Released at the same time as Tour de France 2022, Pro Cycling Manager sees you delve deeper into the data and understanding of what it takes to run a pro cycling team. The game from Nacon and Cyanide Studio goes hand in hand with Tour de France 22. Read on to see what I thought of it and check out the Tour de France review straight afterwards!
Searching for marginal gains!
If you like football manager and are into cycling then this is definitely the game for you, taking the role of Director Sportive, you make all the decisions to take your team or rider to the top of the sport.
If you are new to this genre of game then good news there are fantastic tutorial screens to help you through the plethora of menus, and believe me you will need these tips!
On starting the game you can select whether to run a full team or an individual cyclist. In this review I selected full team to give the all-round experience of not only managing the team but also all of the individual riders, contracts and scouting that you can do throughout the season.
Now did I mention the menus? Well be prepared because there are a lot of them. Overview Dashboards, Sponsor Dashboards, Finances, National Team and that’s just the first screen, I think in total I counted 25 different screens available to you and when starting out this can be very overwhelming! Thankfully the helpful tips and the auto planning assistant help you out pretty well.
Diving into the first race of the season you have to select your best team, based on the whether they are one-day specialists or multi-day, and also the type of road surfaces. Do they like cobbles, do they like long climbs, each rider has their own individual traits that are key to a good result.
Team selected, great, but don’t forget to check what your sponsors want to get out of the race as well! The better you meet your sponsors needs the more R&D goes into your bike and equipment meaning they get faster, lighter and more aero!
The race itself allows you 2 options, Quick Sim or 3D Race. I always opted for the 3D race as this allows you to edit tactics on the fly and check out the different camera angles available. Want to send a rider up the road get them to attack from the off, fancy an easy day in the pack make them hold position for the duration before getting a sprint train ready for the final line. With a host of tactics available just remember to use those energy gels and send a rider back to top up the water bottles!
There are 260 races with nearly 700 stages in total so you have got plenty of time to hone your management skills, be it recruiting new team members, learning new recovery techniques, adapting race strategies to win the title, taking on new sponsors and targeting the annual goals, a lot to get stuck into!
Graphics & Audio
Most of the playing time of this game is spent in the menu screens, thankfully they are all clear and easy to use. When heading into the races the graphics are clearly built off of the same engine as Tour de France 22 which makes total sense, but where this game really excels is the number of camera angles available to watch the race from.
You can have the default above the rider angle, but there are also Heli views, Sprint line views, Moto views and car views looking back at the peloton. On some occasions really making you feel like you were in the thick of the action.
You are also able to toggle motion blur and depth of field on the fly in the options, along with various rendering and colour filter options to really make items pop.
The only downside, as with Tour de France 22, was the lack of some of the official bikes and generic rider faces, hopefully something that can be resolved in the future.
Audio-wise, there is not much to write home about. In the menus, there is some upbeat soundtrack which after a while can be a bit tedious and in-game you have the sound of the crowd, camera motorbikes/cars and heli. The best bit of audio is when you change the camera to the motorbike one and who get to hear the spinning of wheels and wind rushing through your hair, more of this please!
With nearly 700 stages of racing along with all the tweaking you can make to the various elements there is a lot of gaming to be had in Pro Cycling Manager 2022. You then get all the same stages in the single player career as well – that’s a lot of racing for your buck! As an avid cycling fan I will be spending hours in this game ensuring my team becomes the best it possibly can be (off to see if my team can afford Ganna!)
I loved Pro Cycling Manager 22 which surprised me. Quite why this and TDF22 are 2 separate games I really don’t understand. Roll them both into one, get the teams/riders on board and you would have the cycling equivalent of FIFA! But the fact I enjoyed Pro Cycling Manager 22 means that I award it the Thumb Culture Platinum Award!
At Thumb Culture we are also raising money for SUDEP, a charity close to our hearts. I am taking on the PanCeltic race this July and will be raising money for them along the way. Please feel free to head over to my JustGiving page to sponsor me on this 1,600 mile epic!
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.