How do you review a game like Tour de France? I’m not shy to say that I put a lot of time into thinking on how to begin writing this up. This is such a niche game and frankly so boring at times that it is incredibly hard to find words. I love cycling in nature, I occasionally watch Tour de France on television but actually playing it on my Xbox was like cycling with two flat tires and a stolen bicycle saddle. Please understand, this review is written for Tour de France lovers, who know every small tactical detail, who eat and sleep with cycling, for everyone else it is a nice video game if you’re having troubles falling asleep.
What we liked!
- It is best in something! What a world, right? And what a terrible year! Huge forest fires in Australia, heat records in the Antarctic continent, US that released freaking UFO videos and obviously all the COVID-mess. Many people are facing insomnia at the moment, and to be honest that’s the new normal now. Good news though, the gameplay is that dull in Tour de France that this is a perfect game to snooze with. While there is a fast-forward option there just isn’t much else to do than stay behind other riders or watching your virtual rider go through the environments.
- Sound: The above might be a lame joke but something Tour de France 2020 does well is the sound! Hearing the crowd yell in French or the wind while you go downhill is very well done, same with your characters breathing. You don’t have to look at the meters as the breathing of your character gives a good indication on your overall energy.
- Tactical depth: Great for players who actually know when to “demarrage” (going full sprint) or when to follow the discipline from your team. My point is that regular players simply won’t know when to stay in the peleton (main group or pack of riders) or break away from it. It is great that all these tactics are available for those hardcore cycling gamers, so if that’s your thing be sure to try Tour de France 2020!
- Environments look good, upclose not so much … You don’t have much else to do than look at the environments while cycling and they did a pretty good job, things aren’t that great when you start to look up close though. Weirdly enough every rider looks the same, as if every cyclist is a clone from a fake Egan Bernal or something. Cars parked on the side of the road for example look like they escaped from a PS2 game. I was impressed when I saw all the riders together, that’s about the only time when this game got my excited.
What we disliked
- Performance issues: So get this, you have a button so you follow a rider in front of you. That’s great and all but the game has a serious bug that happens once in a while, your screen completely freezes for a second and your rider immediately stops the follow command and you lose precious energy catching up speed again. This didn’t happen rarely but almost in every single race, really frustrating.
- Underwhelming gameplay: There is just no way around this, I was boring myself to death and I’m fairly interested in Tour de France. I just can’t imagine anyone really loving this gameplay loop of doing… nothing. Sure you press buttons and you choose tactics but it just isn’t enough to keep the yawning away.
Tour de France 2020 is a game that will only be enjoyed by hardcore Tour-fans, everyone else will have to face so many boring moments and underwhelming gameplay that I can only recommend to start cycling in real, much better for your health.