Title: Tour de France 2020
Developer: Cyanide Studio
Genres: Sports, Simulator
Version Tested: Xbox One
Release Date: March 20th, 2020
Pedal to the Metal in Tour de France 2020
In the world of simulator titles, Tour de France 2020 might be one of the more realistically calming entries that come to mind. Taking place originally at the start of the June commencements, Tour de France 2020 centers around the big cycling event as players take on all 21 stages of the famous race. New features have been added to spice things up in the simulator universe, including more accurate sporting and a first-person camera that changes up the game’s pace.
The simulator allows players who fancy the race to live out their expectations through the 21 official stages and in-game modes. Tour de France 2020 does an excellent job of supplying all the goods the cycling player needs to feel like they’re a part of the race. Like the race itself, cyclists can be crowded together as a swarm of wheels speeding past the roaring audiences along the races, or they can sprint ahead or slack behind to be the needle in the haystack where you don’t feel so iced in with the other cyclists.
Gearing Up For The Finish Line in Tour de France 2020
Before commencing a race, you can select which difficulty you are comfortable with, and you can pick a stage from the Tour de France to get things started. The more you level up, the more races you unlock.
It seems as if Tour de France 2020 aims to be a notable entry in the series. Managing stamina, being aware of your aerodynamics, and familiarizing yourself with each biker’s strengths and weaknesses can switch up the game flow, depending on how much you put in the finger effort to make the racing count. With the addition of enjoyable time trials to practice (that newcomers might look forward to instead of completing an entire race), you can easily find a few ways to gain the upper hand against the opposing teams. The time trials can be played with a friend as well, with Sprint and Downhill being available in single and co-op for both players to test out their cycling skills.
A Tedious Cycle of Recycling
As a cycling simulator, it works very well to the point where I would recommend this title to any Tour de France enthusiast, but I wouldn’t go further than that. As someone who can appreciate a decent sports game, Tour de France 2020 does it best to replicate the length and determination of the races – which can be a negative aspect when it comes to sitting down and gaming. After a while, the biking gets repetitive, and the racing doesn’t get intense until the final mile.
From beginning to middle and to the end, some players will dread the middle ingredient where they eventually find themselves fast-forwarding the race until you reach a point of interest – like the climb or drop of a mountain. When I discovered I could switch players during a race, I found the endgame to be pointless since I could essentially cheat my way to victory and feel unsatisfactory. As a simulator, the game gives the player control to almost manipulate the races to make it seem they’re almost unbeatable against the computer. You’re better off making on-site bets with your mates to see who gets to the finish line rather than playing a whole race.
If you do find time to sit and play, Tour de France 2020 also includes a Pro Team feature to keep individuals invested. You can select perks for your chosen riders to compete against others in the Pro Cycling ranking (PCR). I made a small team that I would use to gain a higher ranking for race invitations and chances to unlock new riders. Along with the time trials, I found these features to be worth trying out, especially since Tour de France 2020 doesn’t offer fresh addictive content to keep me entertained.
In With the Old, Out With the New
For a video game being released in 2020, I was rather disappointed with the sound design and graphics of the current Tour de France entry. The crowds are an important part of the races, and they all look cheap and poorly animated, almost as if a copy-and-paste maneuver was initiated instead of coming up with something new. Their cheers are merely side noise as you pedal to the finish line, and it doesn’t help that they sometimes breakaway when the game decides to buffer in the middle of a simple race. And while the music, voice acting, and environmental sound effects are pretty fair to tolerate, it’s nothing crisp or worthwhile to pay attention to. Almost everything within the graphic and animation department feels outdated, like early Xbox 360/PS3 times before graphics were getting buffed up. It’s sad to acknowledge because more passion could’ve been put into the riders. Instead, they all just kind of look the same, just with different shades of skin to tell them apart.
The environments, on the other hand, are amazing to look at with the different camera angles. They’re massive and vast in texture and lighting. Some are a copy-and-paste with some re-touching, but they’re nice to look at if you’re casually pedaling alongside your fellow riders.
As aforementioned, you can cheat your way to victory, and here’s one simple route you can tackle without breaking a sweat. After packing in a few hours into Tour de France 2020, I found that the best way to win against the computer is to ride along the crust of the road where bikers and bystanders separate. Nothing touches you there, and you can easily sprint to the front of the race as if you came out of nowhere and the 1st place rider will, inevitably, be you. This may guarantee victory for you, but what’s the point if you can switch a rider and utilize the crust of the road method? This is where the game ultimately fails, and its replay value diminishes to a low point as the gameplay becomes duller by the race.
Granted, it was fun to become more accustomed to the Tour since I didn’t know too much about it at first. I feel like I know more about cycling than before, and that’s always a plus when you’re learning something new every day. The first-person camera is probably the game’s best characteristic, for it provides a certain adrenaline rush that makes it to be a simulator. But as a video game itself, it’s ridiculously boring. I often found myself just holding down the “follow” button for a long time until I was ready to switch riders, and I would follow some more. I ended up playing my music and holding down a couple of buttons as I jotted down notes for this review – all at the same time, which never occurs since I always pause or look away from a game if I need to write something down.
Verdict: Tour de France 2020 may be one of the most accurate simulator titles out there for a sports game about a real-life cycling event with its focus on realism and inclusion of different camera perspectives. Unfortunately, the more time invested into Tour de France 2020, the less fun the player will be having as they will eventually find themselves doing the same thing over and over again. With outdated graphics that are sometimes fuzzy for the eye and nothing to make the gameplay pop out, the game becomes underwhelming and a strong contender for being a title that is just a run-of-the-mill sports game that is aimed at a specific crowd of people. And while the actual Tour was supposed to commence this past weekend but was delayed due to COVID-19, there is little to no fantasy when you’re staring a virtual world of cyclists and their crowds.
- Truly a simulator for any cycling fan.
- Race environments are nice to look at in first-person.
- The gameplay easily gets repetitive and wearisome.
- Out of date animation and graphics.
- Clunky video game experience.
- No imperative endgame to keep players interested.