I haven’t played an entry in the Pro Cycling Manager series since I delivered a Verdict on the 2012 edition. With Le Tour having started this past weekend in Yorkshire, I thought I would take a little dip into the new 2014 edition.
While there have been some nice changes to the career mode since my last experience with this series, the 3D races are still a big turn off. While I appreciate that the developer’s don’t have a budget to match that of EA with the FIFA series, the 3D races are very disappointing to look at while the in-race interface remains a mess.
The career mode sees a big improvement over the 2012 edition with a completely revised user interface that makes the management experience somewhat enjoyable. Navigating around the objectives from your sponsors to setting up training plans for your riders is much smoother than before, but it still leaves something to be desired.
There are small bugbears which still get me. When setting up training camps for your riders, you would expect to be able to immediately view their specialism so you can place them on the right training camp…sadly you can’t. Even simple things like managing your inbox can become a chore as it gets filled with some much superfluous nonsense, it can be easy to lose track of the news concerning your own team. The preparation for races is more structured with a simpler system of assigning equipment and orders for the race ahead. But when choosing your riders, unless you have assigned each rider with a custom label, you can’t easily refer to what their season targets are.
When you simulate a race in the interest of avoiding the slog of the 3D race, you have no control over how things progress and only a breakdown of the end of race results. You can’t influence events on the fly like you can with Football Manager and there aren’t any post-race reports to inform you of what happened to cause you to throw away a potential race win.
This sadly remains a game for the die-hard cycling fan or long-term series enthusiast. If you are looking for a management game to fill the time when you aren’t playing Football Manager, this isn’t the one. A big improvement over recent years, but still not good enough.
Verdict – Off-Target
Platforms Available/Reviewed – PC
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