunk of the scenery left undiscovered but there’s a nice sense of gaps being filled. Free roaming the island helps hammer home how much new ground is covered.
You’re certainly encouraged to explore in the season mode. There are events dotted around the map and, whilst you can fast travel between them, they need to be found first. There is a handful of tourist titbits to read but the majority of things to discover are race or time trial events. One-on-one events take place over shorter sections whilst the time trials have a tendency to take involve full circuits. As a result these events can take a while to complete. There’s no flashbacks to dish out second chances so it pays to learn these mammoth tracks and keep it clean.
The rider line-up is comparable to the last effort. The usual faces return from the likes of Conor Cummins, Ian Hutchinson and favourite Michael Dunlop. There’s 25 in total which is a sizeable amount. They all appear to pull double duty for both Supersport and Superbikes so you can pick them for each respective season. The lack of sidecars and electric machines is disappointing but most bases are covered with just the two categories.
The end goal is to appear at the TT itself. You can mainline qualifying races for a quicker journey but the supplementary events are worthwhile. Participation in events earns you upgrade points to improve your bike’s many components. It’s nice to have a sense of progression in machinery, even if it does feel a little rudimentary. I earned enough points in a season to max out a Supersport bike and the difference in performance was pretty staggering.
I enjoyed most of the events with only the task challenges providing me with minor bother. You need to beat all three objectives in the event and sometimes they demand you beat a number of competitors off the starting grid. I struggle to nail those but there’s enough on the map to venture elsewhere for precious upgrades. Outside of the new parts, you can tinker with bike settings to a granular degree. You also have the option to create custom events, as well as participate in regular daily challenges. There’s plenty to do, although the event types have a fairly small pool to draw from.
It handles fairly well. There’s the three levels of physics to tinker with and, predictably, beginner allows for more leniency when it comes to mounting pavements and minor scrapes. Your bike will get unsettled but it’s salvageable. Unfortunately, the camera angles all appear a little too close for my liking. I prefer see further so I can read the road ahead. There’s too many corners on these tracks for me to really know them. As a result, I’m relying on the riding line to get my bearings.
It’s still incredibly engrossing. Much like a rally stage, I’m concentrating fully to maintain speed whilst giving me just enough room not to come a cropper. That’s always been the appeal to me and, as someone who will never take to the mountain course for real, this is a great alternative. They do step into the realm of fantasy with weather effects. The TT doesn’t run under inclement conditions for safety but TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge 3 loves to race on wet tarmac. The added complication of a slick surface can heighten the challenge although weather does not change dynamically.
Visually, I don’t think this holds up as well as the predecessors. Pop-in is a lot more prevalent and the closer camera perspective appears to hamper performance at select points of the circuit. It’s still impressive to see so much of the landscape rendered but seeing the distance visibly shift in detail is jarring. The tarmac and roadside details are intricately recreated and the bikes are all sharply rendered. It’s a shame the polish doesn’t cover all blemishes. For all the weather effects, the mountain sections show a lack of fog and that probably puts the view distance into stark focus.
Sound fares pretty well with furniture of an public road whooshing by at a brisk clip. The bike engines roar as you’d expect with gear changes thumping the vibration on the controller and sometimes unsettling your rider. By default, any crashes and scrapes you get into are piped out of the controller speaker. I’ve always preferred how tinny that can sound and it really helps sell the agony of hitting someone’s garden wall. There’s a rock soundtrack accompanying all this but I found it largely forgettable.
The minor moans about performance aside, TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge 3 is a demanding and rewarding title. The roads still look impressive to traverse and the sheer mileage on display is enough to get me excited. Career mode has a solid sense of progression to it and just roaming the island’s many roads can lead to some great digital tourism. I do wish for more event types and categories of machinery but this is already a grand package.
+ Handling remains customisable and challenging.
+ Plenty of new faces to ride as.
+ The career mode really encourages exploration and has a solid progression.
- A forgettable rock soundtrack.
- Longer races might have you longing for flashbacks.
- Could do with more event types.