TT Isle of Man 3 Review – An Isle of Pain

TT Isle of Man 3

TT Isle of Man 3 (TTIM3) is the latest entry in the Tourist Trophy motorcycle race. Grabbing the handlebars for this installment is RaceWard Studios. This is their second motorcycle-based game with Rims Racing the first. Rims Racing split focus between racing the bike and tinkering with it to wring the last drop of performance out of it. Has their RIMS experience paid dividends with their sophomore entry? What follows is my test spin of the game.

The Isle of Man is a self-governing island that sits between Ireland and England in the Irish Sea. It is about 30 miles long and 10 miles long. It has an area of 221 square miles and comprises grasslands that surround Snaefell, a central mountain mass. The island has also served as the home of European motorcycle races since 1907.

Initially set up to showcase motorcycles known as touring machines to the public, it became known as the Tourist Trophy. The race expanded in 1911 to a 37.5 mile race that goes from the seacoast to the mountains and back. The race winds its way through towns with over 200 bends. These factors combine to make the race one of the most dangerous in the world.

TTIM3 mixes fictional tracks with real ones such as the Clypse and St. John’s courses. The main race is broken down into eight smaller ones. With these various configurations, 32 layouts are possible. The game supports dry and wet racing too. You access races via the main map and fast travel is supported too, so you don’t have to drive across the island to enter events.

Developer Focus

In the Campaign Mode you can partake in one of two classes of bikes: Supersport or Superbike. Superbike has 21 official riders while Supersport has 17. New to TTIM3 is an open world feature where you can freely explore the roads of the Isle of Man. You will tire of it quickly though as there is no other traffic and the amount of back roads is not that large.

Raceward Studios focused on the open roads concept and carrying the game physics from Rims Racing. They were more successful with the latter. Having only two bike classes to deal with made the physics task easier. The Supersport bikes are the smaller sports bike and are good for beginners. Superbikes are the main event and these beasts can push over 200 mph and more when the road straightens out.

The tight development focus means features such as customizing your look and bike are not present. You can choose from the 2022 bikes and riders, but they restrict you to a driver’s motorcycles and their livery, helmets, and leathers.

Also limited is the Career Mode. You must complete eight qualifying and eight unofficial Race Events before you can do the official races. These qualifying events are confusing, though. You qualify on one track and then race a totally different one without the benefit of a practice session. If you finish well, you gain EXP and bike upgrade points. These allow to increase your rider level and upgrade your bike. The bike upgrades strike the right balance. They make significant performance improvements without being too complicated.

TT Isle of Man 3 Handles Well

Graphically, the game looks pretty good, but there is noticeable pop-in which is disappointing. There is also limited options to adjust gameplay. Graphically, there is no mode to favor performance over visuals. Sadly, there is no VR option either. Though playing this game in Cinema Mode with the PSVR 2 is quite the rush!

So far the game has not impressed but we find its saving grace once you get on a bike. The handling and the physics of the bikes is superb. The bikes are difficult to control, a problem exacerbated by the tightness of the roads, especially through towns, but they feel good. They handle the way a bike should and you can feel the weight.

The PS5 DualSense’s haptics come to the fore again. The adaptive triggers have resistance for the brakes and throttle. Not the best implementation, though. Most gratifying is the whine that comes from the controller’s speaker as you accelerate. This whine is coupled with an actual kick of the controller as you progress through the gears.

The bike responds to the track surface properly so it will bob and weave in response to the undulations of the track surface. The bike feels planted and not floaty, a common problem in motorcycle games. To do well, you need to know the tracks very well so that you have the proper inputs to avoid crashing. When you get it right, whisking through a town on the tight, twisty streets is quite exhilarating.Raceward Studios have done their best to make the game accessible to rookies. There is an on-screen driving aids menu that can be navigated with the directional pad while in race. You can choose between ABS, traction control, electronic braking, and anti-wheelie settings.

Good Core, Needs More Options

The game also supports multiplayer racing, including public and private lobbies. There is cross-generational play but not cross-platform. An esport series is also promised shortly after launch.TTIM3 comes across as a little bare-boned in options, but it does a superior job with the core gameplay. Another plus is the island setting of the game makes the races unique.

This is a challenging game that properly rewards dedicated players with its excellent bike handling physics.

*** PS5 code provided by the publisher ***

The Good

  • DualSense haptics and audio really make the gear shifts fun
  • Excellent bike handling and physics
  • Unique island setting

The Bad

  • Limited options to customize the game
  • Confusing career mode
  • Noticeable graphical pop-in