Review: TT Isle of Man – Ride On the Edge 2 (Switch)

tt-isle-of-man-ride-on-the-edge-2-switch-description-charKT Racing has clearly put a Kylotonn of work into bringing TT Isle of Man – Ride On the Edge 2  ($59.99) to the Nintendo Switch and it’s truly an impressive effort on the hybrid console. The developer has recreated the recent PC and console experience perfectly in terms of complete content on the Switch with a few very obvious concessions to the lower-powered hardware. On Switch, there’s a tiny bit of texture draw-in plus some low resolution textures such as bike shadows, some of the signage, plus logos on your rider’s gear, which can all be a bit fuzzy in static shots. Despite these flaws and some long loading times, the game completely soars when in motion, particularly in docked mode. In handheld mode, the game is fine, but as a simulation that requires zen-like focus (there’s no in-race music for a reason!), every little detail needs to be seen at the best resolution available.

Where TT2 impresses constantly is in the excellent bike detail and its thrilling overall sense of speed thanks to excellent visual representation in the various camera modes and some tremendous sound design. The sheer intensity when you get to flying down a course and don’t go flying off your bike is nothing but a pure adrenaline rush, and the game will make you appreciate the art of the learning process. That said, it feels like a bit of understeer is in play on corners and you’ll crash a lot as a beginner and a great deal less (or not at all when you get better) as you get accustomed to the controls, which can by fully customized and come in a few styles from amateur to professional. Got a first or third party Switch compatible controller with a Rumble feature? DO please use that over the handheld’s Joy-Cons. The game goes from trickier to control and a bit too shaky to one where analog controls make things more manageable. The game is playable with Joy-Cons, mind you – it’s just more difficult if you stick to the standard control scheme and/or if you have the dreaded left Joy-Con drift issues some users have experienced with the handheld.

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TT Isle of Man 2 Hands-On: Lightning, Unbottled

TT2_01

Let the good times roll, indeed.

KT Racing has done quite a lot of work on TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge 2 and it’s simultaneously quite a thrill and terrifyingly good so far. Major fixes to bike handling. road surfaces, lighting, weather effects and more all add an even more realistic feel than the first game, and the greatly improved Career Mode and an all-new open world area to practice (or just take relaxing rides) in make this a pretty superior sequel.  Taking a build of the PC version out for a spin, many of the changes were amazing right from the start. Bikes all felt much better and the the ground effects were excellent overall (as in you don’t automatically go flying off your ride of choice at a jump or bump in the road). You can still wreck at high speeds, but it feels is if it’s your own fault for misjudging your speed, deliberately slamming into things, or not paying attention to the road surface.

Overall control is much more responsive as turning the bike is a lot more intuitive. In fact, the new handling model in third person views requires you to pay attention to both the driver’s positioning and the beautifully rendered road ahead of you. In first person, the game has a view where braking lifts the rider up in a realistic manner, as well as a nice optional helmet camera that adds to the immersion factor. The game is easier to get into, but NOT easy, as zen-like concentration and learning each course in the only way to master the tracks here. If your bike is wobbling and weaving from your own handling mistakes, expect to wreck, as the game demands perfection, practice, and patience.

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TT Isle of Man 2: Make or Brake Time

Keyvisual_FinalI haven’t played a TT Isle of Man game since two solid games way back on the PlayStation 2, so I’m sure I’ll wreck quite a lot while I try KT Racing’s new PS4 game TT Isle of Man 2 and guess what? I’m okay with that. I’m gathering from the videos I’ve seen that it’s not going to be a simple “jam down the pedal and go” kind of game some may want or think is coming, and to me it’s clear KT has been refining a bunch of elements over the last installment they did that should appeal to fans of the sport while getting novice players to want to go riding like the wind. Here’s a look at a few game footage trailers and a brief interview:

 

 

Both of these classic bikes are available as pre-order content across all systems by the way:

pre-order TT

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WRC 8 On Switch? Well, I’m Going to Need To Take It For A Spin, Then

WRC 8

Time to make the Switch!

WRC_8 SwitchI’m so backlogged that I haven’t even gotten to requesting the PS4 version yet (oops!), but hearing that KT Racing and Bigben Interactive’s WRC 8 has come to Nintendo’s tiny powerhouse that could REALLY has me intrigued, especially with so many realistic racers and racers with licensed cars now popping up on the console. I remember when the Wii U got ONE licensed racer and how it was good enough, but too little, too late for that console. On the Switch, it’s as if they’re popping up like dandelions and mushrooms after a rainfall. This is good, for the most part, I say.

Now, I’m not expecting the game to look EXACTLY like the other versions, but I like the sport and have played and own too many rally games on older platforms to judge it as anything but how it plays at the end of the day (old, old article here if you want a read from too many years back). I definitely like that the Switch version is portable, so that’s a plus. If the game can capture the simulation aspect well, perfect visuals will be the last thing I’m going to consider.  The Switch version is out NOW. if you’d like to hop aboard for a test drive and are a like-minded fan. With 50 teams, 14 rallies and over 100 special stages in the 2019 season, I think I’ll be happy for a long time if all is well.

-GW

Review: V-Rally 4 (PS4)

V-Rally 4Sliding sideways onto retail and digital stores for consoles and PC some 16 years (!) after the previous installment, V-Rally 4 ($59.99) attempts to capture the spirit of the series’ somewhat floaty control system while adding modern HD visuals and online play. While everything didn’t quite work out as well as it should at launch (the reason this review is later than usual), some recent patching has fixed a number of the game’s issues. That said, expect to do a good deal of car tweaking for the optimal experience.  Rally fans who want a game that demands constant fiddling with settings and plenty of pre-race practice just may find a decent to acceptable experience comes with that high level of patience the game asks for.

Developer KT Racing has made a tough off-road game that packs in a ton of content in its single player and online modes using real life cars on fictional tracks set in some very pretty locales across the globe. If you go in expecting a total pick up and play experience out f the gate, the mix of arcade and simulation elements may not quite jibe thanks to the default controls being a bit too loose (requiring the aforementioned fiddling) and the solo mode forcing you to pay to enter some races and then pay your in-game manager and crew for their efforts at keeping your small but growing garage of rides in racing shape.

V-Rally 4a

“Slide, Charlie Brown, SLIDE!” A super-light touch is key to playing this game (or else).

That said, as with the still mighty V-Rally 3, and the still surprising Dreamcast version of V-Rally 2, at some point the more dedicated players who stick with the game will indeed snap into that zen-like state, get into the game’s squirrely handling and very likely enjoy the ride. Amusingly enough, it seems the developer knew the game would frustrate some players and yep, there’s DLC out that allows a career mode boost as well as a digital guidebook to its cars and tracks. Granted, the former is completely optional and the latter should have been included as part of the price (and seems to  have been in a newer update), but these days optional buy-ins seem pretty much unavoidable in some games.

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