What can I say about Pro Cycling Manager 2012 that I didn’t really talk about when I reviewed last years edition? Not much to be honest, there are a few improvements, but at heart it is largely the same game as last year.
There main addition is the Armada Mode which takes some inspiration from FIFA’s Ultimate Team game mode. You create a team and are dealt a hand of cards full of riders and equipment. As you complete races against your rivals you earn more cards, and if you wish you can purchase card packs with in-game earned coins or with your hard-earned cash. It is nice to see the game branching into new directions, but as I really don’t get along with the 3D races, this mode isn’t for me.
The 3D races aren’t much improved over last year really, the interface remains awkward to use and it doesn’t look too impressive to be brutally honest. If you really want to dig deep into micro-managing your team, you will want to get to grips with this mode, otherwise it is probably best to leave it alone. The lack of a tutorial to the 3D races doesn’t help either.
While 3D stage races are a let down, taking part in velodrome races provides a welcome change of pace from the management side of things. Here you take direct control of a rider in a variety of disciplines that feature in track racing. There is limited depth to these modes, you manage your energy output with the arrow keys on the keyboard and smash the space key to unleash a big sprint.
The management side of the game is for the most part the same we what we saw in last years edition, though some interface options have been cleared up and made more user friendly. You now have a better idea of your sponsors confidence, and crucially when running a custom team you get a monthly cash input from your sponsors, so you don’t risk going bankrupt if you don’t win prize money. However, sponsors for custom teams still have unrealistic expectations for team performance. Many of the targets for stage victories set cannot be achieved as a custom team doesn’t have the ranking to be accepted into many events that your sponsor wants to target.
Some of the changes are worth mentioning though, a small change is that you can now click on a riders name in a news message, but more important, you can easily set your riders to train for various event through the schedule menu.
PCM 2012 improves in some small ways on last years edition and has a welcome addition with the Armada mode, but most of the points I raised last year are still valid, you don’t get enough feedback in the news messages and the teams and riders aren’t all licensed.
If you decide to try your luck with PCM, I recommend you blast through races in Quick Simulation mode, set your riders up with some team orders before the race and get a report at the end. Detailed Simulation allows a bit more tweaking of tactics before the stage, and you get a running text commentary of events. The Detailed Simulation mode though requires a makeover, you can’t make any changes to team orders and tactics during the stage in any way.
Despite the improvements over last year, I can’t especially recommend Pro Cycling Manager 2012, it remains a niche product and fails to provide a consistently enjoyable experience.
Verdict – Off Target
Platforms Available/Reviewed – PC
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