Review: London 2012
As usual, a game has been produced to cash in on the interest generated from this year's Olympic Games. Does this offering dazzle or burn out like so many of its predecessors? Read on to find out.
- Worth The Time?No
- Things LovedColourful visuals give the game an upbeat mood. Swimming, rowing, archery and tabble-tennis are fun and challenging events. Game mechanics are generally well-worked and concise tutorials throw you into the action quickly. Game has evolved slightly over Beijing 2008.
- Things HatedLondon 2012 fails to capture the spirit of the Olympic Games and feels very underwhelming. Most events feel redundant after not very long and quickly become boring. Gymnastics and diving events are dull QTE's. Poor graphics and rough charcater models spoil the colourful visual palette. Lack of motion control support for party play is baffling and a missed opportunity. There's very little motivation to play for more than a couple of hours. The price is insane for a game this shallow.
- RecommendationIf you're any older than 8 or 9 yeard old this game will not hold your attention for very long. Move along and buy something else.
- Quick ConclusionWith the large variety of events on offer in London 2012, it's difficult for any single one to have been given the attention it needs to really shine and so the entire game feels lacklustre and a little empty. You'll have fun for a bit but things very redundant very quickly. The events are largely hit 'n miss with some fairing better than others but ultimately there's nothing to hold your interest for more than a couple of hours. Not worth the money, not worth the time and it doesn't even cash in on motion controls which were designed for such collections of mini-games.
- Name: London 2012
- Genre: Sports
- Players: 1-8
- Multiplayer: 2-8
- Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
- Developer: Sega Australia
- Publisher: Sega
- Price: TBA
- Reviewed On: PS3
Like any other licensed Olympics game that came before it, London 2012 is not a good game but it isn’t bad either. It’s just perfectly lacklustre. However, Sega’s Australian team has put a minimal amount of extra effort into the latest Olympics title and that elevates just a little bit above its predecessors. It’s a game with many pitfalls but it is nice to see at least a few people on the development team tried just a little bit harder than the rest.
There are around 30 events to choose from and they include all the usual track and field events along with some less conventional things such as table-tennis, shooting and rowing. Special mention must go to London 2012’s title screen which is perhaps the worst in the history of videogames. It is an ass-shot of some member of Team GB clad in lycra. It made me shudder.
London 2012 follows the same formula as all the games that came before it – rhythm and timing-based QTE’s and the occasional button-mashing event. There are a few exceptions and these are generally the better offerings but that’s really all there is to the game and anybody older than 9 will tire of it very quickly. Because of the broad scope of the game with events covering a variety of disciplines, no event gets sufficient attention to really shine but some are certainly better than others.
Track events have evolved from dull button-mashing stints to something a little more civilised whereby you have to maintain a certain speed or your runner’s stamina will decrease too rapidly and they’ll slow down before the end of the race. It’s a silly system considering that most track athletes have enough stamina to go further than the allotted 100m or 200m and they really do just run as fast as they can.
Gymnastics and diving events all use a similar variety of QTE’s and while each one is different, they all feel pretty much the same and get rather dull before long. That said, London 2012 does make good use of the whole controller as a combination of events will have you pressing just about every button and using both analogues. That’s something the field events get right, they make good use of the analogues to determine angle and direction and it takes a little bit of finesse to execute a perfect javelin throw.
Ironically, beach volleyball is hideous to play with clunky mechanics and bad controls. The shooting events are a mixed bag with a few hitting the mark but most offer just about no challenge. I enjoyed the swimming events because while they’re really just rhythm-based mini-games, there is something satisfying about settling into the right rhythm to win the event. Archery is probably one of the best offerings that London 2012 with some genuine challenge in it and a good use of the analogues for aiming and stabilising while you have to factor in the wind. Table-tennis also has a good showing with some intuitive controls and fun gameplay. Neither of them is anything to write home about though. And certainly neither Crytek nor Rockstar respectively will be looking to these mini-games as a benchmark.
Indeed, London 2012 is at its best in the less conventional events. Another worthwhile event to play is kayaking which is similar to table-tennis in its intuitive controls and the skill required to do it well. Rowing is perhaps the best of the rhythm-based events with a simple yet effective control system of squeezing and releasing the trigger buttons.
While most events use largely the same rhythm-based or QTE control schemes, it’s surprising to note that mechanics generally work well. you will tire quickly of the vents though because if you’ve seen one QTE event you’ve seen them all and the mini-games will start to feel redundant pretty soon. One nice thing is that each mini-game is explained in concise tutorials so you don’t waste too much time being told how to do things however, it would be nice to be given more opportunities to practise before jumping straight into the event.
The real problem here is that even at its best London 2012 is nothing special and it is certainly deficient in a lot of areas to justify spending any sort of money on it. It’s exactly what you’d expect from a licensed game designed to cash in on a major event. That said, the game is colourful and vibrant despite some shoddy visuals and uneven character models. There’s also a decent run of commentary from Seth Bennett and Allison Curbishley but none of this manages to really capture any of the spirit that surrounds the Olympics in the way that FIFA World Cup games do. Maybe it has something to do with the gross cynicism surrounding this year’s Olympics but there’s really just no feeling in this game, no emotion.
You could play London 2012 alone but that would be a very sad and lonely 1 or so of your life (that’s roughly how long it takes before you get absolutely bored of the game) but it is essentially a party game, one designed to be play with friends. For this you can compete with three other friends for gold and you in fact compile a custom playlist of events to compete in. You can create similar playlists for online multiplayer and there’s also a bonus feature of selecting a country and all your achievements will then get added to that nation’s global score.
Surely a game such as this which relies heavily on QTE’s and rhythm would be a perfect match for motion controls and yet Motion Party Play has only 13 events. How Sega failed to cash in on the obvious benefits of gearing this game towards motion controls is beyond me.
There really isn’t much more to say about London 2012 other than Sega are bastards for stealing the title London 2012 since it could easily have been the name of a promising apocalyptic action game. The game really has very little substance to it and you’ll struggle to keep yourself entertained for more than a couple of hours. Even with friends or online, the moderate challenge of some events or the little bit of fun that others offer isn’t enough to keep you entertained.