Multiplayer fun in Olympic year
ADORNING LONDON 2012 as the best Olympic based video game ever is a backhanded compliment of sorts - there isn't exactly that much competition. To say that most games based on the Olympics are amateurish rushed cash-ins is being polite. surprising level of thought has been put into this year's iteration. It's refreshing to find that track events are not the kind of puddle-deep button-mashers we've grown used to. Instead, races require you to keep a gauge in the green to maintain top speed - hammer away as fast as you possibly can, and you'll overfill the meter, causing your athlete to slow up. The idea works particularly well in the 200m and is further complicated by an additional energy bar in the tricky 400m races.
All the field events make clever use of your analogue sticks to determine how high and far you leap or throw. The triple jump is actually quite difficult.
However, there's no way to practice an event, and given that you don't always get a proper test run in the tutorial, this proves problematic in events where you have a single shot at glory.
Away from the outdoor events, things get very hit and miss. Swimming events involve rapid tapping as you power though the water as you time downward and upward strokes with the analogue sticks. At least it's more involved than the diving and gymnastic events which simply requires you to press a button at the right time.
Shooting events are equally mixed. Skeet shooting initially suffers from sluggish controls, but after a while it becomes too easy. The pistol-based alternative, however, is great, with the increasingly tight time limits often forcing wayward shots as you attempt to hit the bullseye of five targets.
For an Olympic cash-in, the presentation is surprisingly decent. Character models are a little dull, but mostly they are drawn acceptably and are well animated.
The hearty cheers from the crowd roaring a good performance helps create a sense of excitement, as does the enthusiastic commentary.
A definite recommendation for anyone who enjoys a good multiplayer laugh with friends.