Title: Pro Cycling Manager 2019
Available on: PC
Publisher: Bigben Interactive
Official Site: Pro Cycling Manager 2019
Release Date: June 27th, 2019
Where to Buy: Steam
Pro Cycling Manager 2019 is a study in patience and taking things slow. That’s a lesson Cyanide and Bigben Interactive gets right year after year since releasing the first Cycling Manager back in 2001; the pro got added later on in 2005. Now, after 18 years of peddle spinning, the latest version is entertaining but feels like homework. However, not terrible word problems you find in math class, think of it more like a geography class where you may need the help of a map to guide you to the correct answer.
Players can choose to create their own custom rider or instead manage an entire racing team to race through more than 600 stages, including the Tour de France. However, the majority of the time you will be trapped in an endless loop of dialogue, emails, and confusing pages. Once you peddle your way out, getting to a race is quite simple but can take up a lot of time to do so. Taking part in a race is where Pro Cycling Manager really stands out though; they’re relaxing, therapeutic, and smooth.
Basically, depending on which option is chosen, players either choose to monitor a single rider or the whole team. There aren’t really any major difference between the two modes. The few customization options given are limited and allow only a few generic faces and skin tones. Other than that, you can give your rider a name and choose their country of origin. Being able to choose a custom bike would be a nice touch but that’s just my personal feelings.
The team manager will present qualifications that need to be met with each race. Not completing these tasks will result in bad ratings for the rider but earning points puts them closer to getting a contract.
For those who enjoy the managing aspect of a management game, it can take some time to figure out what exactly is going on. Veterans of the series should be comfortable getting around the many screens and text of the game, but newcomers may be thrown off. While Pro Cycling Manager comes with a built-in tutorial and quick help guide, it still can be puzzling to understand what all is available in the management section. One option allows the player to choose to train their personal rider or team members before a big race to better prepare them for the road ahead. Even getting through the training and to the race requires patience by advancing the calendar one day at a time. Which really doesn’t take that long, but can be bothersome for anyone wanting to just start their career.
Racing is where Pro Cycling Manager picks up the pace. Players can choose to experience the race and control the rider on their own or use the customized settings to perform a simulated race. The first may earn more experience while the second option will skip the race entirely. Controlling the rider and team members is easy and quick. The game allows you to cycle through any one of the riders to see where they are in the pack. Small menus linked to each rider provide a fast way to give them orders to move up through the ranks. A rider’s team leader will even pop in every now and then to give advice on what to do next. This makes for a smooth experience when cycling through the many familiar cities and towns but the scenery doesn’t offer much to talk about. This makes the camera option only good for checking out the pack or switching it to get a different perspective on the race.
A concept that does work is the detail shown when riders start a deep incline or descend after a climb. You can almost feel the rider’s legs working harder to get up the hill or the breeze blowing through their clothes as they round down a road. Realistic weather also adds in a great amount of immersion as well.
The sights of Pro Cycling Manager will, for the most part, be nothing but a mix of bland greenery and asphalt. The errant car, person, or house may linger about here and there but aside from driving through a quint town, that’s it. The races are lengthy and after a while, the same thing will get dreadfully boring. To speed things up a bit, there is an option to quicken the race up to eight times the speed. The sound is equally as lackluster. Apart from the calming sound of the tires spinning on the concrete, the announcer’s voices feel out of place during some moments.
Verdict: Pro Cycling Manager 2019 gets many things right despite a few confusing details. Fans of the series will be able to jump into the game while newcomers may have a more difficult time understanding it. The graphics aren’t anything to go crazy about and things can be monotonous. It feels like riding a bike. Once you get the hang of things, it’s a blast.
- Simple once you get the hang of it
- Lackluster graphics
- Confusing interface
Scott’s been gaming since he could hold a controller in his hands. He’s a journalist who loves Dungeons and Dragons, video games, tabletop RPGs, and comic books. He has an intelligence of 6, he knows what he’s doing.