TT Isle of Man brings the thrill of road racing to your living room, with all 37.73 Miles of the legendary Snaefell Mountain course replicated for you to blast through on 2 wheels. Or more likely, crash. Again, and again, and again.
TT Isle of Man offers players the chance to take on the worlds most infamous motorcycle race, on some of the fastest machines available today. TT Isle of Man brings the world of road racing to the virtual space, in a way no title has. Seriously, why has it taken this long for a title based around the TT to come? as one of the worlds most prestigious motor races, you’d think it would have been given more of a limelight. Hey ho, we have it now, so whats this all about then?
TT Isle of Man offers players a standard selection of game modes, with a full career mode, time attack, quick race, and multiplayer all available for players to tackle on their choice of either Supersport, or superbikes. The game modes are small and predicable selection, but offer all that is expected, and really, all that is needed. The Career mode is a little lacking in substance, as it sees you working your way through events leading to the TT, and gives you the chance to pick your first bike, and then earn money, to buy more bikes.
That’s really all the progression on offer here, alongside some discounts to help you buy your new toys a little bit faster. It’s a shame, it would be nice to see something like the Career mode for WRC 7 implemented, with you able to work you way through teams and bike classes as you progress through the career, to really add some progression and story. Time Attack is your standard haven for speed freaks who love topping leader-boards, with quick race serving as an arena for those wishing to hop into some racing at their own pace. The multiplayer servers offer the chance to get online with other players head to head, but is ultimately rather limited.
The game features bikes from some of the worlds most prominent brands, all set up in the style of some of the TT’s most famous competitors. John McGuinness’ Honda, Ian Hutchinson’s BMW, they’re all there. It’s just a shame that the game limits you to only 2 bike classes, when the TT has numerous others that would make fantastic features. The torque packed electric bikes, sidecars, and smaller CC classes are all missing from the game, which is a real shame. There is a nice difference between the two classes, as there is in real life, but it would be nice for there to be more class depth. For me, that’s where the real fun and challenge can be added into the title, by showcasing just how different bikes can be, despite often looking very much alike.
To go with the somewhat disappointing selection of bikes, is a rather tiny selection of tracks. Yes, the game is based around the TT, so as you can imagine the Snaefell Mountain course is the game’s pride and joy. Sadly, a lot of the events are sections of the TT course, or take place on fictional circuits. It would be great to see events like the North West 200 and Ulster GP added in any future titles, to round the game out as more of a road racing title, which it truly deserves to be. The fictional tracks aren’t all bad mind, and offer some unique racing and can be quite challenging in parts, a testament to the studios design abilities, It would just be nice to have a little more real-world selection.
The bikes are lovingly re-created, and really shows that the team have done their research going into this title. The Snaefell Mountain course is also very well re-created, with huge walls of trees, vast fields, and dangerously close street lights all placed to give the player a fantastic sense of setting. It really does wonders. The game is no graphical powerhouse, no. You’re not going to be getting Forza Motorsport 7 graphics here, but it wouldn’t be unfair to say they’re on par with the studios other big racer, WRC 7. The graphics are by no means flawless, there’s some tearing here and there, and the textures can be a little iffy at times, but it’s perfectly passable, and really doesn’t take away from the sense of screaming through the trees just shy of 200 mph, inches from disaster.
It’s the sense of speed where this game really shines, and boy does it shine. The game’s helmet cam offers an incredible sense of speed, with your rider hunkered down behind the windscreen as you blast through the mountains and brush scarily close to the wall in search of that magical lap time. the way the trees blow past you really helps to make the game an experience, one which does get a little bit addicting.
The whole package, while not being the worst title graphically, is wrapped up in a package that really doesn’t do it justice. The interface is clunky to say the least, and comes across as little more than an afterthought. It keeps to the black and yellow theme of the TT branding, but looks a little dated. The minimalist HUD when riding is appreciated, but again, looks rather dated. The menus get rather messy rather quickly, and often try to cram too much into a tight space. Giving everything a little more space, and using multiple slides would really free up the screen, and give everything a much nicer feel. Less is often, more after all. The package isn’t fully optimised either, with hints of latency and tearing coming through from time to time.
Despite these drawbacks, the gameplay is actually incredibly solid. It’s sadly the case that bikes don’t transfer over to control with a controller the way that the car does. That does not mean that TT Isle of Man controls horribly. In fact it is quite the opposite. The title offers players an extraordinary amount of control, with levels of ABS, Traction Control, rider weight shift and more all adjustable, allowing players to enter at any level of capability. The game does a good job of illustrating the way bikes handle compared to cars, Putting an emphasis on smooth, flowing movements and control application, as opposed to the more aggressive and snappy way that you can drive a car in some cases, and really does a stellar job of showcasing the differences between the disciplines.
The way you ride a supersport and a superbike are both different, and just further shows how it’s a shame there aren’t more classes of bike in the title. The worst has to be the force feedback, with gives next to no warning of loss of traction, and often informs you too late that you’re about to go hurtling into a wall. Despite this, the gameplay is thoroughly enjoyable, and offers players a challenge, which they can tailor to themselves. Sadly there’s little motivation to do so, with nothing offered for reducing any of the settings to create the more authentic experience
All in all, TT Isle of Man is a great first step for what has the potential to become a stellar franchise should the team chose to make it so. The gameplay is thoroughly enjoyable if not somewhat stale after a while. It would be nice to see more real world road courses and more classes of motorcycle added to really build the title into a solid offering. It’s good, but there just isn’t enough to keep me coming back.