Vancouver 2010 on PS3

January 13, 2010

So yesterday I finally got my hands on ‘Vancouver 2010’ for the PS3! I’m a big video game nut (aka nerd), and a big Olympic nut, so this is pretty much the perfect combo for me.

Now normally, Olympic Video Games are pretty crappy. I get it to some extent…it’s tough enough to do one sport properly, let alone trying to tackle a dozen or so at once. So, normally Olympic Video Games are just concerned with trying to make a quick buck, rather than actually make a good game. This leads to things like incessant button-mashing, buggy game play and a generally frustrating experience.

This time around, I’ve found ‘Vancouver 2010’ to be better than your normal Olympic Video Game, but still a long way from perfect.

First, my beefs. I’m a little surprised to see so few events covered. Although there are a few variants for each (IE Luge and Skeleton, or the 500m and 1500m) there are really only:
  • Alpine Skiing
  • ‘Cross’ Events (Ski, Snowboard)
  • PGS Snowboard
  • Short-Track Speed Skating
  • Aerials
  • Sliding Sports (Luge, Bobsled, Skeleton)
  • Ski Jumping
No Hockey. No Curling. No Long-Track Speed Skating. No Moguls. No Halfpipe. No Cross-Country. No Biathlon. No Figure Skating.

So, really, this game only covers about 50% of the Games…..and even within the sports that are covered, they only touch on a few of the disciplines. This means the depth of the game really isn’t what it could be…I think I’ll get pretty sick of this game pretty quickly. There just isn’t enough options to keep me going.

Further, within each individual event, a fair number of them are unduly shortened. As an example, for Snowboard Cross, you already start out in the Finals…there is no qualification, no semi-finals etc. So when you only have one 4-Person race…and three of them are getting medals…there is no real sense of achievement. I don’t know why you couldn’t have added a few more ‘rounds’ and rival competitors.

The second thing I didn’t like was the lack of ‘atmosphere’. Its kind of hard to explain, but there is really no feel that the individual events are connected in any way….they all feel like standalone events. There is no Opening Ceremonies, No Closing Ceremonies…you only compete against 4 athletes in the ‘Olympic Games Mode’…you just don’t get the feel that you’re at the Games…

The events that were done, have been done very well. The graphics are amazing, especially the scenery, and I was actually a really big fan of the sound. The sound of the skis cutting into the snow, the wind rushing by really helped the overall experience. I also really thought the ‘speed blurring’ gave you a real sense of how fast your character was supposed to be going.

I was also really really pleasantly surprised by the control schemes that were used. Olympic Video Games are notorious for requiring non-stop button mashing. Although it does show up in a few spots, its normally to build up speed, or go for a big finish….rather than required for the whole event. Instead, most events rely either on timing your steps (ie Short-Track) or timing meters (Aerials).

Speaking of which, I think my favourite event so far has to be the Women’s Aerials competition. If there was one event that I was surprised to see included, this would probably be it…as its not really something that’s easy to design a control for. I think that they did an excellent job coming up with how you control your athlete for this one: starting out with an ‘aim’ meter, then a ‘launch meter’, before progressing into a rotating ‘style’ bar that is really quite ingenious. You then land via a single button push when you think it’s the right time.

Overall, I think that this is a pretty decent attempt at an Olympic Video Games…the controls are good, the graphics are good, the sound is good….but the depth sucks. It needs more events pretty badly, and each of those events needs to be its ‘proper’ length.

I really don’t know why things were paired down as much as they were….considering a fair amount of the leg-work for more events had already been done. Short-Track Speed Skating could of course been ported into Long-Track, and the Aerials controls could have been translated into Moguls. You already had a couple of snowboarding events, so why is halfpipe missing? Cross-Country/Biathalon are basically the same event, so you have a cross-over there as well.

It’s a shame, because what was done is really good. It just seems like they ran out of time, and published what events they had done.

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This blog is the online chronicle of our adventures leading up to, and including, the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. We hope to give you a little insight into what went into planning our trip and a first hand look at the Games from the ground in Vancouver.

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