This game is hilarious. Some of the mini-games (am I hallucinating or were some of them directly ported from an earlier athletics game?) are pretty good and it's fun trying to beat your own score or annoy a relative by beating theirs. Others are terrible - the Judo game is almost incomprehensibly bad: some wrestling happens and you can't do anything for ages. Then an arrow appears, you press in the appropriate direction, the computer throws you and it's game over.
It really looks like they didn't bother to playtest this much: some of the events are ridiculously long while others are over in seconds. And in many cases you either need a lot of practice or some kind of eerie psychic ability to know when to press the button: why on earth doesn't the racing have some sort of "ready, set, go!" system like EVERY OTHER RUNNING GAME EVER?
The funniest thing is that given all these annoying problems in most cases you'll end up doing spectacularly badly, which is amusing for a bit if you imagine it's really the Olympics and your compatriots' treasured dreams of glory are turning to dust before their very eyes as you throw the javelin 3 meters or limp your kayak home with a score of 900. Playing with a new profile is always particularly amusing as the commentator will shout "PERSONAL BEST!" enthusiastically at even the direst performance. Ace.
I went back to this because the 2012 Olympics are on right now and it's still quite good fun if you get another three people along. We did a whole Olympics with four of us and it caused much hilarity.
Basically it's like an old school Olympics game where you can do a whole load of events, most of which require some specific skill (such as bashing the buttons really fast, or doing guitar hero-esque button timing, and so on). It's as fun now as this format ever was, because if there are four of you then someone will be really good at one event, but rubbish at another, making it quite competitive.
With that said, there are some absolutely appalling oversights in the game. A few little obvious additions, such as an overall medal table at the end showing you who actually won, a few stats, records and whatever else would have gone a long way. It's really a bare bones effort and there doesn't seem to have been much effort done in terms of designing the basic interface and format of competitions.
Similarly, while most of the game works as it should, some of the events are just dreadful and look like they were tagged on at the last minute. In particular, the Kayak is horrific and almost unplayable. Likewise the team pursuit is one of the most grating and exhausting experiences I've ever encountered in a computer game. If you're going to play this event you'd better wear weightlifting gloves to protect your hand. I can't honestly believe they tested some of these events properly because there are things in there which are just inexcusable.
Despite all of these flaws and the sense that it was cobbled together in a frantic last ditch effort before the start of the Olympics, it is actually quite good fun and I'd recommend it now at the "4 years later" price.
Ok first off the events are great with a nice variety of controls. And the events will leave you as sweaty as the athletes as you bash those buttons. The only poor event for me is Judo which despite many attempts I just can't get to work.
Where this game falls down however is in it's lack of choice of countries and on-line play. I play other games on-line but if I try this with 8 people and 100m run the lag is dreadful and the connection usually drops. I think it can't handle all the rapid button imputs. So your going to need a very high speed internet connection for this to work. Mine does ok with 4 people. Also some of the events which run as knockout like table tennis and archery do not run concurrently so you have to sit there for ages as everyone else plays out their games. How the developers thought that was a good idea is beyond me.
Single player mode features training with the nice feature of being able to compare against your friends personal bests. Of course you can compete in the olympics but it has the hugely annoying feature of you needing to qualify in so many events to get to the next day or you have to do the whole day all over again including events that you already qualified in, very frustrating.
This game is best played with a few friends and overall is worth getting. Be prepared for some serious finger and arm ache though!!
The Olympics, the global sporting spectacle comes to 360. But it could have been so much better. Firstly the graphics while giving off a good atmosphere still can't compete with some of the other games sega have brought us, the lack of proper customisation means that most of the atheletes on your team end up looking the same. The control system for some of the events is very difficult to master, it goes beyond the point of being challenging and just becomes stupidly hard. It gets confusing sometimes as well you think you have mastered an event like the cycling then you go and do it for real only to discover that your not doing well at all. However its not all bad, some events are easy to learn and even easier to win but that kind of takes the fun out of it, I prefer the ones that are easy to learn but quite hard to win so you get a lot of satisfaction when you eventually win the gold. But like I said there is still room for improvement, lets hope that when they release the game for the london olympics, they make the control system easier to use as well as improving the graphics and the team customisation maybe even getting the likenesses of real athletes.