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Tour De France Review


There are not many sports that do not make the grade when it comes to creating exciting console games; sports like Shinty or Kabaddi will never get past the brainstorming stages but if games like table tennis, Frisbee, heck, even Hacky Sack have a good representation surely the Tour De France has a strong chance to become a classic?

With a very active camera swooshing all over the place during the intro you just can’t wait to get on the saddle, but first you have the laborious and utterly confusing task of choosing a team and rider, each full of stats that are indecipherable from the next. I go for the obvious Team Sky, but already there are worries with rider names being slightly different to their real world alternatives. Once selected you have a very basic set of options to choose from, the main being the Tour De France, taking you through either all of the 21 stages of the tournament or a quick play small selection, though they all boil down to the same thing, riding a bike. The game does try to add a little variety by offering different objectives but do you really want to play this game numerous times? I will say from the off now, I know very little about the ins and outs of the Tour De France and because of this I really struggled with the game. Even with the understanding this is very much a simulator rather than an arcade racing game there is very little to assist with newcomers to the fold, this is truly only for the fans of the tournament.

Even if looked at as a simulator though the game comes off as really boring, you start the race in the pack, or peloton and then press the right trigger to start cycling, occasionally pressing the left trigger to brake. That’s really about it, you can get even more technical than that and watch out for the stamina bar, listening out for your riders breathing and munching on a banana if you get fatigued but I found just taking care across the course and not hammering the attack button made for a steady and safe race.

For the fans that want more depth there are a few other gameplay elements that may entice you, with two gears to choose from you are able to deal with hills and straights with ease plus the ability to slipstream other riders plus all of the various elements of each stage are present, such as sprints, time trails and hill climbs giving you something else to consider, There is also a team command function, however I found this extremely obtrusive and caused more hassle in the long run, bringing up a view blocking set of menus, allowing you to command your team to carry out attacks and blocks.

Even the overall presentation is sadly uninspiring, with all of the digital space on a Blu-ray disc this game could have been stunning, it’s not like they filled it up with content and complex AI algorithms; instead we are treated to some very plain views of the French countryside, trees popping up in the distance and the occasional cut and paste spectator chanting from the side-lines. The sound effects do not really fare any better, with no music at all in-game, it feels very hollow and empty, leaving just you and your characters heavy breathing slowly sending you to sleep, though you do occasionally get jarred from your slumber by the frantic updates of your team leader. It’s a depressing state when the highlight of the game is eating a banana to boost your stamina, you can’t even send your rider off a cliff, trust me, I tried, instead you rider will just awkwardly judder back to the track via invisible bumpers, the rumble of your gamepad keeping you awake.

It is always far too easy to slag off games like this and I wish I could say I was harsh on this game, but this is being fair, there is really nothing going for this game other than a lure of the brand to fans of the sport, especially with Bradley fever still running high.

Whereas cycling games can actually be fun in short stints, say the Olympic Games compendiums or BMX titles where it's more about the stunts or a frantic button mash, stretching what is essentially a very long Sunday afternoon bike ride is a bit too much to keep gamers entertained; fans of the Tour De France may well find some attractive features here but they are so scant and the fact that some of the riders are not even the originals but altered names to avoid paying a fee just shows the level of commitment to the genre, who on earth fancies riding as Braulio Waggons or Chris Vroome? Tour De France 100th Edition is a simulator game, but even then you get to race as one rider and with no management or team selection or anything more in-depth this should really be sitting on the budget shelf for a PC game rather than on the current generation of home consoles.

Pros

+ Ride through the entire Tour De France

Cons

- More of a simulator (boring)
- Plain graphics
- Not any real action
- Other than cycling there is nothing more on offer here.

Edited On 01 Jul, 2013

Comments
( 3 )
Johno Muller's avatar
Johno Muller 3 years ago
I don't see the market for this game.
troublemaker's avatar
troublemaker 3 years ago
That's because it's in France
troublemaker's avatar
troublemaker 3 years ago
I don't know if this review was intentionally funny, or it's just how I was reading it. Great review, but I laughed out loud at "watch the stamina bar and munch a banana" and "Other than cycling, there's nothing more on offer here" Like what? were you expecting a Lollipop Chainsaw style corn harvesting minigame?

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