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I have always been a fan of Sports Management games ever since growing up with Championship Manager on the Amiga. I saw this game advertised on Steam and decided I would like a look at it.
Having downloaded it through Steam I cannot comment on the box, however I will assume that the manual is the same as the PDF one available through Steam.
The game looks good from the start with bright colours and predominantly yellow (it is after all endorsed by the Tour de France). The initial menu takes you through the options well and directs you to the right starting point.
Gameplay is split into 2 parts, the management of your team and the actual races. The management section feels weighty with a host of options including purchasing equipment, organising training camps, selecting riders for events, arranging sponsorship and sorting your team roster. As well as this there are all the league tables and performance graphs that you would expect from a sports management sim. One complaint in this section is that the menus are rather hidden away at the top and do not always contain what you might expect, however within a game or 2 you are soon used to it.
The second game section is the 3D race engine. This is an excellent graphical representation of the race with all the riders being modelled individually with the correct team kits and even different bikes. It looks stunning and there are a variety of camera angles for you to enjoy. The best part about this section is that you can influence the race. It is not simply a case of giving your riders pre race instructions and then sitting back to see what happens, you can interact with each rider in your team, telling them to make a break or conserve energy and even asking them to sprint.
I won't go into all the technical instructions that you can offer your riders but suffice to say they are vast. You can ask a rider to follow another or to chase down breaks, you can even tell a rider to go pick up refil drinks for others.
For me this is the section of the game that is most enjoyable as you try to work out a strategy to take 1 of your riders to the line.
If this isn't your thing you can simply simulate the races with you giving each rider a pre race instruction, but surely that's not as much fun!
Overall I found this game had a steep learning curve (definitely one to read the manual first) but once you get into there is such a plethora of options that you get immersed in no time at all.
This isn't the best idea in the world but if you enjoy cycling, then you will like this. The graphics are really good with the cyclists having a life like look. This isn't for the hardcore players but for the people who like using there brains. The game play is based on making the cyclists you control, use more or less energy, you can make them hang back for water or go around other opponent's. The sound during game play is very annoying, because of the commentator constantly saying "Oh and he passes." every ten seconds and with a terrible soundtrack it just rubs salt into the wounds. This game really wasn't for me but I can see what the creators Ascaron, where going for. My advice is keep this game away from the little ones as they will get bored, an only buy it if you are interested in cycling or manager games.
Become the general manager of a cycling team for the season and take charge of racing events, recruiting new team members, etc.