Tag Archives: Focus Home Interactive

Haven Reviews: Pro Cycling Manager 2016

Racing is fun, we as a species loves to compete and loathe to lose. Yet very few of us have the time or the physique to actually be pro athlete.20160621153334_1Which is why we watch these events on the big screen, putting money and stock on the participants we want to win this darn thing. Be it  Le Tour De France or a more localized race, it all boils down to our will to win. Therefore there will always be a market for a good simulator game, such as the Pro Cycling manager series. Naturally I am a bit biased since I find that watching competitive sports bores me to tears.  It is one of the reasons I play games. I’m the kind of guy that likes to participate and if I cant do that, I’ll just find something else to do.

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Pro cycling manager caters to the cyclist crowd and the people who want to be in charge and to experience the thrill of watching a race whenever they feel like it. Though most of the time I spent watching spread sheets and clicking on menus and reading mail. Basically I had to mange a lot of things, such as the schedule, races, training, researching gear and much more.

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Once that is done I just hit continue and watch the days fly by. Until the calendar reach a day there is an even or a race. The pop-up windows during the transition is poorly implemented and blinks into existence in a way that really is annoying on the eyes.. Once I got to one of these bloody races, I could watch it unfold as an information sheet, or in real time 3d on the ground.

In this mode I can manipulate camera angles and hand out orders such as attack. A simple way of saying get ahead of the crowd. This mode has some serious issues and mildly amusing bugs. First and foremost the loading time is atrocious and my rig is fairly decent. I also had a case of the crowd spawning across the road. Not that this impacts game play at all, even if it’s most amusing. Every now and the commentator will chime in when a noticeable event occurs. After all accidents do happen and sometimes the cyclist will kiss the tarmac. Fortunately the commentator is not annoying or imposing which is a good thing. As for the sound effects and quality its quite decent indeed, especially the music. Then again there are only so many different noises a man on a bike can make. Unless he swears like a sailor due to an accident. Aside from the career mode where I had to manage a whole team until I ran the company to the ground or got tired of playing. Also feel free to add mods or custom races and events, there is a lot of extras and DLC out there. It is also compatible with steam workshop.

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There is a solo career as well, where I made a mostly custom cyclist that wants to make it into the pro circuits. Aside from the focus on one specific bicycler it is still a management game, with a crap ton of data spreadsheets. The multiplayer function is fairly decent and brings the ability to be social and competitive at the same time. A perfect time sink for an enthusiast. Personally I will not recommend this to anyone other than those that likes to play games and watch pro cycling in action. However Pro Cycling manager a fairly decent made game with some issues. However I have yet to encounter anything game breaking or game crashing. So all in all its a good management simulator.

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Lastly is our disclaimer. We received this game for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

Njål H Sand

Haven Review: Farming Simulator 2015

 

20160328153606_1In the past, the “simulator” game genre was pretty much exclusively made for people who were more into what the simulator was about, rather than gaming. These experiences were less about games, rather more about ways for people to get a small glimpse at jobs and hobbies that might be too imposing for amateur enthusiasts. For instance, flight sims were less for people interested in video games; more to capture the audience of airplane lovers. These titles gave you simple scenarios, but with more realistic controls.

There have been more wide-spread sim games, such as Sim City from Maxis. However these “sim” products were more strategy than true simulator. Recently we’ve an interesting trend with games that consider themselves to be simulators. A few European-developed titles try to bring the simulator experience to a wider audience. With the help of digital distributors like Steam, this was a little easier. These games (including Farming Simulator) eased up on the rigorous controls of a true sim and made it a bit more accessible to a common audience.20160322151444_1

At least one game in particular from this new practice took off tremendously and became the poster child for this genre. However, Farming Simulator is not that game. Although Farming Simulator does a lot to make itself seem inviting to curious newcomers, it still struggles with being accessible to people uninterested in the farming lifestyle. It turns out that farming is a pretty tedious and repetitive job, and Farming Simulator does not shy away from that at all.

Starting off you’re given three plots of land to farm, one of which already has fully grown wheat. You’re taught how to harvest the wheat, sell it and plant new seeds. That’s all. Get going, good luck. So you do that…and it takes forever. Seriously, it can take upwards of an hour to do just one of those jobs, depending on how slow you are at it. In addition to that, there are a billion other things you can do. You can buy animals and keep them. You can buy a chainsaw to cut down trees if you wish. If you want to sell your wheat to the train station instead of the grain depository, you can do that too. The game doesn’t tell you the benefits of either. All it gives are a few cryptic graphs and charts that may lead to figuring out the overall economy. There is also a day/night cycle in the game, but I never quite figured out what it was for. You don’t sleep or eat, you just rigorously toil away in the dirt ’til you make enough money to rigorously toil away somewhere else. I feel the nights are just there to mock you; to remind you that you’ve been working nonstop for a week just to plow and sow one field.20160328152556_1

Each day that passes you may learn something new. Not because the game tells you but just from slowly looking at the ever-fluctuating numbers and formulas the game presents. I bought some chickens because I had no idea what else to spend my money on. I sold the wheat and barley from my plots but made less than 10,000 euro. I checked out what I could buy for that and realized that even the most basic piece of hay-bailing machinery cost at least five times that amount. Chickens were cheap so I bought a few. Now I have the task of figuring out how to collect and sell the eggs. This game doesn’t place you into a world where you’re a farmer, but rather into a farming purgatory where the only thing you can do is more farming. It taunts you with NPCs who vacantly wander or drive around. Any sort of interaction was met with them phasing through you or stopping until you got out of their way.

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The game a wild labyrinth of possibilities and vague, unknowable ideas. Endless farming…dear God, the endless farming. I’m almost positive that deep within this game are the whispers of some eldritch truth, only found through the maddening turmoil of it’s futile discovery. This game is abstract. This game is tedium stretched to it’s very outer celestial limits. This game is filled with ancient pirate treasure. I don’t want to play anymore. I really don’t. But I’m forced to, driven by my own insane desire to plant one more goddamn crop. Also, it helps if you play while listening to a podcast.Farming sim

Disclaimer: We received this game because we wanted to review it, and as such all views in this article our are own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

-Jordan Kamm-