London 2012: The Official Video Game
The Olympics are as always a highlight for athletes as well as for those at home, watching their TV in awe to the spectacular achievements and accompanying emotions. Those who received less sportive talents from mother nature, but do have a PC or console, hope every four years to get a beautiful game that manages to translate all aspects of the Games to the virtual world. And more often than not this ends in a disappointment. London 2012: The Official Video Game of the Olympic Games manages to do just a tidbit better than usual and will keep the family interested during the few hours there’s nothing to be seen on TV. However, the makers won’t be getting a gold medal for it (and we promise, this is the only cliche in the review!).
As you can expect the most fun aspect of SEGA’s game is hidden in the multiplayer possibilities. Those who have to play alone will have to do with a career mode where you get to lead a national team through a number of different events. Don’t expect RPG elements, real choices or a more strategic approach. You get to do the different disciplines in the same way: qualifiers and then the finals for the medals. That’s about it, and even if you’ll be happy to hear there’s 30 sports to be checked out, this mode still doesn’t carry a lot of soul.[Gallery not found]
Once done with that it’s time to improve your score and put it on the global leaderboards or play against a friend, where the latter makes everything a bit more fun. Probably athletics will become one of your favorite categories and for once you don’t need to exhaust yourself with bashing buttons. The challenge is more in moving your sticks at the right time, something that isn’t only more pleasing but also gives more room for improvement.
There’s of course tons more – and often less well-done – sports like table tennis, cayak, road race, weight lifting, trampoline jumping (which is QTE-based), the frustrating swimming where rythm is very important, and one of my favorites: arrow shooting. It should come as no surprise this latest one translates very well to the PS3. In some sports you can also use the Move but also here it’s the shooting-related ones that get the best implementation.
The devs put a lot of effort in realistic animations and well-finished graphics, although it’s clear there was no more time or budget available to put individual athletes in the game so you can recognise them. Too bad, even if it doesn’t make that much difference in gameplay and we would only know who’s who in the most well-known sports. The stadiums and different buildings on the other hand were recreated up to the smallest detail and you’ll recognise everything from what you saw on TV..
London 2012 is a game that plays smoothly, but you’ll quickly find a couple of sports that you have fun with, and most of all a number you really won’t enjoy during your virtual career. If you’ve got friends coming by then this is definitely a title to check out as long the Games are on. Once the hype is over you’ll probably go back to more specialized sports games. The charm is in the license and trying out different sports, but there’s little more to keep you interested.