Also available on: PS3, PC
Developer: Sega Studios Australia
London 2012 - The Official Videogame of the Olympic Games is Sega's straight-laced follow-up to the more colourful, mascot-orientated Mario & Sonic At The 2012 Games, a game that has dominated the weekly Wii chart since its release.
Though unlikely to enjoy similar sustained levels of success, a total of 46 events spanning more than a dozen disciplines - not to mention motion controls for the Xbox 360 and PS3 - means that there's plenty to admire about Sega's latest effort. Unfortunately, a surprising lack of variety and personality means that while the game earns a medal, it's not Gold.
London 2012 - The Official Videogame of the Olympic Games affords players the opportunity to compete in all of the usual track and field events, such as 100m, Hurdles, Shot Put, Discuss and Javelin, as well as slightly less mainstream disciplines such as Skeet, Archery, Sculls and Beach Volleyball. Though 46 events are listed, many feature identical male and female versions, which cuts the final tally down to little more than 30.
The technique is used in many events to gather speed, with slight variations depending on the discipline. Players must flick the analogue stick at an angle for long and high jumps, or push it forward to jump hurdles. Swimming and boating events also emphasise timing, but map the controls to analogue sticks and trigger buttons instead.
Diving and gymnastic events prove the least exciting, with players having to select a routine, before inputting commands as they appear onscreen. Not only are these events far too easy, but the similarities between them essentially knocks another eight or nine events off the overall list.
It's the standalone events that often prove the most enjoyable, such as Table Tennis, which features well executed analogue controls and typically addictive gameplay. Shooting events and Archery, meanwhile, prove equally entertaining, despite their simplicity.
Archery, in particular, is almost as much fun as its Wii Sports Resort equivalent. Beach Volleyball has its moments, but is let down by dodgy AI and ball physics. Pairing speed with accuracy ensures that Rapid Fire Pistol is a success, a game likely to promote healthy competition among first-person shooter fans.
A number of events are also available with Kinect controls, though few actually benefit from its inclusion. The 100m sprint sees players frantically move their arms up and down to gather speed, a motion that resembles hyper-active Scousers from a Harry Enfield sketch.
The inability to directly control your player's movements harms the Beach Volleyball game, while Javelin requires very little input or skill. Once again, Archery is the standout event, closely followed by Table Tennis and the Kayak Dash, the one game that actually is better with Kinect.
Although we'd argue that there are far less events than advertised, there are at least multiple ways to tackle them. The main Olympic mode sees players compete in daily events over the course of the entire Olympic calendar. After selecting two games for the day, players participate in qualifying rounds before going for Gold.
Winning Gold medals earns retry cards, which can be used to replay failed events. While it won't take long to complete an entire calendar, entering every event and making world record attempts ensures replayability.
Party Play, meanwhile, adds slight twists to a number of games. Javelin Target, for example, sees players aim for a giant bullseye, while Skeet Attack forces players to defend themselves against incoming clay pigeons. While Party Play is a fun addition, particularly when played with friends, it could do with more events.
Unfortunately, even with the addition of Party Play games, London 2012: The Game lacks a little personality, coming off slightly stuffy at times. There are no recognised athletes, so it's hard to feel any connection with your competitors, even with limited customisation options.
The visuals are inconsistent, proving occasionally excellent, but outdated and poorly animated in lesser events such as Beach Volleyball. The commentary successfully injects a little extra personality into the game, but is ruined by poorly timed praise or criticism.
London 2012: The Game is a title capable of entertaining users throughout the duration of the Olympics, but will likely be forgotten once the medals have been dished out and the athletes have returned home.
There are lots of events that can be enjoyed time and time again, although far less than the 46 advertised. Motion controls add very little, but do at least offer new ways to experience the game, alongside a plethora of game modes. While London 2012: The Game may fall short of Gold, it's certainly deserving of a respectable Bronze.
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