Pro Cycling Manager 2017 by Cyanide Studios and Focus Home Interactive is the equivalent of Football Manager, you pick a team out of the myriad of those available and take them through a season. Racing at the highest echelon of the sport.
Pro Cycling Manager 2017 gives you the freedom to control a team as you see fit. You control the day to day workings, having to answer emails, deal with the sponsors as well as ensuring your riders are fit and healthy.
The menus are vast and sometimes complicated. Although a brief period of time in each of them will give you the necessary understanding with what you have to do. Skipping through the days, answering a few emails, checking sponsor objectives and eventually getting to a race. First things first is picking your team for the race from your 30 available riders. Once chosen you jump into either a quick simulation of the race which effectively skips to the end of the race instantaneously or a 3D representation of the race.
Before each race you have the opportunity to edit your equipment. With new equipment being purchased or through research and development. You can choose to put your entire team on the same bike, or even split strategies and see is that works out on track.
If you chose the 3D race, you get the ability to control the tactics used during the race as well as many other options. Don’t fret as there is a race tutorial that you can go through the first time you take part in one of these 3D races. Being able to control each rider individually allows you to try different tactics early on during a stage to see how successful that might be. Whilst still having some energy in reserve towards the end of the stage.
Some of the options you have during a stage on Pro Cycling Manger 2017 allow your riders to attack. Using the attack option will tell the currently selected rider/s to put in maximum effort for a period of time to either join up with a breakaway, or to even start one themselves. Other options are to maintain track position, defend another rider or you can just set it to automatic to allow the AI to take over.
During each stage you have to be mindful of the stamina of your riders, issuing race tactics such as defend, will give tiring riders a brief rest when they tuck in behind a team mate.
Being able to use time controls on the race allow you to move through the 3D race relatively quickly. Set the race to a x8 speed and you will fly through each stage with ease.
After each race, you are greeted with the podium celebrations, showing each rider raising their arms to the air, with trophy and flowers in hand. A quick peck on each cheek of the glamorous assistants and then you are back into the main game. The full race results show your own riders in a green colour so that you can remember their names.
Then you rinse and repeat throughout the career. Playing through each stage as it comes and making the big decisions that you would expect any big boss to have to make.
The menus are sharp and clean, in general the clutter is down to a minimum which is hard with all the information on screen at any one time.
When you get into the 3D race you are greeted with a good representation of a race stage. With crowds and buildings present, you get a good idea of the scale of the stage. Different camera angles give you a different position to watch the racing unfold. My personal favourite was the helicopter camera, although this did seem to have a very narrow focal point. Blurring out alot of the scenery if it wasn’t at road level.
3D models of racers were good, although with so many on screen at one time you can sometimes forget which riders are from your own team. Thankfully each of your riders has their name fixed above their head. Tactical options are shown in nice little diagrams and at no time were they complicating to read. Simple and straight forward.
Crown noises, the noise from the helicopter rotors, even the sound of the cyclists riding are all there and are all accurate. Giving the sense that you are there riding along in whichever camera you choose.
Away from the track, you do have to contend with some pretty annoying theme music. Although I didn’t find myself humming the tunes to myself later in the day. Yet!
Obviously you can turn all these sounds off in the settings if you wanted to just put on your own music in the background.
With the seasons taking so long to play through, especially if you use the 3D race rather than quick simulation, you could spend an age on this game.
Cycling fans will no doubt get more out of the game and if you are statistically minded there are plenty of stats to get your teeth into. This is literally a game you could lose hours and hours, even days too if you aren’t careful. It has the addictive “just one more stage” feel to it.
Pro Cycling Manager 2017 will open your eyes to the running of a cycling team, and while it is menu heavy it plays on the management sim genre perfectly.
Audio and graphics both team up to give you a good experience and although I normally wouldnt choose to play something like this. I found myself losing hours to this game, purely to progress as far as possible and to get those tactics just right depending on which riders were chosen.
Pro Cycling Manager 2017 received the Thumb Culture Silver Award with 6 / 10
Head out and get Pro Cycling Manager 2017 over at steam