July 3, 2022

TT Isle of Man Game Review

I am not good at racing games. I already thought this, but after playing this game it became clear exactly how bad I actually am. I went through the seven stages of grief while playing this game, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. The story below is to poke fun at my own attitude at the beginning, because (now) I actually do like this game think it’s fun.

Denial

After watching the cinematic opening of a racer speeding through the beautiful landscape, I was hyped up and ready to race a motorbike through the Isle and live out my inner speed-demon dreams! Then the tutorial happened.

While learning the controls, I couldn’t believe how many times I was crashing into things and falling off of the bike. It couldn’t be me, right? It was the game…right? Wrong. I just didn’t want to admit it.

 

Pain

The first two races I felt a pain in my gut with every turn, over-correction, and the resulting crashes. I suddenly felt the guilt of letting other racing games hold my hand and course-correct me. What’s going on? Why am I crashing so much? Why didn’t I prepare myself for this? What even IS gaming? I kept getting frustrated, cursing myself, cursing at the character, cursing the game, which led to the next stage:

Anger

During the beginning of the third quick race, an achievement had popped up with the title “Fall Guy”. You earn it after falling off of your bike 10 times. I handed my laughing husband the controller out of spite to let him try it. He was laughing the entire time but acknowledged that it was not as easy as he thought. When he handed the controller back, I had turned into a mumbling blob of frustration and occasional insults at this point. I honestly had been expecting a much easier “spoon-feed me the win” game.

Reflection

As I lay in bed that night, having given up on the idea of liking this game, I took into account that I had only spent an hour on it after speeding through the tutorial as fast as possible. I had expected it to be easy and had quickly judged it, based on my own inability to do well. I sighed and decided to forget everything and start with fresh eyes the next day.

The Upward Turn

Speed is key in a lot of racing games, but in this one, it’s all about balance and not being an idiot. There are markers (you can turn them on or off in the settings) that tell you if you’re going too fast to make it around the turn. I did better than I had before, placing third to last instead of dead last and a full minute behind, and decided to start the career mode.

Career mode lets you customize the colors on your driver’s suit, your driver’s name, and even create a nickname if you wish. You then get to choose one of 76 nationalities to race under. There isn’t a facial customization feature, which would be pointless since they all wear helmets the entire time anyway.

The next step is choosing a bike. You start out with 40,000£ and have eight brands to potentially choose from. A few are on the high-end side of things and will not allow you purchase them right away, and some need to be unlocked through racing. The latter is a point of confusion for me that I will explain in a below.

The brands are:

  • BMW
  • EBR
  • Honda
  • Kawasaki
  • Norton
  • Suter
  • Triumph
  • Yamaha

I chose Kawasaki, no particular reason, I just wanted to try it. The next bike to buy from them can only be unlocked by racing in an event sponsored by them. After a few races, I joined one. Nowhere does it specify that you have to get a certain place in order to unlock this bike, so I got last (again, zero skills but I’m working on it) but it didn’t unlock.

If it had said “must place in the top three to unlock” I would’ve understood why I didn’t get it. I plan on continuing to race and see if it’s something that I missed or a different event, but I couldn’t take place in the next Kawasaki race because I didn’t have the bike needed to meet the standards of the event.

Reconstruction

I had started to actually use my brain to race, which I should’ve been doing the entire time, and guess what? I actually placed fourth! I would’ve placed third, but I crashed on the last curve and it let the other NPC pass me. I’ve now been getting between fourth and sixth place consistently, I need to go back and learn how to take curves better. I also have to get over the issue of over-correcting when I get out of a turn, but I’m getting better at it.

Acceptance

I’ve fully accepted that I am terrible at racing games, but I am starting to learn and look at everything in a critical way. This is not Mario Kart, and I can’t just gun it and drift around tight corners. I have to race like I would in real life. Actually, I need to race like a professional would because I would’ve died by now because of all the crashes I’d have been in.

The more I play this game, the more and more I like it. I haven’t tried racing against other players yet, I need to stop crashing constantly first.

 

The tutorial is clear and understandable, and the character’s movements and bikes do mimic the lean and turns of the real Isle of Man races.

The controls are actually very realistic in that, if you swerve or over-correct, you’re going to crash. If you don’t slow down for that turn, you are going to crash into the wall. Turn too much? You’re going to fall off of your bike.

Playing this again the next day for a few hours made a world of a difference for me. I actually took the time to learn what I was doing wrong, try something different, and think ahead about the track. I paid attention to the curves and turns and tried to copy what the NPCs were doing.

You have the ability to customize button layout, difficulty, and the UI in the settings.

The only two things about this game that I wish they would improve are the graphics and the loading screens. The graphics aren’t bad, but coming out on consoles that can process 4K graphics now, it just doesn’t hold up in my mind. The loading screens sometimes took close to the time as the ones in Skyrim. Not quite as long, but it was definitely a wait.

While I’m racing, everything close to my character is in 3D. It’s not super crisp detailing, but there’s depth. When you look out farther ahead, everything seems flat until you get closer, and the landscape in the distance seems almost cartoonish to me. It’s not terrible, but it seems like great graphics for a game that released a year ago, not something that just came out in 2018.

I think anyone who enjoys racing games and is better at it than me (aka everyone), would enjoy this game. It’s fun, the tracks will test you, and the overall controls are simple and easy.

YouTube player

 


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  • 8/10
    Overall - 8/10
8/10

Summary

The game is fun, the driving is realistic, and the UI is easy to understand. The graphics are behind the other games releasing in 2018, a few of the ‘requirements’ to unlock other bikes aren’t clear, and the loading screens take a while.

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