Taking on that timeless classic that is the track and field genre, Sega’s London 2012 offering brings Olympics themed button thrashing fun to the English capital
As the country is gripped by Olympic fever and with just one month to go until the long awaited Games get underway in the nation’s capital, Sega has introduced the official London 2012 video game, a release that goes a step beyond past track and field offerings.
Upping the skill level and user abilities required to compete at a high level, London 2012 is an Xbox 360, PS3 and PC title that is riding on the coattails of the summer showpiece with largely impressive graphics and a predominantly fluid gameplay experience forming a title that will appeal to those wrapped up in the Olympic spirit.
London 2012: Plot and Characters
The premise of the Olympics themed London 2012 release is a simple one - compete in a selection 45 events across a dozen Olympic sports, running, jumping, swimming, cycling and shooting better than your rivals to receive that coveted gold medal and hear your anthem piped around the selection of impressively accurate virtual London venues.
The most comprehensive Olympics themed title to date, London 2012 sees gamers able to select which country they represent, before heading out to compete in a selection of events from the usual Olympics fare (100metres, triple jump, diving) to the more obscure (beach volleyball, archery and kayaking), unlocking a selection of performance boosting kits and add-ons in the process.
Although the official game of the London 2012 Olympic Games, Sega’s Xbox 360, PC and PS3 games disappointingly do not have licensing rights to the names and likenesses of real-world athletes meaning the likes of Jessica Ennis, Usain Bolt and Chris Hoy, all poster stars of the coming games, are noticeable omissions from the key console offerings.
Fully aware of gamer’s wants to compete as their favourite athletes, Sega has offered a workaround for this niggling void, allowing users to modify the names and appearances of the playable characters and, following an extensive period of editing, create their own recognisable line-up of stars.
London 2012: Gameplay
A long stretch from the button bashing track and field games of past Olympic years, London 2012 is more about precision and timing than mere speed and power with the narrow margins between success and failure an honest representation of the intricate details that affect real-world athletes.
Although certain events prove surprisingly entertaining, time-absorbing hits, others are less impressive, appearing to have been almost fork handled into the game to meet a quota and tick another consumer appealing showpiece sport off the list at any means.
With track and field based athletics events providing impressively detailed and accurate gaming experiences, the likes of tablet tennis, gymnastics and diving disappoint with sluggish, jilted gameplay detracting from any hint at realism or entertainment value.
More about precision and timing than mere speed and power, London 2012 proves to be a game that is easy to pick up and play yet is hard to master.
With a selection of game modes allowing users to compete in individual events, honing their skills and improving their personal bests, the game’s showpiece is unsurprisingly the Olympic Games themselves with the need to compete in a broad range of events fun at first but tiresome following some time with the title.
London 2012: Multiplayer
As with all modern game releases, London 2012 is complemented by a selection of online multiplayer features that see gamers given the chance to test their skills against the wider world.
Competing for your desired country, London 2012’s online multiplayer features prove very impressive and entertaining with the sport based competitive nature of the release transferring well to the online community with fast load times and fluid gameplay seeing users repeatedly coming back for more.
Able to select from individual events or compete across a selection of game modes, the online experience offers plenty of options for all user types with the experience proving more enjoyable that simply challenging the computer in single player, adding a level of variety and spontaneity to the otherwise quite formulaic title.
Further enhancing the multiplayer offerings, the summer game tie-in fills the usually tiresome loading screens with a selection of online rivalries, offering up the event personal bests of friends and community randoms, comparing in true competitive sporting fashion to your own corresponding PBs.
London 2012: Verdict
A strong showing from Sega that certainly helps to add to the excitement around the impending Olympics, whilst the London 2012 game will keep you entertained, that excitement and enjoyment will take a considerable nosedive once the Olympics come to a close, casting a shadow over the title’s lifespan.
With moments of brilliance and a true sense of achievement accompanying impressive results, London 2012 is let down by unnecessary faults with hindering effects of the likes of the cycling events doing more damage than good to the otherwise pleasing title.
London 2012 availability: Available now
London 2012 price: £32.99