The Olympics, the most watched sporting event in the World, beating out real football, American “football”, and Rugby.
Gamers have had a long running affair (get it?) with the Olympics sports genre since its inception with 1987’s smash hit Track and Field on the NES.
The genre has had many superb releases, and also those which have ended up in the bargain bin long before that year’s opening ceremony.
Having suffered through Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, and slightly enjoying the furious button-bashing, finger-bruising that Beijing 2008 provided, Sega Studios Australia have produced an instant classic that doesn’t require jack-hammer-like repetitive button-mashing strength.
They have gone down to the essence of each Olympic discipline by making timing the key to distance, speed, and endurance.
London 2012 allows to you to win the gold in the following events:
- 3m Springboard Diving
- 3m Synchronised Springboard Diving
- 10m Platform Diving
- 10m Synchronised Platform Diving
- Swimming – 50m Freestyle
- Swimming – 100m Backstroke
- Swimming – 100m Breaststroke
- Swimming – 100m Butterfly
- Swimming – 100m Freestyle
- Trampoline (men only)
- 25m Rapid Fire Pistol (men only)
- Skeet Shooting
- Track & Field
- 100m (men only)
- 110m Hurdles (men only)
- 200m (men only)
- Discus throw (men only)
- High Jump
- Javelin Throw (men only)
- Long Jump (men only)
- Shot Put (men only)
- Triple Jump (men only)
- Other Sports
- Beach Volleyball (women only)
- Canoe Slalom – K1 Kayak (men only)
- Cycling – Keirin (men only)
- Rowing – Single Sculls (men only)
- Table Tennis (men only)
- Weightlifting over 105kg (men only)
Whilst I do feel that the main events were covered it really would have been fantastic to see Hockey, Sailing, Judo, Fencing, Football, Tennis, Fencing, and the Equestrian events. Realistically I know that is a rather tall order.
Each one of the events can be played in the different modes that London 2012 offers.
Olympic Games Mode – This mode allows you to partake in the Olympics which includes a nice intro ceremony giving you an aerial tour of all the venues, and a beautiful fireworks display in the Olympic Stadium with the Olympic Flame. This is the main game single player mode. Within this mode you can unlock different costumes and retries for the events. You don’t always partake in all of the events but you get to cover at least eight events for your campaign.
Events Play – This mode allows you to choose your eight favourite events and save them to a playlist. This mode can be played by up to four players.
Party Mode – This mode allows you to either enter individual events against your friends or to partake in different challenges together, whereby your combined score unlocks the next event.
Online Play – Allows you to partake in different online event. There are four different catagories:
- Quick match: A randomly selected event and opponent.
- Custom match: Divided into any events, venue specific events, race events, round-based events, and mixed events.
- Online tournament: This mode is divided into private and public events, in which players have the option of partaking in same modes which are available in the custom matches.
- Sadly once again, due to lack of online competitors I was unable to test the online modes.
The vector graphics are really impressive – the transitions from loading screen vectors to the in-game graphics is rather sexy. Olympic Games have a tradition of being rather good looking, and London 2012 does not disappoint.
The beauty in this game can be found both in the large-scale and the fine details.
The large-scale beauty can be seen in the almost perfectly rendered Olympic Stadium. Other examples include the water effects in the kayaking centr and diving events, and the crowds in the opening sequences for events. Everything is super-smooth and gorgeous.
The finer details can be found in touches such as the strain on the weightlifting athletes’ faces; the fatigue that can clearly be seen in the athletes body language when doing endurance events such as cycling or the 400m; and finally the camera that follows the athletes, the clay, the bikes – I know it’s a small detail but it really rounds off the visual aesthetics of this game.
The commentary in London 2012 is decent, although it can be slightly repetitive and they never name any athlete by name (probably due to the fact that none of the athletes are licensed). However, that does not stop the commentators
from sounding interested in the event, enthusiastic and encouraging. A nice little sound-bite that I heard after winning a gold medal was: “The Springbok supporters in the crowd are going crazy”; which I think adds to the
overall theme and tone of the Olympic Games.
The groans, grunts and cries are all rather believable and are never over the top. As for the environmental sound effects they are almost perfect.
The Best move Sega ever made as a company was opening Sega Australia. The Australian game developers seem to have a golden touch. As previously mentioned, timing is the key element to all of the events in this game.
Finally a developer has realised it shouldn’t be about how fast you can tap a button, but how accurate your timing is. The men’s 100m sprint will no longer destroy your controllers or burn the skin off your hand; its now down to a well-timed tap of the controller button. The more relaxed and on-time your action, the better your digital athlete performs.
The Developers take Gold!
This Game is near sports-sim perfection; if only it had the missing events. Whether you are taken up by Olympic fever or just want to get an awesome game to play with your mates, this is a must-have for any sports game fan.Forum discussion