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Focus Interactive Le Tour De France review

Simon Handby
17 Aug 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
30
inc VAT

There's a good game somewhere inside le Tour de France, but it's hiding behind a dated engine and patchy gameplay

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Specifications

Every sport has one event that’s guaranteed to grab your attention; in football it’s the World and European Cups, in tennis it’s Wimbledon and in cycling it’s unquestionably the Tour de France. This year’s three-week epic covered over 2,000 miles in 21 stages, with wheel-to-wheel racing at 50mph and top speeds approaching a terrifying 70mph on the fastest descents.

If, like us, you’re too old, fat or petrified to compete, you’ll probably be glad to know there’s also a game. Le Tour de France is essentially the console-only version of Cyanide Studio’s long-running Pro Cycling Manager franchise. We’ve not looked too kindly on the excessive wheel-selecting and account-balancing drudgery of previous editions in the past, but thankfully there’s none of that for Xbox and PS3 users. The developer has stripped the management controls back to quick and simple squad selection, after which you can get stuck into the racing itself.

Players new to the franchise aren’t given much help from the tutorial, which is a disappointing collection of still images that provide little extra information over the printed manual. Instead, you have to learn as you progress through the main game; it’s possible to play any single stage from the Tour, or to sign up for the full race with a team of your choice. However, despite being the ‘official videogame’ of the event, teams such as Guepard Trik (Leopard Trek) and riders like Andy Shlock (Andy Schleck) suggest the developer struggled to get all the necessary licenses in time for release.

Tour de France 4

Descents: you're doing it wrong

Each stage of the race is split between playable sections, where you control one or more of your team’s riders, and simulations where you can only watch the race unfold. Although these help prevent single stages taking hours to complete, they become frustrating because you have almost no control over your team. It seemed that no matter where we left our rider as the playable section ended, we’d return to find him swallowed up in the peloton.