There’s something about the freedom of being on the open road on a motorcycle with nothing but two wheels and a seat — so to speak — between you and the pavement below. It’s a feeling that’s not only hard to describe but hard to replicate, especially in the video game world. TT Isle of Man 2 attempts to do just that and the result is an enjoyable experience.
Tough to tackle
When you first load up TT Isle of Man 2, you’re going to be prompted to take part in the game’s tutorial. While I’m usually not one for tutorials, this is a game that I highly recommend doing it.
There’s a steep learning curve with this game as you’ll find your self being thrown from your bike over and over again if you don’t take the time to learn the mechanics. The controls can be quite tough to tame due to the various settings at your disposal, and even on Amateur controls, you can still struggle with handling.
The brakes are managed with the LT (L2) and A(X) buttons and require precise use to keep your bike upright. Circling back to handling, there are options for dead zones and sensitivity to help with your control. The advertised “gyroscopic effect” that’s supposed to give you more precise handling doesn’t really feel like anything groundbreaking. It feels more like a system that many will struggle with no matter what you ride, especially with how quick the game is to throw you from your bike.
At the slightest mistake or miscue, riders will dump their bikes, sending themselves smacking the ground below. Whether it’s a slight change in terrain or barely clipping a curb, anything can see your bike or rider go sliding down the road. That’s not necessarily a knock on the game because motorcycles should wreck or wipe at 125MPH when you clip a curb or overcorrect. Just don’t be surprised if you find yourself frustrated after dumping 10 times in 20 seconds.
The main mode in TT Isle of Man 2 is the career mode. For the most part, it’s your standard racing career but there are some nice touches that keep it entertaining.
You start doing a time trial where you ride to get the attention of a team. After the first race, you’ll pick your team based on the incentives their offering and, if you’re like me, the motorcycle brand you’ll support.
After picking your team you’ll see all the events on a calendar screen that can seem a bit overwhelming, but it’s really not that bad. The events are separated nicely based on difficulty, allowing players to pick the events they can best handle.
Throughout your events, you’ll earn rewards that decrease if you find yourself restarting races after a mistake or two. From perks like warmed tires at the start to extra cash, the rewards you earn will help you improve as you move forward. The money you earn can be used to either upgrade your ride or buy new bikes altogether.
If you want to stay away from career mode for a bit, the game offers both offline and online multiplayer, quick races, time trials and even a free roam mode to get used to the various roads. Unfortunately, though, free roam is limited to just Ireland.
From a presentation standpoint, the game looks and sounds great. Environments are well crafted and the motorcycles look nearly photorealistic.
One thing to note is that you shouldn’t go into the game expecting any sort of broadcast elements or anything of the sort. This game places you in the role of a rider, and that’s the experience you’ll get. The biggest problem with everything are the atrocious load times. Some races took upwards of 60-90 seconds just to get in to.
TT Isle of Man 2 is a game for the purist of motorcycle racing fans. The gameplay can be as difficult to grasp as riding a real motorcycle, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a fun ride. It’s just hard to see a lot of people sticking around for the steep learning curve and terribly long load times. There’s also the question of whether or not the career mode and limited course selection can keep fans coming back for another ride.
TT Isle of Man 2 is a game for the purist of motorcycle racing fans. The gameplay can be as difficult to grasp as riding a real motorcycle, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a fun ride.