Thursday, 20 June 2013

What Do You Even Do In That Game?

by Callum Cross

That is the most asked question when you explain to someone that you play Pro Cycling Manager 2012. As you may or may not know, I like cycling. Unlike football, there is not a plethora of computer games to choose from, so, when I find a cycling game that has been released, I tend to look around for a good price (they are often dirt cheap) and buy it.
Cycling Manger 4 was where my somewhat worrying obsession with the Pro Cycling Manager series began, and that was only four years ago. I found it, or it found me, at a giant store in a small town somewhere in Dorset that smelt of cats. It was on sale for £12 and was the only one left; I’m guessing they ordered just one by mistake. I snapped at the opportunity and have never looked back buying the new one every year;  for the first time last year, I actually pre-ordered it off Amazon. So it seems fitting, with the new release of 2013 today (June 20th) that I write my Portsmouth Point article on the wonders of my favourite computer game.
So, answering the title question, it is what it says on box. You can pick, or make, a trade cycling team and you manage them. However the fun doesn’t end there, oh no. Much like the Fifa of cycling, you control your cyclist in races on the road telling them when to work together on the front to pull in a breakaway or when to attack. This game encompasses the best of two worlds: the fun 3D simulation game and the in-depth managerial game. Obviously the next question I get asked is: how do you manage a cycling team? Well, in the game, you have to balance the needs and desires of the sponsor of the team, which, after a few seasons, you can change, with the running costs of the team. It is important to hire the right staff to help develop young riders and increase the fitness of the key riders for the big races, but you must always work within your limits. It’s no use signing Sir Bradley Wiggins if you can afford any team mates to go with him; without a well oil machine to help him, he won’t win anything.
So what’s new for 2013? Well, there have been many team changes this year, with lots of riders jumping ship to search for new leadership roles; there have been so many breakthrough riders, especially for the UK, so the general database updates are obviously a good reason to buy the game. But "Hold the phone!" I hear you say, "There’s more???" Yes, they have significantly changed the 3D engine and developed a new system categorising riders into two types: diesel engine riders, who can accelerate but can ride at one tempo forever like Wiggo, and then the contrasting type of explosive riders who can accelerate violently, like Chris Froome. This fixes many issues of the games of old and should make mountain stages more realistic. With that in mind, all of the updates should be taken with a pinch of salt as the company which makes PCM is very small and has a miniscule budget. Now that you’ve heard how outstanding this game is, I implore you to buy it.

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