The modern Olympics were reborn in the 19th century, with the first International Olympic Committee (IOC) run Games occurring in Athens in 1896. From then on the Olympics has become one of the biggest sporting events in the world, and this summer sees the Olympics come to London, bringing with it athletes from around the world in search of Olympic glory.
London 2012, the officially licensed game of said Olympics, has been developed by SEGA Studios Australia and contains 31 events across a variety of different sports, from the famous track events such as the 100 metres to the less publicised events, such as trampolining. It’s good to see such a varied selection of events, though due to the sheer number of events in the Games don’t expect to be competing for medals in every sport, like hockey or taekwondo.
Shooting is one of the game's highlights.
The layout of the event selection is implemented well, with each event day giving you up to eight events to select the two you’ll be competing in from. Once the events are selected you must first compete in the qualifiers, before moving on to the finals if you’re successful.
The gameplay does vary slightly between events, though most will either follow a button bashing method (track events), or you’ll have button prompts appear on screen, basically turning certain sports, like diving or swimming, into quick time events.
With the control schemes you’re given, the best way to succeed is to be precise. When competing in the 100 metres you’ll mash the relevant button, but doing it too quickly will tire the runner, while pressing too slowly will quickly leave you in the dust. Instead you need to keep the on screen bar between two white lines to have a chance of gaining a podium finish.
Events like javelin or shot put require an even deeper level of precision, relying on a flick of the analog stick; even the smallest deviation from the desired angle can have a huge impact on your final result.
This control system can be frustrating at times though, and can seem a bit odd. For example, at one point in the javelin I had a perfect run up and angle, resulting in a very good distance. On the next throw my run up wasn’t quite as good and the angle was slightly off but I beat my previous throw.
Whilst these control issues are present in some sports, events such as the table tennis, shooting and archery are examples of brilliance among the QTEs, precisely because these events are where you can really show your skill. The table tennis requires you to play forehands, backhands and spin shots to outwit the opponent, the shooting tests your reflexes and the archery requires working out the best shot whilst taking account of wind speed and direction.
The single player campaign itself will last only around 3 hours, and that’s if you qualify for the finals of every event you enter. With such a short play time on offer it does feel like you get rushed from one event to the next.
The game is impressive graphically.
The online multiplayer is set so you can compete in purely race events, round based events or a mix of both.
Once you’ve selected the kinds of events you want to play in you’ll either be put into a lobby or have to create your own game where you can choose the events.
A maximum of 6 events can be chosen and, again due to the nature of how short some events are, one online tournament will last around 20 minutes. The multiplayer has the small advantage of increasing the competitive spirit as you try to beat another person’s record.
London 2012 also boasts option motion controls, although due to how much precision is required in some of the events motion controls may not be able to read the required movements well enough.
Graphically the game looks very good, and the devs have created some nice loading screens inspired by the London 2012 logo. There are also commentators in the game and though voiced well enough they quickly become repetitive, sometimes looping through the same lines during an event.
- Archery, table tennis and shooting events are highlights.
- Multiplayer works well enough.
- Large variety of events.
- Single player is a short affair.
- Events last only a few minutes each.
- Most events nothing more than QTEs.
- Controls can be fiddly at times.
London 2012 gives a taster of what we can expect to see on our TV screens soon and does highlight some less known sports well. Overall I can see London 2012 selling well purely because of the hype surrounding the London Olympics (something held out by this week’s charts), but once the Torch is extinguished the game may quickly be left to gather dust.