Title: Pro Cycling Manager 2020
Available on: PC
Developer: Cyanide Studio
Official Site: Pro Cycling Manager 2020
Release Date: June 5th, 2020
Anyone who has ever ridden a bicycle probably knows what it’s like when the chain falls off. There’s that brief moment of panic as the pedals wildly fly out of control, and you kick your feet off them to try to save yourself and the bike. However, it’s an easy fix to reattach the chain and get back to riding, which is precisely what Nacon and Cyanide Studio did with Pro Cycling Manager 2020.
If the chain were the 2019 version of the game, all that happened to make the 2020 game was to have it reattached and maybe add on a link or two. That’s not to say it’s a complete reskin of the previous module. There are additional tracks to race and you can take on all 21 events in the Tour de France 2020. However, the one thing Pro Cycling continues to get across is slowing things down and taking your time. It’s like hopping on a bike again after not riding one for a few years. There’s something about Pro Cycling Manager that just feels good.
The managing aspect is perhaps the most challenging portion of the game. Starting out, you create a rider, give them stats to excel at like hill climbing or sprinting, choose a country, and meet your teammates. Then you get to read a few emails, details about your team, and train before hitting the track for your first race. It all sounds quick and straightforward, but there are walls of text to get through, and they never seem to end. Then there’s the data of information you have to sift through to understand how to get your racer in racing order properly.
New managers to the series may find it all a bit overwhelming at first. Honestly, last year, I was completely thrown off by it and took a while to get used to it. This year, I can navigate the menus much more easily and quickly and can make sense of how to manage my team. It’s all a learning curve and requires patience, practice, and persistence.
Once you’re through with all of that, you can finally get to racing, well, if you think you’ve trained your rider enough. Training involves setting up days to which the rider prepares themselves for actual races. Training sessions all happen behind the scenes while you manage everything else. The training regiments range from easy, medium, hard, and break. Maintaining this correctly will help ensure your rider, and team, excel during the race. However, it’s still up to you to get everything in order on race day.
Pro Cycling Manager 2020 gets the wheels turning when you hit the concrete. The team managing system ditches the text and instead opts for a more hands-on approach. It finally begins to act as more of a video game and lets you control your rider and act as a team. While you don’t have full control of the bike, you can operate its speed, steer left and right, and assist your teammates by riding near them. In true Tour de France fashion, there is actual skill involved with races.
It’s called Pro Cycling Manager for a couple of reasons. Aside from the fact that you manage your rider, you must work as a team to place in the top 20 or so riders at the end of a race. Flying solo isn’t going to cut it here. Racing involves keeping an eye on where your other riders are and making sure you stay near them. This can happen in a few ways. You can either control your rider manually by using the number keys to increase or decrease speed, or you can access a bar above each rider. This bar makes it simple to maneuver your up and coming racer nearly anywhere you need them to be. However, you must also keep in mind there exhaustion level, energy, and water intake.
It’s managing these systems that make Pro Cycling Manager more than your racing sim. You’re always looking over bars and charts that it’s not about controlling the single rider but instead the whole team. Along the route, other teammates will let you know what you need to do to get ahead. These can range from pushing ahead of the pack so they can catch you or slowing down for you to stick with them. It’s more tortoise than it is the hare.
With more than 650 courses to choose from, each race is unique in the fact that each is different. Like in real bike racing, they do take up a good chunk of time. So, if you don’t mind managing your rider for 20 minutes or more, you can always speed things up in-game.
One thing the 2020 version improves upon is its overall look and feel. The graphics are fresher and more dynamic, while the sound is enhanced as well. Light rays cascade over mountains and through trees, and the announcers make it feel as if the race was a live event.
Verdict: Pro Cycling Manager 2020 doesn’t add a lot of new features to this year’s game. It requires a bit of patience and practice but is entertaining once you figure it all out. For those who are familiar with the series, there doesn’t seem to be enough in this version to warrant buying it again. Let’s hope 2021 clears things up and enhances the franchise in exciting and thought-provoking ways.
Pro Cycling Manager 2020
- Casual gameplay
- Not much new to the series
- Confusing interface