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★★★☆☆

“Tt ride on the edge. Ps4 bike racing on the isle of man.”

Written on: 10/03/2018 by diablo944 (25 reviews written)

There is good and bad in this game. Some really good, but equally some higely disappointing things too. Whether this game will suit you personally is wholly dependent on what it is you want from it. For me, the only aspect I have any interest in in reality is the isle of man. I have ridden that road at so many TT's that I almost know it like the back of my hand. Except I don't. There are still a number of bends that I doubt myself on. So for me, its the chance to ride around the circuit whenever I feel like it. For anyone thinking they can learn the circuit using this game? You can, but with a huge caveat that will come later.

So lets do the good first. The TT course is replicated really well. There are some issues, notably that some of the dips and troughs dont feel like they are replicated well, so much so there are a few moments where it can catch you out as you expect something that doesnt seem to happen. There is also an issue with some sections not having the dividing white line down the centre of the road, a really obvious thing, especially noticable on the run from ginger hall to ramsey where a huge section has no road markings. It might sound like nothing, but at speed, a grey road surface looks wrong when in reality you have white lines to assist you in keeping the bike where you want it. That said, if thats all I am picking on it for, it means the actual circuit is pretty faithfully reproduced. There have been complaints by some about fences looking like they were lazily done and spectators being less than stellar implementations, but the fact is that you will be racing along at speeds in excess of 170 mph for the majority of the time, so these things should be taken with a pinch of salt, they are a bit ropey, but if you are riding well they dont really matter.

That brings us to 'riding well'. I cant ride it smoothly in this game. The game was delayed when the devs realised their bike handling was off. Its still off, and by a fair margin too. I find bike games in general are nowhere near as good as car games. They are always way too twitchy and this game is not an exception to that rule. The slightest movement results in a twitchy turn and getting anywhere near smooth takes a lot of practice. I found this almost instantly and went into the settings menu to soften the gamepad response. Guess what? No facility to change sensitivity was present. You get a twitchy bike from the get go and no way to reduce that twitchyness except practice. Its still not a deal breaker, but it is a bit of a let down.

Keep in mind, my only interest in this game is the TT circuit. There are actually around 10 circuits in the game, but the one the game is named after is my only real interest, thats 37 miles and change of road racing circuit. The fact that you can race those 37 miles in one go is fantastic and is an achievement that the devs deserve to get some respect for. There was a game on the ps2 many mooms ago dod similar, but the quality of the circuit here is worlds apart. So for their modelling of the circuit, its a big well done, easily a nine out of ten there.

The bike selection is iffy though. Only two classes here. 600 and 1000cc. Then the selection within those classes is woefully small too. Multiple cbr 600s, kawasaki 600s, etc. Only around five manufacturers involved. This wouldnt be so bad if they didnt all handle so similarly. I would love to see so,e slower bikes, maybe even a car. In fact a car would be awesome and would prevent some of the intense screen tilts when switching direction. But the fact is we get a few bikes in two classes and thats your lot.

The sound is pretty abysmal if I am honest. Windnoise is ok, gravel sounds are there too, but the engine sounds are less than spectacular. There is some echo to the sound which is not good, as in it feels like its in a hollow room in a building rather than out in the open air. Somebody compared the engine/exhaust note as being like a chainsaw in a forest and they are not far off with that comparison, it is average.

There are four views, off bike close (so you can see bike and rider like an arcade game. Off bike far, same but further back. Screen view, which means you can see the bikes fly screen, and empty, so all you see is the open road. I tried all of them, but the off bike views are not good. Every movement of the stick makes the rider shuffle of the seat, something tht a real rider wouldnt do. It makes for a rider in the throws of st vitus dance and does nothing for the game apart from irritate, so both those views are a no no. Thats not a big loss to me as I want a more 'real world' view anyway. So I tried the screen view, thats a no too as the screen takes away some visibilty that you really need at speed. Leaving only the open view as a real option. Unfortunately even that view isnt perfect. Instead of the forward view being locked to a riders eyeline, it feels like its locked to the bikes nose. I think this is why the dips dont show because the bike is parallel to the road and as a consequence it masks the dips. It feels dated on that front. That said, there will always be limitations to any bike game that isnt vr.

Lets get back to the handling. If you can learn the course (or already know it) and can achieve smooth control, then its not always bad. This game rewards speed where the handling feels ok. But slow bends or mistake corrections show that twitchness with a vengeance often hurling you from one side of the track to the other in a millisecond with no hope of catching it. Any 'right, left right' moments will cause your rider pain. Its all too easy to over correct and crash. Such crashes show no damage to rider or bike. Even during a crash the effects in play are very minimal in terms of animations. Rag doll physics is alien to this game, and the bike in even the worst incident stays solidly in one piece. Its almost like having a solid steel replica and throwing it up the road in terms of effects on the bike when you come off. It does not change one bit. Then there is the matter of the game not always bothering to even show you came off, electing instead to just put you back on the track. Its a disconcerting feeling, made worse by the randomness of the reset to track. It would be batter if it did just one, either resets, or crashes. But the constant mixes doesnt help the game flow. Admittedly, we shouldnt be crashing, but when we do its pot luck what happens next. It feels very much like a placeholder. By that, I mean its like whoever did the work put in this half baked animation for a demonstration of where the 'real crash effect' would be put in the final game. I can almost hear them explaining it and the mixed results of animation this time, none next only further highlight this. It would almost be forgivable on a ps2, maybe, and only maybe, even a ps3. But a ps4 in 2018? Nope.

When racing, of you come up on another rider, they get in the way, change lane position randomly and generally show that there is no AI at play. They are dump npc's. So dumb I had stopped after a crash and gone to make a brew only to see another rider crash into my bike even though it was at a very slow section of the track. The npc made no effort to avoid me. But worse is the fact that the roder in front also does the shifting off the seat thing and isnt much smoother in his riding that a new starter on the game, so being behind another bike is more unpleasant than it should be as they jump around all over the place.

Moving on, the menu is pretty awful too. In this day and age most game menus are similar and the annoyances are fairly rare. With this game you find that making a selection needs a confirmation 'x' but immediately you do it it the game changes the option then jumps back to the 'menu select options' rather than staying in the me u you were changing things in. Meaning for example, if you wanted to change mph to kph, and put the racing line on you would have to do each individually. So navigate to the gameplay menu and select it. Change mph and Select confirm, then dink, its done it amd jumped out of the screen you were on, so you now have to select the gameplay menu again, change racing line and so on. Every time dumping you back out. That gets really tiresome really quick. Its like the menu was made by someone who had never seen another menu in a game before.

First run after installation? The demo os unskippable so you end up listening to the woman wittering on with that awful script they used for the demo on youtube. I knew how long that was so turned the tv over and went to watch something else rather than have to listen to it all over again. Note to developers, in a racing game, where all you want to do is race, dont do a fixed speech to get people excited and make it a forced watch. Many of us are already looking forward to the game and that intro is wasting time. Thankfully (maybe in the initial game update via the net) we got to skip it after that first time.

It sounds like I hate this game, but the ta t is, its the isle of man TT course in its entirety. That alone gives it many brownie points. All the other stuff is annoying but bearable. The handling? Still not sure, but time will tell.

Its not a cheap game, but equally its not a AAA game in its presentation or in use. If the tt circuit wasnt here, or it was done poorly, I would not bother with this game and it would be lucky to get two stars. Nor would it be worth anywhere near the asking price. But the circuit is there and its a pretty faithful version too, so if you want the tt course, this is your title.

Thats a lot of negatives, and there are more I am sure.but it is the only fish in the pond when it comes to the isle of man tt on ps4. Those of us who k ow the road will likely still buy it, and if thats what you want then its not disappointing. Anybody else who has no such affinity with the circuit will likely be very disappointed.

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