One of the biggest gameplay decisions that Cyanide included in previous Pro Cycling Manager titles and which seems to also be present in this year’s installment is whether to follow on a mountain in order to keep up with attackers or to use a rider’s whole energy in a powerful attack designed to distance competitors.
In the real world of cycling the Grand Tours, most stage races and some classics are decided on uphill sections of the course where the most powerful of the riders taking part can use their superiority in order to distance their rivals.
Of course, teams are very important because they offer support and protection and because leaders need their teammates to set the pace and to help them get to the front before the final attack.
But even the best drilled team cannot succeed if it does not have a strong rider ready to take advantage of an opportunity at a crucial moment or to respond to an attack coming from a big rival.
Once a member of the peloton manages to get a small gap between himself and the rest of the cyclists, his competitors need to decide whether they want to instantly respond to his attack or to simply ride at their own pace and get to the finish line.
In Pro Cycling Manager, the core race concepts are pretty similar to the real world, but gamers have long reported that powerful attacks, which use up both the yellow and the red bars of a simulated cyclist, tend to produce underwhelming results.
Basically, it’s a better idea to just try to follow attacks and ride using the dot setting for a powerful rider than to put him on the front and launch a strong attack.
The AI does not seem to entirely grasp this, which means that its best riders tend to often use up their energy in futile attacks that can be countered rather easily.
A good player will try to keep his best cyclist sheltered at all times, use his team to bring back attacks and once their energy is depleted, just follow attacks in order to mostly unify them.
This tends to create a situation where the spectacle of real-world major races does not appear in Pro Cycling Manager 2014.
Cyanide is still patching the game, but for now, it’s better to sometimes forget about this gameplay element in order to increase the level of excitement in the title.