The Olympics, both summer and winter games, means the official video game to accompany it. It?s a practice that feels as if it stretches back to the ancient origins of the event. SEGA have been handling these Olympian tie-ins for quite a while now, so you?d expect them to know what they?re doing when it comes to the official videogame of the London 2012 games.
Overall the heavily titled London 2012: The Official Video Game of the Olympic Games
is fairly nice to look at. Everything?s nice and clean and there are also some nice (bright and cheerful) panoramic views.
The character models are a bit bland and plasticy and look sort of like a collection of sports-themed Barbie and Ken dolls, but at least they?re well-animated and avoid falling into the uncanny valley. It doesn?t do much to capture the presumed amount of spectacle the real thing will entail though.
This might be due in part to the lack of real licensed appearances by athletes set to compete at the real-life games; instead you have to put up with an endless army of bland J. Smiths and the like. Oddly you?re given the option to customise and rename every nation?s competitors for each event. However there are so many events and the options are so limited anyway that it?s not worth the time and effort to play around with.
?Fairly nice? presentation helps hold the game together. Even the loading screens are bright and colourful and cheerful. The soundtrack?s uplifting too, with a selection of chirpy elevator music-like theme tunes in the background.
The in-game commentary is adequately voiced and matches the action well. It is, however, also smugly condescending and frustration-inducing when things aren?t going your way. Aside from those moments of rage, ?Cheerful? is a pretty good word to sum up the tone, ?Cheerful? as you'd imagine the first meeting with a group of Scientologists who belive you're a millionaire to be. It?s refreshingly bright and positive, upbeat... you know... perky.
Perky as the voices in my head maybe, it has to be said that ?The Olympics Game? as I'll call the game from now on, makes for an incredibly shallow single-player experience though. There?s a campaign mode that lets you choose which events you enter each in-game day and tallies up your medal wins at the end to determine the winner. This can be a pretty lengthy experience but thankfully you?re able to back out and continue your campaign another time.
There?s a pretty wide range of events covered in the game, though some feel pretty samey thanks to shared control schemes. They do cover quite a few bases however. All of the events will test your timing and reflexes while the archery and shooting events will test your aim. Some events, such as kayaking and cycling, give you even greater control and let you freely race around the track which makes for a nice change.
Ultimately, however, despite the number of events available, each one is too shallow to provide lasting entertainment. Once you?ve gone a round or two on each you?ll have found which ones you enjoy or hate, and then stick with those until you lose interest.
I found the archery and shooting events entertaining, but quickly learned to hate volleyball and table tennis. The racing games are fun but there?s only one course and there are only so many times you can improve your best time before you?re pretty much done.
To its credit the game works hard to wring as much competition as it can out of the limited events, recording all of your best scores and regularly reminding you how you stack up on the online leader boards.
The game has a lot more meat to it once you add more players. Competing against other people will always be a bit more involving than going up against the AI and the events are simple enough that anyone should be able to jump in on reasonably equal footing.
It?s not all about competition however. The best part of the game is the Challenge Mode, a co-op mode where you and your friends team up to take on specific series? of games and perform well enough to earn star awards and unlock further challenges.
The required performance for the highest awards is quite high and should prove a suitable challenge for most players, but thankfully the requirement for unlocking the next challenge is much lower allowing less skilled players to at least scrape by and progress.
London 2012 is definitely fun enough to get by and will no doubt entertain anyone who gets really caught up in a patriotic sporting fever this summer. It?s a competently made game with a wide range of events there?s plenty for determined players to achieve across its various modes.
That said, its lack of depth and repetitive nature means it struggles to shine next to other games in the genre. As a sports-themed mini-game collection it?s outdone by plenty of Wii titles, and as a party game it?s just not fun enough to entertain for long. If you want a game of the Olympics however, it?s obviously unchallenged.
Really nice presentation.
Good variety of events.
Lack of content.
SPOnG Score: 6/10