Skin tight Lycra? Check! Sunblock? Check! Goggles? Check! I am now ready to hurtle down a mountain attached to two sticks…Great!
Vancouver 2010, the official video game of the Olympic Winter Games, is developed by Eurocom and published by Sega. Available on the PC, Xbox360 and PS3, the game offers the player a chance to represent their country in a variety of different winter sport competitions.
Not really a big fan of snow, its just too cold. But snowboarding has a fond place in my heart, so I guess I can forgive the temperature of the white stuff. Vancouver 2010 transports the player to the winter wonderland that is, this year, playing host to the Olympic Winter Games. With 14 events to compete in, the player needs to step up to the mark and do their country proud.
The events included, which do not constitute the entire Olympic Winter Games lineup, consist of Skiing, Snowboarding, bobsleigh and speed skating, in various different forms. In fact, any event that includes crazy amounts of speed seem to have made the cut. Compete in the 14 events against the AI or other players, either locally or online. Move away from the seriousness of the events and take on the challenge modes for a bit more laid back fun.
Every major sporting event has its video game equivalent, and, for the Olympic Winter Games, the job of providing this has fallen to Eurocom. The 14 events that they have included offer extreme sports fans a chance to play their favorite snow based sport in an international competition. But this is where the game first slips up. The omission of any of the more laid back winter disciplines, such as figure skating or curling, almost makes this an extreme sports game, but without the extreme style. There are a fair few games of this genre out there already, and, to be honest, they do a better job. And where is that cool event that involves Skis and a rifle?
The game allows the player to compete in any of the events, but with no career mode to talk of, there is no incentive to keep playing. The player competes in an event and then it is finished. You can string events together, but there is nothing to carry through the events to show your progress. Playing multiplayer allows for a certain amount of competitiveness, and certainly gives a quick hit of enjoyment. But the games serious demeanor makes the fun rather short lived.
The controls are an improvement over previous Olympic titles, relying more on rhythm than on frantic button bashing. For the most part, players are required to hit the button in time with the indications on screen, or concentrate on steering (usually whilst hurtling downhill at great speed). The most technical controls are to be found in the Ski Jumping event. Here, the player is required to adjust trajectory and make a decent landing.
Graphically, Vancouver 2010 looks adequate. But it really could, and should, have looked a lot better. One point of note is that the speed blur really does look incredible. A real sense of speed is given, and this effect is first class. But it does not make up for the lacklustre effort surrounding the rest of the game.
The challenge modes add something fun to the game, with each event offering a set of challenges. These can offer a slight distraction, enabling the player to have a bit of fun in what is otherwise a very serious game. But, as with the rest of the game, there is no incentive to keep playing them.
Vancouver 2010 just doesn’t have enough variety, with the events being all very similar. The lack of career mode and rather uninspiring graphics prevent this from becoming a must have Olympic video game.