Joseph Rositano
13 Feb, 2010

Vancouver 2010 Review

360 Review | A shameful bronze.
Sega’s last Olympics video game, Beijing 2008, received mixed reactions. The game was praised for its diverse range of events, but was also criticised for its button-mashing gameplay. Vancouver 2010 is pretty much the opposite of Beijing 2008 – the gameplay mechanics have received a major overhaul making the experience more engaging, however, there is a lack of substance to sustain your interest for more than a few hours.

From the moment the title screen loads you will realise Sega was not aiming for a groundbreaking experience. Players are presented with four main gameplay modes including Training, Olympics, Challenge and Multiplayer. The Training and Olympics modes are practically identical, allowing players to select from any of the 14 featured events and strive to beat their high scores. In Olympics mode you do compete against computer opponents for a shiny gold medal, but otherwise it is purely a cosmetic feature.

I like big butts and I cannot lie...

I like big butts and I cannot lie...
Events fall under the subcategories of Alpine Skiing, Snowboarding, Sledding, Freestyle Skiing, Speed Skating and Ski Jumping. Unfortunately this means the developer has recycled several gameplay mechanics. For example, there are four Alpine Skiing events that require players to ski down mountain trails by tilting the control stick to manoeuvre through flags and accelerate and turn sharply by pressing/holding the trigger buttons. The controls work surprisingly well and are very responsive, but apart from a few minor course alterations the events play identically. This wouldn’t be an issue if there was a more robust selection of events, but considering the figure is a measly 14 mini-games all up, the appeal is short-lived and becomes tedious.

It’s a real shame as at its core Vancouver 2010 has a lot more going for it than previous Olympic efforts. As mentioned a majority of events don’t rely on mindless button mashing; instead there is a higher emphasis on precision. For instance, the ski jump challenges players to time their movements in accordance with wind direction and momentum – if you build your momentum too early or too late then your leap of faith will be severely hampered. In mid-air players then have to control their character’s balance before timing the perfect landing and bringing home the gold. On paper this sounds complicated, but once you get your head around the controls it is actually very inspiring. Unfortunately there are a few stinkers in the haystack; the speed skating events see players manically tap the X button to race around the rink, and Women’s Aerials requires you to control rotating circles with both control sticks. In short they’re simplistic, unambitious and feel sloppy.

We love it when athletes trip over the flag poles and crash into the snow.

We love it when athletes trip over the flag poles and crash into the snow.
The game’s Challenge mode is a vein attempt by the developer to expand on the lack of substance. Here all the game’s events are pulled together and have gimmicks added to them. Knocking down snowmen, making it through a course under a specific time limit, jumping within range of a target distance; it’s enough to keep you occupied for a while but is otherwise a bare bones presentation.

Multiplayer is present in the form of local split-screen and online multiplayer for up to four players. The mode allows gamers to play competitively in one-off or a set of events, and at the end of each round you are awarded medals that are tallied to your profile. Again, it’s a bare bones presentation that may get the job done, but lacks any sort of innovation to make it stand out from other sports titles.

Visually, Vancouver 2010 has quite a bit of flair going for it. With a simple press of the B button players can enter a first-person viewpoint of their athlete and simulate what it’s like going downhill behind the mask. A colour filter is placed over the screen to create fake goggle lenses, you can hear your character breathing heavily as the wind passes your ears, and to top it all off the motion blur effects are ramped up to intensify the experience. It’s arguably the main highlight of the entire game, and will satisfy even the most hardcore Winter Olympics enthusiast. That said, while the initial look of the game is pleasing, over time it gets very dull. It comes down to the fact you’re constantly racing down a snowy mountain – there just isn’t enough to establish it’s a new venue.

The first-person viewpoint is very exhilarating.

The first-person viewpoint is very exhilarating.
It’s easy to say Vancouver 2010 is the best Olympics video game that has been released in recent memory, but given the competition that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a honour Sega can be proud of. While most of the events have tight and responsive controls, the game lacks substance to make it anything other than a generic mini-game compilation.
The Score
Despite having its high points, ultimately Vancouver 2010 is nothing but a generic mini-game compilation. 5
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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4 years ago
The title is GAME's "game of the week" only $59. I won't be buying it straight away ala Beijing 2008 (which i didn't mind, although my thumbs killed after all of the twirling of the analog sticks i had done).

Will wait for the price drop after the real life Winter Olympics.
4 years ago
Hi PALGN. Don't forget to tell everyone about the new Uncharted 2 DLC. Head to http://www.naughtydog.com/ for more info. Sorry for posting this here wasn't sure who to contact with this info (is there an appropriate place to contact you guys with news like this?)
4 years ago
I understand that the appropriate place to submit news is through tips@palgn.com.au.

I doubt any developer could really do this sort of game justice. I mean, you're limited to white, grey, brown and green for the colours.
4 years ago
Thanks Augmentation, I submitted via that address.

I don't think anyone ever expects much from these olympics games. They haven't been good since summer and winter games on the c64 ;P
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  15/01/2010 (Tentative)
Standard Retail Price:
  $99.95 AU
  SEGA Australia
Year Made:

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