A good game for a very select demographic.
Pro Cycling Manager 2016 on PC
When it comes to games that are immensely complex and filled to the brim with detail, I don’t think there’s much beyond the simulation genre. Pro Cycling Manager 2016, a simulator that puts players in control of their own professional cycling team, is no different. This is a game that is absolutely jam-packed with information and demands a lot of its players in terms of keeping everything balanced and trying to come out on top.
Let’s start with the basics of Pro Cycling Manager. As the name implies, players will be managing a team of cyclists throughout the year as they compete in races around the world. This means keeping an eye on rider fitness, illnesses, injury, and more in addition to keeping the overall direction of the team in mind. Staying competitive means developing new equipment, keeping the sponsors happy, and making sure your cyclists are happy, ready to go, and able to succeed.
The bulk of Pro Cycling Manager takes place in a complex menu system that allows players to review important messages from team doctors, sponsors, and news from around the league. Within these menus, players will assign their riders to upcoming races, manage the development of new gear, and manage a number of other things to keep the team afloat and the ever-important sponsors happy.
Speaking of sponsors, Pro Cycling Manager does a pretty good job of forcing players to keep the money in mind. Much of the daily management of the team is in the player’s hands, but your sponsor will have a handful of selected races that you will be required to participate in. Paired with these, of course, are high expectations of success; after all, no sponsor wants to keep throwing money at a team who’s not taking their logo to the leaderboards.
Pro Cycling Manager’s weakest point, by far, is the races themselves. During races, players have complete control over micro-managing their team, from choosing who’s up to grab water for the crew to tweaking strategies real time. Passionate cycling fans will likely find some great stuff here, but the hands-on approach and reliance on knowledge of the sport going in are a barrier to others. Long loading times and some game-delaying or game-crashing bugs crop up here, as well.
Of course, Pro Cycling Manager 2016 doesn’t only offer a single way to play. In addition to your flourishing management career, players can indulge in a Pro Cyclist Mode in the role of a rider, participate in one-off races, and compete in online multiplayer events to prove their mettle. Disappointingly, though, there’s not much more to any of this than in the game’s last annual release. A few tweaks here and there feel more like a patch to existing content than a new game.
Ultimately, Pro Cycling Manager 2016 is a good game for a very select demographic. If you’re a cycling fan with an analytical mind and didn’t pick up the 2015 version, you may get your money’s worth. Otherwise, though, the game fails to build on past entries and is decidedly too detail-oriented to appeal to a wider audience. If you’re so inclined, pick the game up for a cool $39.99 on Steam, though it may be best saved for the inevitable sale later on down the line.
Score: 3/5 – Fair