Developed by Cyanide Studio and published by Focus Home Interactive, Tour de France 2017 brings players yet another trip to the world famous cycle race. Most of my gaming library typically consists of shooters, RPG’s, and puzzle games, and not only was Tour de France 2017 a fresh change to my usual poison, but my first experience of the series. Plugging somewhere north of eight hours into the game, I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised by the depth and management, but that’s not to say that the game comes without issues.
Tour de France 2017 is mindful of newcomers, and offers up tutorials via the training mode. These give you the basics of play, such as controls, team comm, energy management, and so on and so forth. It’s most definitely a place I suggest you pay a visit to if this is your first venture into the series. The tutorials do well at informing you, giving you easy instructions, and setting you up in a comfort zone. When you’re finished here, there’s a total of four other modes that you can take to, being Pro Team, Tour, My Tour, and Challenge.
Pro Team allows you to play in co-op or solo, and sees you creating your own team. You’re allowed to name your team, choose who you have cycling for you, and select a sponsor. You do indeed only begin with little funding, but the task of pleasing your sponsor and gaining good results will see you working towards earning money, and in turn, more races, more sponsors and better riders. Tour pushes you into a selection of different races, including the titular Tour de France 2017, which can again be played in solo and co-op, as well as versus. Here, you can customise your own tournament as well as simulate the races, which in essence will let you sit back and watch as everything unfolds.
In My Tour, you can craft your own race and select your own stage. You’ll earn XP by finishing a stage or completing a set task, which will go towards unlocking races in the aforementioned Tour. Challenge on the other hand is a downhill race that can be taken to via solo or versus. The faster your time is, the better your chance at nabbing one of the fabled medals, which as expected, come in Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Earning these medals will help you to extend the experience by unlocking more challenges for you to enjoy. There’s certainly no denying that Tour de France 2017 brings enough content to the table, that’s for sure.
Gameplay tends to be a case of balancing your capabilities. You can speed up, slow down, and cruise. However you need to do so whilst keeping a close eye on your stamina. You’ll need to ensure that you simply don’t peg it to the finish line as fast as you can, as you’ll quickly become the Hare in what’s essentially a well structured Tortoise race. Carefully juggling your resources is key to success, and if you can successfully blend together your speed, energy, and exhaustion, into a winning formula, you shouldn’t have too much trouble making it through. You can even give your teammates orders to aid you on your way to the finish line, which throws in another layer of tactics.
The visuals are hardly going to be winning any awards anytime soon, but the decent selection of locations collectively offer up some diversity, which helps to prevent the game feeling stale. You’ll be racing through some iconic surroundings, ranging from France, England, Germany, and more. Despite the substandard visuals, the developers have clearly put in the effort to make each location feel authentic and representative. Sadly, it’s also just as clear that certain locations look much richer than others.
Regardless as to where you’re peddling, each environment is littered with crowds of fans that are cheering on their favourite cyclist. This, along with the well set crisp audio, makes Tour de France 2017 feel more immersive. You genuinely feel excited as you pass a crowd that’s gunning for you to win, to then move on to the open road with nothing but the sound of rattling chains and rubber scraping tarmac. I honestly didn’t expect the game to feel so energetic, and somewhat peaceful.
Unfortunately, there are some bugs you should be aware of. There were times when the game would stutter, especially when going through masses of crowds, and one instance that saw me slow down to a snail pace (for no good reason) in Germany when following another rider. This naturally pushed me back into the lower positions, and as such, annoyed the hell out of me. Hopefully the developers can fix these problems up soon, because as it stands, although these are only minor issues, they can really hurt the fun-factor. Especially when you’re over halfway through a large track.
Tour de France 2017 is a well made game and there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that this will please fans of the series. It’s even a good starting point for newcomers. The game houses plenty of content to dive into, and pushes forward some decent solid mechanics to tie the gameplay up neatly. That being said, despite the varying environments, the visuals are substandard and the bugs within will certainly derail any fun you’re having when they make themselves known. Nevertheless, it’s a worthwhile entry to the series, if indeed an overly priced one.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.