Published by Nacon and developed by Cyanide Studio, Tour de France 2020 is an intensely competitive experience in the world of cycling. Yes, I know, it’s a video game of cycling. How intense can it be? Well, let’s find out.
First things first. I need to make it clear that I am in no way a fan of cycling as a sport outside the Olympics. This is my first time playing a title from this franchise. I have zero knowledge of what the different colored jerseys signify. And I’d be lying if I said that my first impression of the game wasn’t underwhelming. That said, I also have to admit that toughing it out can be rewarding depending on your maturity level and interest in or knowledge of the sport.
Visually the game is a bit of a mixed bag. The sky and distant environment are quite pretty to look at, but on the flip side the up close environments and textures are often quite weak. Pop ups occur quite often and there is also some issues when the game loads in the next section of the road that causes the game to freeze or stutter momentarily. This problem is exacerbated when you have your rider in follow mode as you tend to get disconnected from the rider you’re following. It seems that all cyclists look exactly alike as the developers use the exact same character model for every rider in the race. This kind of takes away from the awards at the end of each leg of the race, coming across a little lazy. Even the visual pop in is surprising when you consider the slow pace of the game.
Sound design is rather quiet, though I suppose this is for the sake of immersion – but it could put you to sleep. Crowds gather on the uphill climbs to cheer on the cyclists as they go by. On the descents you will hear the wind in your ears. On flat straights you will hear your own breathing as you pedal hard to catch up to the breakaway riders. When you approach your exhaustion point you’ll hear your own heartbeat. It’s all done moderately well, but is quite boring at the same time if you ask me. Even the random commentary does little to boost excitement levels.
While there are many strategies to employ while getting from point A to point B during any leg of the race, they may not be readily apparent if you are not a fan of the sport. I admit that my own understanding is lacking. That said, you will find that a majority of the time spent in Tour de France will be tucking in behind another rider and holding down the X button to follow behind the rider in front of you. Don’t worry though, the developers know that their game can be dull at times. While many games offer a rewind feature for when you make a mistake, in Tour de France they actually implement a fast forward feature so you can skip ahead to parts of the race where you can expect more drama. Basically you can play the game without actually having to play the game.
Still, once you get past the boredom and try to strategize your way through the race, Tour de France does have some depth to it. But because of the niche market for which it is made I don’t find it worth the price of admission. Even local co-op doesn’t save it. In my opinion, the developers could do well to package this with an exercise bike rather than a console release with gamepad controls.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.