Review: Tour de France 2020
The 2020 Tour de France was due to begin on 27th June, but due to the current worldwide pandemic has been put back to 29th August.
However, your 2020 Tour de France cycling itch can be scratched right now by this officially licensed cycling sim game from video game developer Cyanide S.A.
While not being a huge cycling fan (I think being struck by lightning while cycling in a thunderstorm back in the 1970’s has given me some sort of cycling PTSD!), I love simulation and management games, as well as more traditional racing games (ie: cars). So the whole premise of Tour de France 2020 intrigued me.
I began by jumping into the training section to familiarise myself with the control scheme and the various nuances of what is involved in competitive cycling.
The training exercises were easy to follow, and despite failing a few times to make the required time in certain sections (mostly due to me going hell for leather and not braking properly) I soon got through them and became comfortable with not only controlling myself, but also how to take control and issue orders to my fellow teammates too…vital things to know if you want any sort of success in the main game.
The ‘meat’ of the game is the Tour de France race mode, which covers 21 stages played over 23 in-game days (2 are rest days). You can jump straight in, pick a preassembled team and off you go, but an added joy can be had with the customisation options.
I wasn’t aware until playing this that a standard cycling race team consisted of 8 riders, and luckily for me our 60MW Team consists of 8 people. Can you guess what I named the riders of team “60MW Podcast”? (podcast mascot Bodhi was not happy to be excluded…but watch out for my upcoming review of Hunting Simulator 2 where he is included).
The customisation doesn’t end there, as adjusting strategies and riders throughout the 23 days is an essential part of staying high up the ever changing leaderboard, and this is where the management parts of the game really appealed to me and added an extra layer of enjoyment over just the ‘racing’ side of the game. There is a strong focus on team play, and you really do need to keep a close eye on not only your own stats, but also those of your teammates too.
The races aren’t short (though you can sim them and/or fast forward them should you so wish) and if you’re more familiar with car racing games, then holding down accelerate and skidding through corners won’t work here, with the outcome either being tiring you out all too quickly or sending you flying at the next bend.
Initially it was difficult to get over my ingrained “hold down accelerate” gaming habit, but once things began to click with me the sense of satisfaction from pulling off a win was very enjoyable indeed. All added with an extra layer of satisfaction seeing how the rest of team “60MW Podcast” had fared.
The graphics are fine (I played on PS4 Pro) and I only noticed minimal stuttering, even when in the middle of a large group of riders (oh for a “Road Rash” button where I could have tried to sneakily send an opposing cyclist flying into the nearest hedge).
There are also other tournaments and modes to play (which you unlock by earning XP) and challenges to pit your skills against too, where local and online leaderboards start to give you that “just one more go” feeling.
Tour de France 2020 certainly gives you a lot of content to get through, and seeing as this was my first time with the franchise and I wasn’t familiar with the rules, it did a great job of getting me deep into the gameplay with as little fuss as possible.
TdF 2020 rewards patient gameplay and strategic choices, so if you’re more of a “twitch gamer” then this might not be for you. If however you prefer your gaming to be a little more thoughtful and slower paced, then this certainly gives you a lot to do and think about.
Hardcore cycling fans may well be more picky about what is and isn’t included, but as someone new to the cycling gaming genre, this ticked many boxes for me. I would like to see even more customisation options for your team (importing photos maybe) and another graphical bump is always appreciated, but this has definitely got me interested in the Tour de France as both an event and a game.
Bien joué Cyanide S.A.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows