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Le Tour De France 2014 Review


This year’s summer of sport is well and truly in full swing and at this time of year we all talc up the Lycra and de-cobweb the bicycle as it's Tour de France time, a mammoth race that this year starts off in the UK to return to more familiar lands of France for the latter part of the race.

These past few years have been great for the sport, especially in the UK with our first winner with Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky and the excitement has not waned yet as this year looks like it’s going to be yet another great race. Of course with most sports events you now have the obligatory computer game version with Cyanide Studios and Focus Home Interactive returning with an annual title to coincide with the event. Having reviewed last year's it felt too soon for another instalment and that also feels true for the game itself, as even though this is for the new generation (PS4), it does feel almost identical.



Transferring the struggles and athleticism of the Tour De France to a home computer is no easy one, the burning of the muscles as the riders tackle hill climbs and sprints is just impossible to translate to a gamer sitting on a couch and this is the games only real struggle to overcome and it only just manages it. Rather than tapping furiously on the control pad for hours on end the game uses an accelerator approach, with various degrees of the shoulder buttons dictating the overall speed of your cyclist. To keep you in check there are a couple of stamina bars that you need to watch or else you could blow up (not as exciting as it sounds) and make sure you don’t just hammer it to the finish line and it is here that the game takes a more strategic feel to most racers out there. With a yellow bar that indicates general stamina and a red one that indicates attack you are constantly weary that your racer is in fact human and has limits. Rather than out and out gunning it you are better sticking with the peloton (main group of racers); some 150 plus cyclists all after the same jersey as you. Sticking in the peloton allows for strategic choices like using large groups to buffer from the wind which in turn uses less energy or as and when you need it, the ability to call your team mates for assists. Using the Team Comms you are able to command specific members of your team certain instructions, be it to stay in formation, attack or in my case when my own rider is doing particularly bad, take direct control of another team member and mess it up for them as well.

Not being an ardent follower of the Tour De France it is hard for me to say if this game is a true representation of every curve and hill but for the general race feel it does really well with 21 stages starting us off quite flat from Leeds to Harrogate to a long sprint from Cambridge to London and then punishing hill climbs of Gerardmer to Mulhouse to the final sprints at the Champs-Elysees, the game throwing in known landmarks when it can and the game engine manages to handle a lot of riders on screen at once without any trouble.



Adding some new content this year is the Pro Team Mode in which you take part as a brand new team freshly invited to the tour; your aim to gather the best racers and create a championship winning team. Each season is made up of up to seven randomly picked stages from the tour, so when it comes to team selections it is always best to pick from a wide range of specialities like hills, mountains, sprinters or the more versatile riders. With the more races you participate in you slowly earn reputation which will then lead to more riders offering to join.

With an in depth breakdown of each stage showing you where the hills are and a reasonable commentary telling you when the stage events are about to occur the game does well at keeping you informed, however it does assume a little too much, ignoring many of the more basic rules like what the jerseys actually mean and more detail of each stages events like hill and sprint and what they entail.

Though on the more powerful PS4, Le Tour De France 2014 plays and looks very similar to the previous version, however the inclusion of a Pro Team Mode is more than enough to tempt another purchase for fans of the sport and for those looking for a little more tactics in their racers.

Words by Ash Buchanan.

(Version Tested: PS4)

Pros

+ Surprisingly enjoyable tactical racing
+ Manages to deal with packed streets full of cyclists without any slowdown
+ Co-op

Cons

- Visually uninspiring
- Sound effects get reused far too often

Edited On 03 Jul, 2014

Comments
1
I can't think if a sport less likely to be transferred into a game but this is almost definitely it. However I am intrigued
Beazi 3 Weeks ago
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