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Tour de France 2023 Review 


Where do Nacon and Cyanide Studios go with their Tour de France video game franchise?

It’s a question we’ve been considering for years, having taken in every annual iteration for the last decade or so, disappointed by the most minimal of changes with each new version. In fact, over that time of playing these official video games of the greatest cycle race in the world, we can probably count the number of really significant changes on one hand. 

Although significant new features are the least of the problems. This, as a series, has only ever seen the smallest of graphical changes, and it very much feels like the audio is ripped across from one to the other with each new release. Gameplay rarely changes either. Copy and paste has been the friend of Nacon and Cyanide in the past.

Basic game modes are extremely familiar too – although we understand that only so much can be done with a ‘cycling’ game. Jump on a bike, ride it. With the niche that is being worked with, you can forgive that. 

tour de france 2023 review 1
The Tour de France awaits

And so we come to Tour de France 2023 in hope. Hope that the roadbook has been ripped up, new ideas have been implemented and visual changes are plentiful. 

With fear of spoiling the review, those amendments are extremely minimal once again. But, and whisper it, I think that after all these years, things are slowly coming together for Nacon, Cyanide and the Tour de France games. It’s not anywhere near a GOTY contender and it’s still not even the best ‘cycling’ game on the market – hi, Lonely Mountains: Downhill – but the small improvements and feature additions that have been implemented could well make this the best TDF game yet. The bar ain’t that high though and it probably says more for what has come before it, than what is on offer for 2023. 

If you have ever played one of these games before, you’ll know what to expect. If you haven’t, it’s fairly simple. Tour de France 2023 will task you with riding the official route of the 2023 Tour de France, taking charge of the official teams and riders as you go. Whether you focus on one rider, or work your way through the team, issuing instructions as the race dictates, pretty much all your cycling needs and directeur sportif dreams are included. 

Riding tempo, sprinting, chasing down the breakaway as you stay safe in the peloton; Tour de France 2023 works okay as a bike racer. Chugging down energy gels will ensure that glycogen levels stay high too, with you needing to keep an eye on these throughout. Just keep away from the dreaded bonk and life will be fine. If anything, it ensures this doesn’t turn into a full-on button mashing affair.

Taking in stages in real time is more than doable, but it must be said that anyone running entire stages and races at standard speed should be seen as a glutton for punishment. There’s a reason the devs allow for fast forwarding through stages to prime moments, or the opportunity to skip to the end of stages entirely. We’ve never been fans of complete stage skips, but the fast forwarding of the action is an utter godsend. Don’t be afraid to use it. 

tour de france 2023 review 2
Mash that A button for the sprints

Utilisation of tactics and strategy is all part of bike racing and Tour de France 2023 allows for this replication in the virtual world. Yes, you’ll need to become one with the plethora of in-race menus and sub-menus, but once you understand what is needed to ‘enthuse’ your team, all is good. 

The full Tour route is front and centre of this game, but there are other Monuments and Classics also available. Again, there’s nothing particularly new in terms of previous franchise titles, but it’s always appreciated to be able to race elsewhere. The Critérium du Dauphiné, Paris-Nice, Liège–Bastogne–Liège, Paris-Roubaix, the Vlaanderen Classic and Giro di Como are in house. There are even the World Championships at Imola, Dusseldorf and more to take in. Rarely does anything separate these once in-race, but at least these give the chance to test your riding skills over a variety of terrains, including the dreaded cobbles. 

There are also inclusions of Pro Team and Pro Leader modes. As the name suggests, these let you take control of a ‘Team’ or a ‘Pro’, with a faint whiff of Ultimate Team stylings seeping through. It’s not nearly as in-depth as that, but at least you’ll get to create a team of has-beens and whip them into shape over multiple events and seasons, all in hope of eventually coming out on top. Away from the main race events, these could be seen as reasonable feature additions, but again, little has changed from years gone by. 

And then there are the time-limited Challenges of the Moment. 

For us, the short, sharp challenge options found in the most recent Tour de France games have always allowed for a bit of excitement; some quick time wasting opportunities when full stages and 21-race long events are out of the question. 

Tour de France 2023 comes with two options this year – Race of the Moment and Downhill of the Moment. Both are time-limited and running on an ever-rotating schedule (which is fully dependent on Cyanide continuing to support things going forward), as you put your skills to the test and compete against others around the globe for leaderboard bragging rights. Whether it be a few stages in which you are left to post your fastest time, or the ‘A’ button sprint mashing of the Downhill descent one-off events, these once again prove to be highly addictive. Personally we’d like more depth to them, as once a time is set and some points have been thrown onto a leaderboard, it’s very much a one-and-done. But for the competitive cyclists, it’s the closest thing you’re going to get to some multiplayer Tour de France fun. 

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A bit of downhill fun?

However you play, control-wise and Tour de France 2023 is okay. But you may find that actual control of a rider and bike can feel extremely twitchy. You’ll constantly find yourself bumping and grinding other riders too, coming to complete standstills as barriers come into play. But it’s nowhere near as bad as previous games in which riding through spectators and barriers was commonplace, so credit must go to improvement in that area. Never did I think that falling off a bike could be so much fun. 

And Tour de France 2023 actually looks fairly decent as well. Stages are well-created and backgrounds can be detailed – to an extent. It’s a shame that standard cookie cut riders continue to be front and centre though. This is no more true than in the poorly presented, pretty laughable, podium cutscenes that feel at least five years out of date. In fact, they are nearly bad enough to put you off playing entirely as not a single rider looks like they do in real life. Surely some kind of visual representation of our lycra-clad cycling gods should be the next step the series takes…

But that said, there are new bikes and it seems licenses have been established for a number of brands. Cervelo are in place, as are Canyon, Ridley and Specialized, with the Tarmac SL7 sitting in S-Works trim. Yet big names are very much in the minority with generic non-brands still featuring. That may not bother a non-cyclist, but it’s the nerdy detail that is sometimes key to success.

And then we get to the audio and sound. We’re not really sure what we can say about this aside from the fact that it rarely, if ever, excites. It feels phoned in, ported direct from previous games, with just a smattering of new lines included. Ultimately, cycling is a tricky one to get right audibly, and it’s here where Tour de France 2023 utterly fails. Don’t get me wrong, there’s some good detail in the directeur sportif and commentary breakdowns on occasion, but we’ve been left shocked at the repetition and inconsistencies rather than buoyed by the info provided. 

tour de france 2023 review 3
It’s all about the tactics…

So we leave unshocked by what has been delivered in Tour de France 2023. Again, we are slightly disappointed that we’re once more playing the same game that we have for years gone by. Yet, in there somewhere, this one finally feels like it has just enough about it for cycling fans, or those intrigued by the brilliance of the greatest bike race in the world, to consider jumping in. 

Much like in the real world, as Tadej Pogačar and Jonas Vingegaard look to repeat the racing of the last few years, Tour de France 2023 continues to run the tried and tested route. However, whilst that real world racing constantly excites and wows, the virtual replication again struggles to reach the summit in the lead. 

Tour de France 2023 is probably the best Tour de France game so far, but don’t expect this one to go ripping up the race. It’s still nothing more than a mid-peloton domestique.


  • The chance to ride the Tour de France route
  • Plenty of other Classics to enjoy
  • Challenges of the Moment are nice quick hitters
  • If you don’t utilise fast-forward, it’s a big bore
  • The audio is pretty poor
  • Does it ever really excite?
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Nacon
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, PC
  • Release date and price - 8 June 2023 | £41.74
Neil Watton
Neil Wattonhttps://www.thexboxhub.com/
An Xbox gamer since 2002, I bought the big black box just to play Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee. I have since loved every second of the 360's life and am now just as obsessed with the Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S - mostly with the brilliant indie scene that has come to the fore. Gamertag is neil363, feel free to add me to your list.
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>The chance to ride the Tour de France route</li> <li>Plenty of other Classics to enjoy</li> <li>Challenges of the Moment are nice quick hitters</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>If you don’t utilise fast-forward, it’s a big bore</li> <li>The audio is pretty poor</li> <li>Does it ever really excite?</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Nacon</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, PC <li>Release date and price - 8 June 2023 | £41.74</li> </ul>Tour de France 2023 Review 
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