on 6 February 2010
I had downloaded the demo, and thought that the first person mode was very interesting but didn't realy know what to expect from the full game. I fancied something a bit differernt from you shooters and racers that I've bought in recent months so thought I'd give this a try
Tell you what, Its been a long time since I had one of those. "OH MY GOD IS THAT REALLY THE TIME, HOW LONG HAVE I BEEN PLAYING THIS" moments.
It is SOoooo addictive, although there are only 14 events to play, they are all fairly differernt events. Very little button bashing in this one. The simplicity of the menu is excellent. No messing about with irrelevent stuff, you dive straight into the events have a bit practice, and then do either the challenges , take part in events to try and earn single player golds or go online and take part in 4 player events against your friends.
The challenges, of which there are about 30 start off pretty easy then get progessively harder. You hane to do things like snowboarding down a course with your controlls reversed so when you push keft the guy go right, or go down a run trying to avoid snowmen on the race line and still beat the alloted time. You'll spend many hours on these believe me.
Online though is really where the fun begins, if you get two or three mates in a room with your comms on, and set up a multi event mini games its brilliant. If you cant find people on your FL to play, just jump into a random room and you'll soon make some new ones.
Really enjoying the first person view, its amazing, and really does feel as if you are skiing, jumping of plumetting down the bobsleigh run. If you have a rumble pad its even more realistic.
At the reduced price, you'd be daft not to buy this amazing game.
on 18 February 2010
I am struggling to recall an Olympic Games title I've enjoyed playing for more than a few hours. They are usually a collection of button mashing, D-Pad jiggling, and finger-aching affairs that are fun while the novelty is there, but once this disappears there's little incentive to replay. There are so many events to include that a scatter-gun approach is taken to them all, and you're left with a shallow game without depth or longevity. With 13 less games to cover than Beijing, I hoped that this would lead to a better representation of each discipline, and a more enjoyable game. This is not the case, however, and although Eurocom (the developers) have chosen to put just over half of the 13 games into Vancouver 2010, most are a disappointment.
The games available are separated into 14 events, ranging from the Slalom and Giant Slalom of Alpine Skiing, to Bobsleigh, Snowboarding, and Speed Skating. The biggest complaint is that most events of the same discipline are extremely similar in both setting and controls. Sledding, for example, which is represented by the Two-Man Bobsleigh, Luge, and Skeleton. All three events have near identical controls, and the run is on the exact same track. Although I can sympathise with Eurocom to some extent (there's hardly a great deal of variety they can do with these disciplines), it would have been nice to have seem some of the other winter sports represented. Ice Hockey, Curling, Figure-Skating, and Biathlon are missing, and although these would arguably be more complicated to implement, they would have added a better balance to the games present.
Without these sports, Vancouver 2010 is a mixture of skiing through gates, snowboarding through gates, jumping, jumping (then skiing through gates), sliding down a slope, and Speed-Skating (which, incidentally, is the worst of the bunch). The controls are simple, so none of the events are hard to get to grips with, but it does mean that Vancouver 2010 fails to keep interest, due to the similarities between them. Using the sledding example once more, the steering in all three events is the same, save for the Two-Man Bob, in which you can control both the front and back passenger. Everything else (the start and need to corner at the right angle) is the same, and if you add this to racing down the same, monotonous white-walled track, you struggle to get excited after multiple runs down the course. I understand that this is a realistic approach, and there would be little creative for Eurocom, but why have three sledding events when one could be replaced by a completely different discipline?
Sledding is not the only culprit, with the skiing disciplines falling foul of repetitive gameplay. It's a shame, because the fun you will have playing some of the games (the ski jump and freestyle skiing events stand out for Gamestyle) is ruined by the majority. This wouldn't be as much as an issue if Vancouver had more structure. There are three ways to play: training (which gives you the opportunity to practice the events), Olympic Games (which allows you to compete with both human and AI opposition, online and offline), and Challenges. In Challenges you have to reach certain speed an accuracy targets to progress, and is the most entertaining aspect of the whole game. With trophy unlocks a-plenty in this game mode, there's a real incentive to replay, which can't be said about the other modes. An official Olympic video game deserves a far richer single-player experience, and Vancouver 2010 restricts you to a four-nation competition over a set number of events. These can be randomly selected, or chosen by yourself, but without a career mode of any sort, it all feels rather superficial. I would have loved to have seen the ability to build up your own character, mixing the training, challenges, and Olympic modes into one rich experience.
Playing online is more enjoyable, and the ability to view global leader boards of the times and points for each events is nice, even if some people are ludicrously good at the events. It does appear that most people share my view of the best event, with the Ski Jump featuring predominantly in the online lobbies. Presentation is excellent, with the Official logo and artwork used throughout. The graphics are superb, and there is a real sense of motion and speed in the events. I have to question the music choice (just because snowboarding is one of the events doesn't mean that indie rock should be the entire soundtrack), but overall Vancouver is as slick as the ice on the well-utilised sled track. It's a shame that the gameplay itself doesn't live up to this presentation, and it says something when the "did you know" facts that appear on the loading screens are more interesting than the action that follows them.
Vancouver 2010 fails to impress on many levels; whilst the events covered are not implemented badly, they are shallow and tedious, saved only by the simple controls and impressive visuals. It's a game stuck in limbo; it's too serious to be a party game, but lacks the depth to be a decent single player experience. Although taking on the likes of curling and ice-hockey would have been a harder task than churning out multiple variations of a slalom, I can't help wonder that if SEGA's Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games managed it on the little Wii, then Eurocom could have achieved more with the resources available. It doesn't justify its price tag, and I would advise a rental if you're eager to hit the slopes.