21 Jul, 2008

Beijing 2008 Review

360 Review | And the winner is – no-one.
For years now we've gotten a 'new' Olympics game designed to cash in on the quad-annual event. The last Olympics Game Athens 2004 was a solid title, that ultimately lacked innovation. In fact, Athens 2004 was much like any other Olympics Game before it. Well, now we've entered the next generation and Eurocom and Sega have teamed up to release Beijing 2008 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Is this partnership a gold medal or best described as an athlete that has failed to qualify?

Just so we're clear, Beijing 2008 is a button mashing game. Yes, much like every other Olympics Game, the main objective in most of the events is to quickly push A and B. This is mixed up with events such as shotput, which are controlled a little differently (there are different requirements, but they generally require you to push the correct button at the correct time). Nonetheless, it's imperative that potential purchasers realise that Beijing 2008 doesn't contain any innovations in the control department. The controls really do let Beijing 2008 down; pushing A and B in quick succession may seem easy enough, but after fifteen minutes you'll probably put the controller down in agony, swearing off the game for life.

Just looking at this event is enough to make us tired.

Just looking at this event is enough to make us tired.
It's not all bad though. The presentation is top notch. Aside from some easy to understand menus there are plenty of events in the game, including 'favourites' such as the 100m sprint and, of course, hurdles. In fact, in total there are 38 events. To list them all would be exhausting, but it's safe to say that if you can imagine an Olympic event then it is probably in this game. Judo, Table Tennis, Archery and Cycling all make it in, meaning anyone who is watching an Olympic event at home who feels the desire to 'play' the event will probably find the event in this game.

The gameplay options are pretty solid as well. You can train in any of the events straight away, play through your own Olympic Games campaign and customise teams, but it is the offline multiplayer which holds up the strongest. For the competitive alienated gamer, you can upload your times to leaderboards and try and break world records. You can also play with up to four players on a single console, which in our opinion is the best option. The game does support online play, but it is rather disappointing. You can play against up to eight players online, but there is some terrible lag and the events that require each players to take their 'turn' separately end up feeling long-winded. We can't help but feel that this is a missed opportunity, and that it would have helped if there was some kind of online Olympic Games or country vs country tournament (ala UEFA EURO 2008), because at the moment, we can't really tell why anybody would actually want to play online for more than five minutes.

Yeah, we had trouble getting perfect, we can imagine this shot took awhile to setup.

Yeah, we had trouble getting perfect, we can imagine this shot took awhile to setup.
The impressive presentation carries over to the graphics. The stadiums look fantastic, the player models are solid and the animation if second to none. In terms of sound, the crowd noises are authentic and the game does create a great sense of atmosphere. Beijing 2008 looks very impressive, and anyone who takes a quick glance at the swimming could easily mistake the game for a television broadcast.

However, while there is a decent selection of events and presentation is rather impressive, Beijing 2008 falls short in the gameplay department. There is almost absolutely no reason whatsoever to even consider purchasing this game. Anyone who is absolutely dying to button mash can probably pick up a previous Olympics game for half (or even less) of the price of Beijing 2008. Overall, Beijing 2008 is too much like Athens 2004 with a splash of paint, which is rather disappointing, considering Athens 2004 was much like Sydney 2000 with a new coat of paint as well. The game does have a few positives, but anyone who expects to be playing this game beyond the Beijing Olympics is sure to be disappointed. Trust us, you won't be playing it.
The Score
Beijing 2008 is a button mashing game with a very tough learning curve. The multiplayer can be a bit of fun, but the lack of gameplay innovations result in the game finishing in last place. 5
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Beijing 2008 Content

Beijing 2008 shots
21 May, 2008 Aim for gold.
Beijing 2008 - The Official Video Game Of The Olympic Games Preview
16 Jun, 2008 Does it share the spirit of the Olympics?
Beijing 2008 Interview
15 Jun, 2008 We chat to Warren Leigh, the Producer of Beijing 2008, and ask what gamers can expect from the upcoming Olympics videogame.
5 years ago
hmm interesting consdiering IGN gave it a 7.
5 years ago
It's called difference of opinion (and cash incentives by the publisher). Why not troll / stay over at the IGN forums? I hear they have more PS3 content you can fill your little biased mind with..
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  3/7/2008 (Confirmed)
Standard Retail Price:
  $99.95 AU
  SEGA Australia
Year Made:

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