TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge 3 Review
There’s something I find really satisfying about racing simulators. Despite not being interested in the real-world sport, I find myself time and time again picking up titles in the genre, and many times I see company Nacon at the helm. With TT Isle Of Man: Ride on the Edge 3 (Shortened to Ride on the Edge 3 henceforth), it’s clear that the developer is passionate about all things racing, but have some much-needed improvements been made to elevate this above its previous sub-par entries?
Easily the biggest addition to the series is the “Open Roads”, which sees the career mode seamlessly integrated with an open map to freely explore. Now, Ride on the Edge 2 featured a similar mode but wasn’t connected to the main single player component. Think of it like how the Forza Horizon franchise plays: you’ll drive around a sizeable map, coming across all manner of challenges and events that you’re able to tackle as you see fit, although you can just fast travel to each one via the world map should you prefer. That said, it’s not nearly as fun as the Horizon titles, as there is nothing to see or do in the world aside from unlocking journal entries detailing various facts about the Isle of Man and its racing history.
You begin the Season Mode by selecting one of a handful of real-life racers (I chose Jamie Coward because he kind of looks like The Walking Dead’s Negan) and partake in qualifying rounds for the main event races, eventually leading to the TT event itself. You can skip these qualifiers if you’re itching to join the action with other riders, but they’re always beneficial to finish, as they grant you experience points — used to upgrade your bike's stats — as well as boost your starting position during the races.
It’s a shame that there is zero cosmetic customisation to be found for both your bike and rider. When you have titles such as MotoGP 22 that allow you to customise everything down to your rider's animations when cornering, the lack of anything here was a slight disappointment.
Ride on the Edge 3 is certainly not up to the standards of modern gaming hardware. Aside from bland environments and constant pop-in when travelling at high-speeds, the bikes themselves don’t look all that great. Whilst many racing sims can be accused of being poor in the graphics department, the vehicles themselves are often modelled with a much higher standard.
The music is just as bland as the environments, and a mundane mix of generic rock beats is all that’s on offer here. On a positive note, the bikes sound fantastic; the roar of engines and guttural gear changes were incredibly immersive. Gear changes are especially satisfying when combined with the PlayStation 5 DualSense’s haptics, with which Ride on the Edge 3 uses to great effect.
The main crux of any racing title, though, is the physics. If a game sees you coming off your bike at every corner despite the perfect line and speed, there’s something fundamentally wrong with it. Thankfully, Ride on the Edge 3 feels solid and well-balanced, and the bikes have a real sense of weight to them, which I felt really improved my enjoyment of the game.
Ride on the Edge 3 can be a tough challenge. Even with assists turned on and the A.I. difficulty turned right down, you’ll still face stiff competition. It never felt unfair, thankfully, and missing out on first place was always down to a mistake on my part (usually clipping a curb and flying headlong into some poor person's front garden). It’s a thrilling experience once you’re confident enough to increase the difficulty, with things such as bike physics and cornering feeling drastically different. If you’re looking for a bike racing title with an emphasis on aracadey gameplay, this definitely isn’t it!
With career mode being the main solo mode, it felt a little disjointed from time to time. Before each race event are time trial qualifiers that are based around different tracks. This means that when it comes to the race itself, you’ll have no prior knowledge of the course. This did keep the repetition at bay, but perhaps a smaller section of the main race could have been used for these time trials, just so we have an opportunity to get a snippet of the full track.
If you fancy a break from these events, though, the game allows you to create your own custom ones, either online or offline. Though there isn’t much in the way of options, it was a nice feature that I used now and again, mainly to adjust myself whenever I increased the difficulty.
There’s a tremendous sense of speed in Ride on the Edge 3 as you fly down the straight country lanes of the Isle of Man, particularly when you opt for the first-person helmet camera. Combined with a challenging A.I. and a weighty, realistic physics system, this is an enjoyable, if tough, racing simulator that is sure to impress fans of the genre and is definitely the best entry into the series thus far. However, those looking for a fun open-world to explore or a more arcade-like driving experience should look elsewhere, this isn’t for the faint-hearted!
TT Isle Of Man: Ride on the Edge 3 (Reviewed on PlayStation 5)
This game is good, with a few negatives.
A challenging racing simulator that may lack impressive visuals and a variety of content, but makes up for it by having a fantastic physics system, opponents that will push you to your limit, and a genuine sense of speed.