Having played previous Pro Cycling Manager games I was always going to buy the latest instalment. This year's edition improved on past years components and added a fair amount of new features.
The first thing I noticed was the new home screen at the beginning, not a huge difference but it looks nice and makes it easy to navigate and find game modes as such. Multiplayer (Armdada) has been improved as well; A track mode has been added (For Armada) and you can now play stage races with your own teams which was missing from last year's game. The career mode as well has been altered. This year if you are to build a custom team you have a virtually unlimited budget but your team's level (UCI World Tour, Pro Continental or Continental) is determined by how much you spend. You are also allowed unlimited reports on youth riders but this comes at a financial cost.
When you are into the career you will notice that there has been a change in how you receive money in the game. Usually you earn money from winning races in prize money however this year you get money from nailing targets your sponsors give you. This can be frustrating as they may give you tasks which are unrealistic. An example: I had a continental team and was asked to win Omloop Het Niewsblad. Not only did I have no strong classics riders, but I was facing up against Cancellara and Boonen and worst of all, I couldn't even get an entry into the event through a wild card! Even though you can ask to scale down these assignments to aim to achieve a top 10 ranking or so but the amount of money you gain is heavily cut.
In the actual races there has been a graphical overhaul, the shirt quality of the riders has been improved (you can make out the writing and sponsors easily) and there have many new items added (useful for stage building). Some licenses are missing (BMC shirt & Sky and OPQS names) however these can be addressed via the community made databases - the most notable and impressive one being from PCMdaily.
The in-game mechanics have also changed, breakaways are now more likely to stay away which makes the game more challenging and in some cases more realistic. It is still feasible to chase back an escape although it will require more man power and help from the rest of the peleton. In my opinion though, the best changes have been those to the animations and accelerations of the riders. In previous years riders would look the same no matter their speed. The new animations have made the game seem more realistic as you can see when other riders are struggling or putting in a higher effort. Also, the acceleration stat now does mean acceleration and will determine how quickly your sprinter or climber attacks.
Finally, I must add that this game is not really for non cycling fans who are are unaware of what lies beyond and before the Tour de France however a tutorial could address this problem.
- Strong animations
- Graphical Overhaul
- Armada improved
- In game mechanics improved
- Career mode can be frustrating
- Still bugs in places