Tour De France 17 – Review

Cycling has never been my thing. I don’t mind doing it, but I couldn’t sit and watch it. Only recently did I cycle 23km for Charity which I managed to do in 55 minutes (which for a big guy like me, I thought was pretty good).

So when I received a copy of Tour De France 17 from Focus Home Interactive (Thanks, guys, much love) it intrigued me as to whether the same thought would stem to the game. Could I sit there and virtual cycle for however long each section of the race would be?

I have to admit that there were times that I struggled, mainly because I felt several stages were very monotonous, this was especially the case when I was going through the countryside and it was very much the same throughout…. Green, green and more green! The game does, however, show you the beautiful contrasts and differences when it comes to the different areas, such as going through the German countryside, to Belgium and finally into France.

When racing there are a few tactical elements to it, it’s not simply a case of peddling on and on, you have to try and keep a pace to make sure that the rider you have chosen makes it all the way to the end and not like I did in the first 180km stretch and power through to the front and get a lead not noticing that my rider was losing steam.

There is a gauge on the bottom right of the screen that shows the riders overall stamina as well as the extra burst he has for powering on in the speed stretches. What I didn’t notice as well is depending on how far you hold the trigger down on the controller will depend on how fast your rider goes. There are markers on the gauge in the bottom right with 2 lines, one blue and one red, holding on the blue line will keep the pace while going to the red line and holding all the way down on the trigger will get you powering on. There is also pressing the X button which will go beyond the red line but you do run the risk of a blowout and your rider will lose most speed and more than likely positions in the race.

One thing I do like about the game is the atmosphere that it brings to the races. I remember last year when the race started in my native Yorkshire and the buzz that it brought the county was immense, and the game replicates this brilliantly from its start in Dusseldorf to the finish line in Paris! One thing that did get me about the crowd on the sides is that there tended to be only 3 or 4 different phrases being shouted out which kind of got a bit annoying after a while.

The game looks good, very good indeed with a lot of detail going into the races, bikes, and riders and this is right down to the sweat that you can see coming off their calves. I can’t complain about the activities on the side of the road as well with the crowd as they have been well crafted in and the animations are good to boot. There are a few areas which I noticed needed a little polishing off and maybe looked rusty on the edges.

Mechanically the game is sound, it’s smooth to play and the controls are easy to get to grips with. I haven’t come across any stutters in play even when you can see the sheer amount of racers on screen at the same time the game still plays smooth which is absolutely fantastic.

One thing that I did find with the game is that it does seem to be an upgraded version of last years game, just the routes have been updated with a spruce up of the graphics slightly. There are a few modes within the game which will keep you entertained for a short while. There is the standard Career which will take you through the whole season for the Tour de France, starting in Dusseldorf and finishing at the Champs Elysees in Paris. There is a Challenge mode where you get to challenge friends as well as others and try and set some online records, you can start a Pro Team where you have targets to meet with Sponsors, as well as building your team etc. There is also a My Tour section which I enjoyed having a play around with as this was something where you managed the staged for the race, picked which legs to do etc and made your own little tour up. There is also an Editor within the game which you can edit teams and riders how you wish, a neat little feature to keep the game updated.

My overall feel of the game is that it is one that would get easily repetitive, the game’s main target is for fans of cycling, I can’t see this appealing much outside of that group and the sheer length of some of the sections would be enough to put anyone who isn’t a cycling fan completely off.

There is a tutorial mode within the game that teaches you the intricacies of the game, but again, not knowing the sport, it can easily put you off.

The game is going to be good for fans and fans alone I’m afraid.