“Pro Cycling Manager 2013 is a game of impressive detail which will impress fans of the sport”
I feel that before I really kick off this review, there are one or two things which you should know. Firstly, I don’t know a hell of a lot about cycling other than how to ride a bike myself. It goes without saying then that I don’t have much of an idea of how to manage a professional cycling team either, so I am going into this game a little bit blind. You may ask, then, why I have chosen to review it at all, and the answer to that is simple and twofold. As I have said many a time before, I love to play games which offer something a bit different to the industry in general at that time. I would say that this game quite comfortably fits into that description. The other half of my reasoning for wanting to play the game is that I am intrigued. This game is based on something I do not know much about for sure, but I am interested in just how much detail has been put into it, and what it can teach me about the sport’s nature as I begin to play…
So, by way of a more formal introduction, Pro Cycling Manager 2013 has been developed by Cyanide Studios and published by Focus Interactive as the cycling fan’s doorway to the management game world. Boasting its impressive detail in-game in terms of control, visual aesthetics and generally giving a realistic representation of a somewhat more niche sport to what the gaming industry is used to covering, this game sells itself well with its words and genuinely spikes your interest before you have even begun. The only thing left to do once it has achieved this is to prove to you that these words are true, and to test your ability to succeed in its prophesised intricacies…
When you boot up the game you are given several options on how to play. You can either choose to take part in a single or multiplayer race or stage of a race, or enter into the single player management mode. The individual races and stages do not involve you controlling your cyclists directly, but a remarkable level of commanding the cycling team which you choose to use has been created. Before your race begins you must choose which team to use, and then based on their individual abilities, fitness and experience choose which cyclists will form your squad for that race. Each cyclist in the game is different, and where they are not the genuine athletes themselves by name the classic system of similar but not exact naming used in many simulators has been utilised. When you have chosen your squad based on cyclists’ individual merits, you must choose their roles for the race. Choosing the right leader and supports for the race could make the difference between winning and losing, so it is important to think carefully about this decision. When you have completed this task, it is time to get into the race!
Even inside of a race you have a massive level of control over your team. This isn’t just a case of deciding when to make a push or how the team should work together. You have to control each individual cyclist, and make decisions as small but important as when to drink water or use energy gel. Such an all round level of control is impressive, but at the same time you will be forced to keep a sharp focus throughout the entirety of each race in order to come out on top, so be prepared o pay attention! Once you get into a rhythm of how best to play and control your team this might become an easier task. Of course, if you play anything like I apparently do, this may not be the case, but given that the majority of those who choose to play the game are likely to be avid cycling fans the chances I would like to think they will learn the roads to victory fairly quickly… sorry for the pun.
The main reason for which people will play the game of course is the management mode, and this adds a whole new level of depth to the game again. As well as making all of these individual race decisions, you are tasked with setting a schedule of competitions and training, managing the team including buying and letting go of cyclists, hiring and firing staff; almost every aspect that I can imagine might be involved in professional cycling team management is covered. This does two main things; it immerses you in the game fully, which is clearly a positive thing, but it will also confuse the hell out of you when you try to control these features. The game does not have any kind of tutorial mode or period when you start playing, and while there is a help website available to aid you this involves an awful lot of reading and still relies on you to work some things out. It is possible to learn to play by exploring the various features available, but for such an intricate and detailed game an interactive tutorial of some kind would have helped a lot in figuring things out. This is particularly true for new players of management games or those with less experience of cycling as a sport and the management involved.
Pro Cycling Manager 2013 achieves the goal which it sets out to achieve; it is a highly detailed simulation of all of the aspects involved in managing a professional cycling team. Alongside this the game has some fantastically detailed graphics in the races themselves; astonishingly detailed for a management game. The only thing that really lets the game down is that it does not take enough time to introduce you slowly to its workings, and relies on you to either read a pretty hearty amount of text to learn to play, or to work it out for yourself. With some knowledge of how management of cycling teams works this may not be a major problem to some players, but others who are new to management games or know less of the sport may struggle to get to grips with the workings at first. All in all however Pro Cycling Manager 2013 is a game of impressive detail which will impress fans of the sport and give management game fans an opportunity to try something new a little different to the norm.
As a more personal conclusion for those of you who are in the same boat as me, looking for something new and different to play but with little knowledge of the sport of cycling, the game looks like it would be more suited to someone who knew more about the sport. That is not meant as a discouragement to those who do not have this knowledge, as with some time and patience it is possible to learn how to play. Depending on how much time and patience you have, this game may or may not be for you. If you do have these qualities however you could be in for a good bit of fun!
The Good – An impressively detailed simulation of all of the aspects surrounding professional cycling management alongside some fantastically detailed graphics during races make for a great experience for fans of the sport
The Not So Good – A lack of easing into the game or tutorial-style guidance, leaving players to do some extensive reading or work out the complicated methods of gameplay for themselves; requires players to have a strong knowledge of the sport.
Most Recommended For – Fans of the sport of professional cycling who have some experience or idea of the management involved, or stronger players of other management games who will have the time and patience to learn how to play.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.