9 Reviews

London 2012 review: An Olympics game kids won't beat you at

Official game is hit and miss - but entertaining

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It's the same in the vault - a brief flurry of button presses for a run-up before leaping-frogging the horse - while in the diving you're required to pick one-to-five star trick complexity (admittedly a nice touch) before leaping off 3m or 10m-high platforms from back, front, or if you're insane, handstand positions. Synchronised diving allows two players to get their hands wet before inevitably moving on to something a bit better.

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Luckily you can save playlists, skipping straight to womens' volleyball. Certain events take things a bit deeper, adding Kinect and Move support (well-implemented but nothing you haven't seen in Kinect Sports or Sports Champions) as well as multiplayer. Up to four players can compete in either pass-the-pad or split screen, which makes a good case for on-the-sofa gaming.

This is a bona fide party game that doesn't feel the need to be zany, or shoehorn in motion controls like most. Apart from let-your-hair-down events like archery blitz and javelin target (the equivalent of 'no tie Monday'), this is a rare and welcome Very Serious party game, the only one of its kind until Mario cuts the crap and realises he has a job and a disabled brother to support.

It's brilliantly authentic, stadium fly-by's narrated by commentators (who occasionally stutter and correct themselves realistically) setting the stage before the official competition begins. It's structured like the real thing with qualifiers, replays and, if you're lucky, podium poses.

This, however, makes the no-name athlete roster all the more damaging. Where's Usain Bolt? Chris Hoy? Probably busy doing cereal adverts. There's a character-customiser, but your options are limited to changes of skin and hair colour. What's the point?

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You've played most of these events before, and better. Rockstar's Table Tennis beats Sega's equivalent by a mile, volleyball is a distant second to GameCube's Beach Spikers, and the aiming mechanics of skeet shooting and the rapid fire pistol feel sloppy next to the honed and expert controls of any and all contemporary FPS's.

London 2012 can't compete head-to-head; appeal lies in how it mashes dozens of different disciplines together and lets players choose the one that works for them. There's a lot of miss, but there's also plenty of hit.

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The verdict

Hit and miss in almost perfectly equal measure. Dull QTE gymnastics are saved by skilfully implemented track and field events that children won't beat you at. A decent multiplayer makes a case for pass-the-pad gaming.

  • Forty-five events, half of them good
  • Authentic presentation with realistic commentary
  • A focus on timing over button-bashing
  • Forty-five events, half of them bad
  • No famous athletes and a terrible character customiser
6.9

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