The summer of sport is about to begin.
The Euros is on the way, the Olympics is coming up - but the first sporting game release of the summer belongs to Tour de France 2021 - the official video game of the third most-watched sporting event in the world.
Tour de France 2021 Trailer
At first glance, Tour de France 2021 looks much the same as last year's game.
The inclusion of a clearer strip stream will be one of the first thing's you notice, but other areas may take a while for you to realise, like more realistic peloton behaviour and a new recovery mechanic.
The gameplay may be more or less the same, but for die-hard fans who know the Tour inside-out, having this year's route that starts in Brittany is perhaps a key factor.
For first-timers, seeing every single competitor look virtually identical may not entice you- but besides, you'll spend most of the time looking at the back of their heads.
Of course, you may just want to plug straight into the most famous cycling event of them all, but Tour de France 2021 does have plenty of playing options.
This is where you can compete in the biggest cycling tours in the world, most notably the Tour de France.
As you pick up XP in your races you can unlock other tournaments and become a cycling great.
Here is the complete list:
- Tour de France
- Criterium du Dauphine (400 XP req.)
- Paris - Nice (400 XP req.)
- Open Tour (100 XP req.)
- Les 3 Jours de Provence
- Breizh Cup (100 XP req.)
There's also single-stage competitions to play and unlock:
- Paris Roubaix
- Vlaanderen Classic (100 XP req.)
- Innsbruck (200 XP req.)
- London (400 XP req.)
- Imola (600 XP req.)
- Giro di Como (1000 XP req.)
Lastly, you can also choose "My Tour" allowing you to select the stages you fancy to create the ultimate race from around Europe.
This year it has greater customisation options with 89 stages available.
If you're a managerial mastermind, then you'll want to try your hand at Pro Team.
Here you can manage your team and move up the world ranking in order to be invited to the most prestigious races, and recruit the best riders.
Choose your team name, your jersey as you commence or your road to glory save, as you start from the bottom and look to make it to the top of world cycling.
Pro Leader is the single-player version of Pro Team, in which you control a rider instead of the team.
Your objective is to become the best rider possible and dominate the individual Pro Cycling ranking.
To progress, you need to achieve career objectives, with each objective earning you money.
Tour de France 2021's realism is incredible, but that could get some potential players to put the breaks on.
You do have the option of simulating the stages that are not relevant to you, but with some of them taking the best part of an hour - playing through all 21 stages will be just as gruelling as the real thing.
If you have plenty of patience, can master "following" other riders to utilise their slipstream, as well as team comms to share the workload - then you're on track for success.
With just a couple of weeks to go until the start of this year's Tour, the official video game may just prove too difficult to resist.
RealSport Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)