Thursday, July 12, 2012
THE official videogame of London 2012 lets sports fans go for gold in 46 Olympic events and is the closest most of us will get to competing at the world’s biggest sporting jamboree.
London 2012: The Official Videogame of the Olympic Games
Format: Xbox 360 (also PS3, PC)
Age rating: 3+
THE official videogame of London 2012 lets sports fans go for gold in 46 Olympic events and is the closest most of us will get to competing at the world’s biggest sporting jamboree. Things get off to an impressive start, with well-drawn character models, detailed venues and expert commentary from sports reporter Seth Bennett and former athlete Allison Curbishley, although the lack of named athletes is a disappointment. Not being able to play as Usain Bolt in the 100m, Chris Hoy in the cycling or Tom Daley in the diving will undoubtedly upset many people.
The main Olympic mode lets you compete in two daily events, made up of qualifying rounds and the chance to grab a medal if you make it through to the finals. Like any collection of mini-games, some events are more fun than others, but you can put together a customised playlist to get rid of the ones you don’t like. For the most part, events rely on sporadic button mashing, timed flicks of the thumbstick and onscreen button prompts. Highlights include table tennis – where you use the right stick to apply spin to the ball – and swimming, which begins with rapid button presses as you power through the water before broadening out into the rhythmic rowing of the left and right sticks once you surface. Running events involve players hammering the A button to keep a pace bar topped up to maintain maximum speed, but overfill it by tapping too fast and your runner will lose his rhythm and slow up.
Diving and gymnastics are the game’s weakest links, relying on nothing more than feeble quick-time events, while a Kinect party mode adds absolutely nothing, with the 110m hurdles proving almost as exhausting as the real thing. Luckily all these events can be played with a normal controller, with up to four players competing against each other, while online multiplayer lets you represent your country of choice, with any points you’ve won being added to a global leaderboard.
London 2012 is a passable collection of sports-themed mini-games. The avoidance of prolonged bouts of button bashing is a plus, but there’s nothing here that really captures the imagination.