Cycling and gaming are in a failed marriage. The kind of marriage in which you kinda want to leave each other, but still stay together for the children. I am one of those children and I hate it that cycling and gaming can’t figure out their shit together.
I am sure I have some brothers and sisters out there who know my pains. Pro Cycling Manager is the only cycling game out there, but it is very flawed to put it mildly. The first PCM I played was 2007 and since then I bought a few others, each time hoping it would be a more acceptable game. I was dissapointend every time, but I still own about four PCM games and I make fifty virtual cycling hours a year.
Because the games are so flawed, I never buy one at release, actually I always buy the previous season and I only buy PCM every other year. This way the game has been patched by Cyanide Studios and by the very active community. Custom databases bring the roster up-to-date and then you might have a somewhat playable game. Last week it was PCM 2014’s turn, because it was only €4,99. The database I downloaded from Daily PCM was very complete and 2014 had good reviews, so I was once again hopeful.
The first thing I noticed was the interface overhaul – bear in mind, I compare it to PCM 2012 – and the less annoying music. During the first race I actually began to smile since the engine has improved a lot and I was actually able to play it on higher settings on my laptop than I could with PCM 2012. So far so good and after roughly ten hours in career mode, I only had about 2 crashes.
The database I have is pretty neat as well, mostly because it has an IKEA shirt. I mean who doesn’t want to have a cycling team sponsored by furniture and Swedish meatballs. (seems like it actually exists) So within minutes I founded the IKEA Plündra Cykel team from Sweden. Only problem is that Sweden has a disturbing low amount of cyclists. After Larsson and the brothers Ludvigsson there aren’t any riders that are going to win anything. I added a few dutch guys to the mix (also tall and blond so they won’t stand out) to fill the gaps in my selection.
I have a pretty decent sprinting train with Ahlstrand and Vermelfoort, and Ludvigsson takes care of the more elevated terrain and time trials. We ride on continental level and won about 5 races before the end of March. We will not be winning the Tour de France any time soon though, but that is not a big issue for me. As long as IKEA supports the team, we will ride!