I’ve been watching the 2010 Winter Olympics for the past couple of weeks and I have also been able to participate in some of the events via Vancover 2010 for PlayStation 3. Vancover 2010 from SEGA really brings the Winter Olympics into your family room with its design, style, colors, and presentation that matches everything I have been seeing for two weeks on NBC on my TV.
Vancover 2010 really looks great and matches the real thing, but the game doesn’t bring all of the Olympic Winter Games to your home, since it doesn’t include all of the events as you may expect based on the name of the game. The following are the events featured in the Vancouver 2010:
- Men’s Downhill
- Men’s Super-G
- Ladies’ Giant Slalom
- Ladies’ Slalom
- Men’s Individual Large Hill (LH) Ski Jumping
- Ladies’ Ski Cross
- Ladies’ Aerials
- Men’s Parallel Giant Slalom
- Men’s Snowboard Cross
- Ladies’ 500 Meters Short Track Speed Skating
- Ladies’ 1,500 Meters Short Track Speed Skating
- Two-Man Bobsleigh (Bobsled)
- Men’s Skelton
- Men’s Singles Luge
As you can see there is a decent line-up of events, but I find it interesting that the game doesn’t include both the ladies’ or men’s versions of the events it does include. You will also notice that if you visit the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics Website that a bunch of events are missing from Vancouver 2010 from SEGA. Events like figure skating, hockey, curling, snowboarding half-pipe, cross country skiing, and the biathlon are not included. I can understand not including hockey and snowboarding half-pipe, since there are other full games dedicated to those events, but some of the others maybe should’ve been included.
Figure skating is a major part of the Winter Olympics and even though I don’t like watching it, I find it interesting that it wasn’t included in Vancouver 2010 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Actually, has there ever been a full game dedicate to figure skating? I know Deca Sports and Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Winter Games for Wii have figure skating events, but these are the only two games I can think of off the top of my head. Maybe implementing realistic figure skating in a game is too hard or maybe the developers thought it wouldn’t appeal to the people buying Vancouver 2010.
Even though Vancouver 2010 doesn’t include all of the events of the Winter Olympics, the ones it does include are implemented well and are fun to play. The game definitely isn’t easy and you will need to practice like a real Olympic athlete to be able to win gold in any of the events. At first I had a hard time even getting on the podium for any of the events. After playing some of the events over and over I got better and earned bronze and silver pretty easily, but gold still requires almost a perfect run to obtain. This is how the real Winter Olympics are, so the game is true to the real thing it is trying to re-create.
Vancouver 2010’s controls are also pretty good for most of the events and allow you to feel like you are part of the game. Cutting back and forth and carving in the skiing and snowboarding events feels good and makes you feel connected to the snow. The game also offers SIXAXIS motion sensor options for controlling the game, if you want to use them. I tried the motion sensor controls in a few of the events and they were fun, but I think you will do better with the default control scheme that has you using the analog stick instead of leaning the controller back and forth.
One of the frustrating control schemes in Vancouver 2010 was for the 1,500 meters speed skating event. The controls require you to press the button at the right moment as your skater’s skate hits the ice on the straight part of the track. This isn’t as easy as it should be, since the prompts really only tell you when you are pressing the button at the wrong or right time, but don’t tell you when you should be pressing the button. This was most frustrating during the Challenges mode where you had to maintain a certain speed for the full 13 laps. I failed this over and over and got to the point of wanting to throw the controller before figuring out the rhythm and completing the Challenge.
Speaking of the Challenge mode and other modes in the game, there is not a whole lot of gameplay options in Vancouver 2010 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The game is broken down into three activities which are as follows:
- Training: Select an individual event and practice it to see if you can decrease your time and be ready to go for the gold in the main game mode. You can also upload your time online from each event at the end of the sessions. I don’t know if this was totally working, since I didn’t see my stats for a lot of events on the leaderboard. The funny thing is that you can’t see your standing from within the Training mode. Instead you have to exit Training mode and access the Leaderboard section from the main menu.
- Olympic Games: Pick the events listed above individually by grouping them and compete with up to four players on or offline. This is the main part of the game, but don’t expect a story mode or anything beyond seeing your player on the podium if you place in the top three at the end of the event. You are basically just competing for the gold medal and that is about it in each event. It is fun offline or online with friends, but may get repetitive offline by yourself after awhile.
- Challenges: This may be the closest you are going to get to a story mode. This mode has you trying to complete different challenges in different levels. The challenges include things like competing in the Snowboard Cross with the controls backwards or completing a certain event within a certain amount of time. I thought this section would at least unlock something or show you something after completing each section, but I beat all of the Easy challenges and received absolutely nothing.
Based on what I have seen with the Leaderboard standings not accessible from the Training mode, the Challenge mode not doing anything after beating each level, and not including some of the major events from the Winter Olympics makes me believe that this game was rush to market to have it available before the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. I don’t blame SEGA for doing that and what is included in Vancouver 2010 is enjoyable, but it just doesn’t seem as complete or polished as I expected.
The graphics in Vancouver 2010 are one thing that were not rushed, since they look pretty amazing and the sense of speed in the skiing events and others is really cool. It really makes you feel like you are blazing down the mountain with the lush scenery and high quality appearance of the snow. The only thing they didn’t include is all of the fog and rain that ended up plaguing the real Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.
SEGA has also done a great job with the sound effects and music in the game. You will hear your skier carving the snow and the bells ringing as your bobsled team heads down the track. The ambient noises sound the same in the game as they do on my TV when watching the Olympics. They also included some hard rock music which is enjoyable while playing and fits with the adrenaline filled sports included in the game.
If you are looking to continue the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics experience on your PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 after the Olympics are over then Vancouver 2010 from SEGA is your only option. If you have a Wii then your additional option is Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Winter Games. The interesting thing is that Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Winter Games includes more events than Vancouver 2010, but doesn’t have the realistic look and feel that Vancouver 2010 has to offer. I enjoyed Vancouver 2010, but wish it had more events to choose from and more of a story or reason to try to get the gold that would keep me coming back.
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