Pro Cycling Manager is so effortlessly baffling we’re not even sure what it’s called. It says Pro Cycling Manager Season 2008 Le Tour de France on the pdf manual – which we looked at a lot, but the press release calls it Pro Cycling Manager Tour De France 2008. Amazon calls it Pro Cycling Manager 2008 - Le Tour de France. Whatever.
Yet Pro Cycling Manager is not concerned with making sense, even if it is so entirely sensible you could wear it as a vest. It assumes you’re not only already an expert in the minutiae of international cycling team management, training, tactics, talent-spotting and injuries, but expert in the use of this particular, rather unfriendly sim. It does less to explain what, how and why it does anything than John Prescott did. Consequently, working the pimpled screen of grey buttons, icons and stats is something like waking up to find you’re the captain of an Airbus coming into Hong Kong in a night storm, while a hostess wearing more makeup than anyone could bring on as hand luggage is saying, “So what are we going to do about the landing gear, hero?”
There is a tutorial, but it focuses on the woeful-looking 3D races and merely explains what six or seven things out of roughly 86 billion do. You’re unlikely to remember anyway, as the icons are impressively unintuitive. So using (we won’t say ‘playing’) the spreadsheet-style main chunk of the game requires much study of that pdf manual – and even then it’s a horror to navigate. The fact is, you must bring so much effort to the PCM equation – a simple interest in bikes won’t do – that it’s hard to think of it as a game. It’s hard to think of it at all.
Aug 7, 2008