Verdict: Not very fun.
In a Nutshell: This game didn’t pass qualifying.
“Experience the thrill and adrenaline of the Olympic Winter Games of Vancouver 2010! Carve your way down the slopes and across the ice as you aim to reach the pinnacle of your sport and claim a gold medal for your country.
Featuring only the fastest, highest and most spectacular events from the Olympic Winter Games, Vancouver 2010™ immerses the player, first person, in the adrenaline, danger and glory of the world’s greatest winter multisport event.”
- Fun Rating: Not fun
- ESRB: E for Everyone
- Players/Mode: single player: challenge, training and olympics modes. multiplayer: split screen or online
- Game Duration: A couple hours (more as replay of events interests you)
- System: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC
- Developer: SEGA, Eurocom
- Website: http://www.olympicvideogames.com/vancouver2010/
- Cost: $49.95
- Demo: Available on Xbox Live Marketplace, Playstation Network
|Would I play this again?||Maybe on rare occasion|
|Would I recommend this game?||No|
|Was the story good?||Not Applicable|
|Was the music good?||Not Really|
|Were the graphics good?||Yes|
|Was this game difficult?||Yes|
|Was this game frustrating?||Yes|
|Was this game offensive?||No- safe for the whole family|
|Was this game worth your time/money?||No|
Playing the game
Vancouver 2010 is inspired by the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympic Games. In the game you participate in 14 events including skiing, snowboarding, speed skating, and bobsledding. You control your athlete in events through a mix of analog stick control and quick time events that bear a great deal of similarity to rhythm games like guitar hero where you press the indicated button as you are directed to on screen. You can play alone or against friends via split-screen or Xbox Live and PlayStation Network online. In single player you can use training mode to learn individual events, play Olympics mode where you attempt to win a medal by beating the scores of computer competitors, or challenge mode where you complete specific non-traditional challenges such as knocking down snowmen on the ski slope or landing on a small target when ski jumping. Each event is treated as a separate challenge and generally lasts less than 5 minutes.
What the game gets right
Tutorials available before each event help to familiarize the player with each control scheme. The graphics are, for the most part very good. The characters are rendered well and the environments though limited have a realistic look to them. The ability to place your score against the worldwide leader board ads an extra layer of competitiveness and enjoyment to the events. The game interface is clean and easy to use allowing you to quickly select your desired event. Bobsledding, luging and skeleton give the you a pretty incredible sense of speed as you rocket through the series of turns. While I at no time felt like I was truly controlling the athlete, the ski jumping event was none-the-less quite addictive. I spent a good while trying to get my timing on the quick time button presses just right so as to get an extra bit of speed as a screamed down the jump. During my review of the game I didn’t have a chance to play against others but I’d bet it brings additional life to the game.
What the game gets wrong
I’m a fan of the Olympic games and the sense international unity, human struggle and athletic excellence that the games bring with them. Unfortunately I found the overall tone of the game far from Olympic. While you can choose to represent any of around two dozen country’s teams- you are simply given a generic character wearing the team colors. You cannot play as an actual real-world athletes. If anything this game would have been better done as an extreme winter sports game with its short-attention-span ADD pacing and bland alternative-rock soundtrack. Strangely the game also doesn’t follow the usual Olympic game model of having a qualifying run and then several medal attempts. The experience is quick and doesn’t leave you feeling embodying an olympic champion. Essentially the game feels like a bunch of mini-games with a thin facade of next generation graphics and sound thrown on top. The control of your athletes is done primarily through quicktime events and repetitive pressing of buttons. I was surprised how little use of the analog sticks there was and how “on rails” the majority of the events felt. In particular the speed skating controls were awful. Instead of simply using the analog stick to steer you, you must use the left bumper to lean into the turn while repeatedly pressing buttons to accelerate. Its a wonder how anyone on the development team thought this was a good control method and leads me to think the controls were an afterthought. There is a general lack of variety in the various game modes. One can simply play through a few times and memorize the course or downhill slope. The accumulated weak points of the game make it feel quickly put together, very arcadey, and not at all the Olympic winter sports simulator it could have been.
Sum it up
Perhaps my expectations have tainted my opinions of the game. I was hoping for a game that simulates the experience of bobsledding or downhill skiing, what I got was a simplified arcade experience. The game play experience feels half baked; if this had been released as an downloadable title on Playstation Marketplace or Xbox Live and game priced around $9-15 then I could recommend the game as a momentary diversion- but priced as a full price title many will be disappointed. In some ways it seems the developers were worried the Olympic games were too boring for todays audience so they had to try to make it more young, fast and exciting- the end result is a shallow experience. If you are bored and have a few friends over might be able to grab an hour or so of entertainment out of the game before giving up on the game.