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To be perfectly honest, when I heard I was going to be reviewing a cycling game, I was less than excited. While most people would be ashamed to admit this, I can’t even ride a bike – I just fall off and cannot keep my balance to save my life. Knowing that Pro Cycling Manager 2012 is based around well-known cyclists and people who place in the Tour de France, I was worried considering I can’t ride a bike and the only famous cyclist I know is Lance Armstrong. Regardless of all this, I jumped on my virtual bike with both feet and started managing.
When I first turned-on the game I was in awe by the opening cut-scene. I honestly didn’t expect the graphics to be so good on a game where they bear little importance. These screen grabs show just how incredible the graphics are in the game. The visuals are simply breathtaking. But, it is a managing game, and therefore a lot of what you’ll be looking at is graph charts and emails containing information on your riders regarding the events they will be participating in.
The thought of staring at screens holding information like that may startle some, and believe me, when I was asked to review this game I was terrified. I didn’t know the first thing about how to play this genre, but the usability of it is amazing. I quickly learned and understood what I was supposed to be doing.
At the start I found it really difficult to understand what I should be doing. However, often there was a short tutorial helping even the ‘newbie-est’ of players (like me) to understand how to play and manage all of the managing that you’ll be managing in Pro Cycling Manager. The aim of Pro Cycling Manager 2012 is to win the best positions in all the available competitions, which means obtaining the funding, organizing the event and every other little detail. I have to praise Cyanide Studios for their acute attention to detail, as their game simply doesn’t miss a beat. It requires a high level of dedication and skill to play manager games, and Pro Cycling Manager is no exception to that rule.
Pro Cycling Manager 2012 allows players to choose from over eighty professional teams and enter the legendary Tour de France! As a manager your goals will be to obtain sponsors, riders, contracts, equipment... you will have to manage every aspect of your team to lead it to victory and take home the famed yellow jersey. The aim of the game is to claim the highest step on the podium in the most prestigious races in the world, like the Vuelta, the Giro, the Tour of Australia and the granddaddy of them all, the Tour de France. This is a game of skill, so even if you can’t ride a bike, or if you know nothing about cycling, you can still enjoy the game after you learn the skill set that is contained within the game itself. Only the finest strategies will top the incredibly realistic AI.
You have to overcome the AI often as eighty teams are included in the game this year, and it allows you to play a total of 180 competitions. As I said previously, I only know very few of the professionals who compete in the Tour de France, so it was especially hard for me to comprise and manage a “dream team”.
The type of audience this game would appeal to is pretty obvious. Those who like such games as Football Manager will enjoy Pro Cycling Manger 2012. It’s basically the same concept, only with cycling rather than football. I think Cyanide Studios knew when they made this game that they would be appealing to a smaller audience than such games as the Mass Effect trilogy, but even so, there are vast amounts of people out there who like cycling and management games, and with good reason. They’re fun to play and require skill. And now more than ever the fans of the cycling community can compete with one another online.
A new online multiplayer mode called The Armada mode allows cycling enthusiast from around the world to manage their teams online. In Armada Mode there are goals to collect player equipment and players themselves build their dream team.
In all, I thought this game had some cerebral moments. As I said, it also surprised me. I genuinely thought I would be lost for words and struggle to review it due to my lack of knowledge in the genre. Anybody can learn to play this game, as they have kindly included some tutorials to help familiarize you with the world of cycling. While I wouldn’t personally rush out and start buying every manager game I can get my hands on, playing Pro Cycling Manager has taught me to be less objective and never judge a ‘game’ by its cover again, but you should know what you’re getting into. This is a niche’ game for a niche’ audience, if you really like cycling or management games, then this is right up your alley, if not, pedal away.