Can't wait for the 2010 Winter Olympics? Well they are here now, in game form! Vancouver 2010 is British developer Eurocom's second shot at a (metaphorical) gold medal in Olympic titles which, in a weird turn of events, has been released before the Olympics have begun.
There are two main single player modes to play through: Olympic Games and Challenges. The Olympic mode is essentially a quick play and multiplayer mode combined. You can pick from any of the events and dive in either against AI players or a friend, over system link or Xbox Live. The Challenge mode offers more for the single player with three mountains to climb: Easy, Intermediate and Advanced.
To get started, you pick an event, the country to represent (New Zealand is absent because either we aren't competing, or our athletes haven't been confirmed). In any given event you control a generic athlete. The lack of names seems strange given it has the official Vancouver 2010 branding and a lot of names are already confirmed on the Vancouver 2010 Olympics website.
Vancouver 2010 sports 14 events, divided into eight categories. The events range in quality from the most entertaining types such as Alpine Skiing, to the button-mashing ice skating contests and awkward analogue stick-twiddling Ladies' Aerials - in which you have to move one of both sticks according to the cursor.
Events begin with quick tutorials to teach you the basics. These can be especially important as the AI players are difficult - even on the easiest events. In some cases it isn't necessary as a few events such as Bobsleigh and Luge are carbon copies of each other - you've played one, you've played them all. After each event you can check out your ranking on the Xbox Live leaderboards, and try to top your score - seeing how much time you can cut off from on that last run.
In addition to the leaderboards, Vancouver 2010's visuals sport Sega's usual polish - a flashy, easy to navigate menu. The title really shines when you're cruising down the ski slopes, packing everything you would expect in a Winter Olympics: big crowds, large ski fields and motion blur effects throughout the races.
Overall Vancouver 2010 is a mixed bag; on one hand it has nice visuals, entertaining multiplayer, leaderboards and a couple of good single player and fun online multiplayer modes to play through. On the other hand, it went downhill with the skiing onwards. Over half of the events are frustratingly bad due to awkward controls, and New Zealand gamers can't represent their own country - the closest one is Australia.
Check out the event list:
- Giant Slalom (women)
- Slalom (women)
- Downhill (men)
- Super G (men)
- Two-Man Bobsleigh (men)
- Luge Singles (men)
- Skeleton (men)
- Aerials (men)
- Ski Cross (women)
- Parallel Giant Slalom (men)
- Snowboard Cross (men)
- Individual Large Hill (men)
- 500m Short track speed skating (women)
- 1,500m Short track speed skating (women)