London 2012: The Official Video Game Of The Olympic Games – Review
Can the official game of the Olympics match the drama of the real thing?
Michael Plant is chief editor and writer of gaming ezine and blog GamesCatalyst.com, as well as editor of 'The Independent'’s games review printed in the Saturday supplement 'Information'. Established in February 2011, Games Catalyst endeavours to bring its unique brand of fact and satire to the videogaming community and, in tandem with 'The Independent', hopefully turn a few non-believers on to gaming while we’re at it.
Friday 29 June 2012
Athletics isn't really a sport that transfers well to the videogame sphere. Unless you're using Kinect's full body sensor, the inputs you're making are never going to accurately reflect the action on screen. That's why the button mashing of Konami's Track & Field has been the basis of the genre since it first came out in the eighties.
London 2012, the official game of this summer's Olympics, adds a few twists to the time honoured rapid taps, creating a control system with a little more finesse, and throws in a variety of sports that require dexterity over the ability to hammer the A button as quickly as humanly possible. The end result is an enjoyable but ultimately forgettable sporting experience.
Perhaps the biggest alteration to the ancient athletics blueprint that London 2012 makes is the way button mashing too quickly just as likely spells disaster as not button mashing quickly enough. Running events have a power bar, and you need to tap rapidly enough to keep that meter in the sweet spot towards the top.
Go too slow, and you'll potter around the track with no hope of winning a medal, but go to fast and you'll lose your rhythm, and suffer the same fate. It makes for a more intriguing, slightly less tiring style of play, and it's a system that Sega rolls out to the other events as well.
Long Jump and High Jump both need you to run at the right speed, before inputting a combination of stick and button presses to throw your athlete over or across whatever they're trying to clear. It's certainly not the most complex of approaches, but each event has its own feel, thanks to different angle and speed requirements.
Oddly, the jewel in the crown isn't any of the showcase running events, it's the Table Tennis. You use the right stick to fire shots, and the left to move your ping-pong player around the table. Quick twists of the right stick add spin to the ball, and even on the lower difficulty settings, the matches are frenetic and addictive.
The cycling events fail to capture the excitement of the real thing, and the ladies beach volleyball is pretty dull as well. Swimming plays like an intriguing rhythm game, where you drag down on the right and left sticks in time with the movements of your swimmer. Weightlifting is all about power and angles, mashing buttons and making sure you position your sticks correctly when you go for a lift.
There are a variety of shooting and archery events too, from quick-fire pistol and bow shooting, to a pretty exciting clay pigeon shooting game called Skeet. Multiplayer modes let you duke it out with friends online or off, creating your own mini-Olympiad and taking part in a variety of challenges.
In small doses, London 2012 is a perfectly enjoyable party game. It's unlikely you'll get too involved with the single player, apart from the excellent Table Tennis, but there are enough multiplayer options to make sure you stay interested at least until the real Olympics start at the end of July.
Format: Xbox 360 (tested), PS3, PC
Life & Style blogs
What is ALS and the Ice Bucket Challenge?
Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for pageant
Doctors tell Treasury of their anger at rejection of pay reviews
Jeremy Hunt to reform hospital parking rules
Victoria’s Secret says tickets for the London fashion show are not for 'sale' - but seats are still available for £10k
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
- 1 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 2 West poised to join forces with President Assad in face of Islamic State
- 3 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for pageant
- 4 Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
- 5 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C#.NET VB6 Developer (Software Developer, Softwa...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer (TSQL, S...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-End UI/U...