Le Tour de France 2011 Reviews

AuthorReview
Fariko Lymp
101,655 (71,051)
Fariko Lymp
TA Score for this game: 379
Posted on 30 July 11 at 15:09, Edited on 31 July 11 at 03:41
This review has 13 positive votes and 0 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Have you ever bought a game knowing full well that it is likely to be crap ... just because you like the subject?

Enter Le Tour de France 2011!!!

Now I'm the first to admit that cycling games in general are rubbish, pedaling along a stretch of road for hours on end doesn't spell "gaming success" to any would be publisher. In saying that, the one company that makes the best cycling games, CYANIDE have finally brought out a retail cycling game for us fans on a console. Forget the woeful, steaming pile of manure that was their arcade attempt, this game is actually fun to play.

Gameplay

Button mashing not your thing? Thank goodness there is no mashing in this game. Pedaling is automatic and you control how much effort is put in by the rider and their position on the road. Pressing or holding B increases their effort, whilst Y allows them to brake. For attacks, you can press or hold A but you only have a limited amount of power for attacks (although it does regenerate when you are not pushing yourself). This leads on to what makes the game fun .... the tactics. Managing your stamina, power and energy through each stage and over the tour as a whole is important to succeed. Drafting, paying attention to the wind, the race profile and attacking are all very important. But as every cycling fan knows, it is a team sport and thankfully this has been considered in Le Tour de France. The inclusion of being able to communicate with your team, your team manager and other riders via headset or just chatting next to them is how you can form an alliance, crawl back that breakaway or just protect your lead. For example, you can offer an opponent in the breakaway the stage victory, if they help you by doing most of the work in the relay. Along with managing your energy and your tactics, you must also consider the potential dangers of the race. Fly down a hill too quickly or get to close to the edge of the road and you may crash your bike, potentially costing valuable seconds or energy as you need to fight back to the peloton (although you can call back team-mates to help you back, via the headset). Each stage lasts for about 15 minutes and is broken up into only playing the most interesting points of the stage, which can be annoying at times as you can't control some of the chances to get points. The field is also smaller than real life as there are only 6 riders per team, although you do get to pick which 6 you would like to compete with.

Graphics

As is the case with most of these games, graphics is not a high priority. The stages are quite nice though and supporters will wave flags and cheer from the sidelines, they will also intrude on the course and run up those steep mountains with you. There are windmills and cows in the background and for the most part, the draw distance is quite good with the only exception being the fields which pop up out of nowhere, which is a real shame as it often destroys the authentic experience. It would've been nice if the crowds were bigger and if there were more castles and TDF montages in the background. I was also disappointed that there was no chalk writing on the roads. The riders all look quite nice and their jerseys (where possible) faithfully recreated. There are no numbers though, which was quite odd and I would've also liked to see armbands and championship jerseys included. Noticeably there are no camera, team, referee cars, bikes etc Seeing the policeman waving his little yellow flag for dangerous areas would've made my day, however it was not to be.

Sound

The worst part of the game by far. The music is repetitive and boring, there is a commentary option but you'll soon find out that all the commentator does is introduce the stages. The sounds of the bikes are dull and there is no other sound from the peloton. The TDF sounds are often so unique, it's a real shame that there are no car horns or chatter from the riders. The crowd always cheers the same, even if there is only one person on the side of the road, it sounds like a thousand cheering ... what is so hard about adding a clap sound from one or two people? The game is best played with your own music or on mute.

Achievements

Prepare for a grind! The achievements are mostly dependent on playing the game quite a lot. You must finish in the top 10 for 5 tours in a row with the same rider, win all the jerseys at once, win all the mountain stages, not to mention completing a tour with every single team, that's 22 tour de frances for that one achievement alone!



In closing, there is no online play (probably a good thing) and the game consists only of the tour de france, nothing else (no other races or doping mini-games). Most of the teams and cyclists are licensed however you will be racing against Cadel Evins from the CMB team but it is quite enjoyable for those who love the tour and appreciate the tactics behind these bike races.
Given 3 stars by Fariko Lymp
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Spellers
41,385 (29,123)
Spellers
TA Score for this game: 1,187
Posted on 31 May 12 at 11:11, Edited on 31 May 12 at 19:42
This review has 5 positive votes and 1 negative vote. Please log in to vote.
Most of us will remember have a bike as a kid, you'd ride around on it for no real reason but it definitely beat walking. For most of us we outgrew our bikes and moved on up to cars or motorbikes after all it's far faster and easier.
Some people never gave up on their bikes though. and as the rest of us do with cars they got to the point where the most obvious thing to do with their bike is race. Seemingly a cyclist was sat down one day and thought to himself not only can i cycle faster than everyone, i bet i can do it further! in fact i bet i can ride around all of France faster than anyone, and so the tour de France was born (I promise this is 100% historically accurate :p)

The tour de France has been around a long time, and is considered the pinnacle of cycling as a sport. Teams gather and race to prove they are the greatest as well as an individual race to prove who is the single best. In many ways it plays out a lot like the World Rally Championship.
This game made by Cyanide hopes to recreate the action and drama that makes this sport what it is.

Despite the fact there are now other grand tours, this game as its name suggests only focuses on one. The tour de France consists of 21 stage races, comprising of 19 individual races a team time trial and a individual time trial.
It's worth pointing our here that the people not too familiar with geography that France is a fairly big place. with some of these stages being 200km+ (120 miles for those that can't convert). Cyanide realised that the majority of this is not hugely exciting so as a player taking part you will race the most interesting sections of each stage.
This itself i found the biggest failing point of the game, you will often find you've worked your rider hard over a section and built up a decent lead only to see it vanish when the computer simulates for you, or a small gap for the computer becomes 10 minutes and you are powerless to fight against it.

Moving into the gameplay, you must first choose your team, you then get to select one of the riders from your 6 man team to control over each of the sections within a stage.
As the rider you must carefully control how they choose to exert themselves, The game offers you several energy bars that relate to your bust energy, high pace energy, and overall stamina.
The game is maybe best described as a strategy game rather than racing, as for the most part you will find yourself just pressing B or X to maintain your level of effort. You will not find any button mashing in this game.
As the stage progresses towards it's end you will come to the iconic sprint finishes, this is really where the strategy comes in as you must time you burst to try and snatch the win. In reality this means changing the button you press from B or X to A...

this basic patter continues over flat, hilly and mountainous stages. each of which require you to plan effectively and you the command system to get the help of your team mates as and when you need it. Personally i found the use of teammates to be largely ineffective.

Another feature of these races that needs to be considered is breakaways, sometimes a small group of daring riders will race away from the main group (Peloton) and try to survive out in front long enough to finish ahead. again you must choose to either go and risk wearing yourself out, or stay with the group and help chase them down later in the stage, or if you can't decide you can instruct one of your teammates to make the attack potentially helping your team in the long run. for those that like a bit of excitement you'll find it hard to not either make a breakaway or go with one even when it seems like a poor decision, riding with the group is boring at best.

The game tries to add an extra bit of flavour by allowing you to form alliances with other teams and riders either in the breakaway or the peloton to help you chase the break down or maintain the lead. Again whilst this is a nice touch the actual value of it in game is limited.

Graphically i found the game 'strange' to look at, the cyclists themselves are well rendered with good attention to detail and the scenery is passable, but for some reason i suspect to add an action feel everything is given a slight fuzzy/blurred edge which makes it all fell a bit odd, and i don't think it did my eyes any favours either ;s.

Ultimately this game has to be put down as something you'll only really enjoy if your already a fan of the race itself. Most teams and cyclists are licensed and it does bring out the strategy involved. Sadly it just as a game isn't all that entertaining for the non enthusiast.

As a final note the achievements on this are obnoxiously difficult and longwinded, so for those looking just for another game to 100% this is another reason to steer clear of this title.
Given 2 stars by Spellers
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