London 2012: Release Date, Features and Preview for Olympics Video Game
This may be the most visually impressive Olympic video game I've seen. It's clear that Sega put a lot of emphasis on visual appeal, details and environments, but the true test will be in the gameplay.
These types of games can have very low replay value if the gameplay isn't addictive. Many gamers/Olympics fans will grab London 2012 as a means to emulate the most recent Summer Olympics moment from this year's games, but if the mechanics are clunky, it'll end up in the resale bin at Gamestop.
This is the official video game of the 2012 Summer Olympics, so short of the big names like Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps, the authenticity should be there.
Let's take a closer look at this game and its features.
Release Date: June 26, 2012
Platforms: PS3 with Move Support, XBox360 with Kinect Support and PC (per London 2012 website)
Go for Gold
Compete in over 45 events*, including all the blue-ribbon events plus some all-new events to Olympic video games offering the ultimate depth and variety. *Includes Motion Control and Party Play events.
More ways to play
Compete in a wide range of challenges and game modes including Olympic Games, Events Mode, Online Mode and Party Play.
Feel the Burn
For the first time ever in an Olympic Games video game, play using Motion Control with a dozen different events enabled for PlayStation®Move and Kinect for Xbox 360®.
Compete for Global Glory
Take the competition online with leader boards tracking personal medal counts, and earn National Pride points with each medal you win for your country - keep playing and improve your nation's standing!
The Ultimate Olympic Games Experience
Get closer than ever to the experience of the Olympic Games with reactive commentary, super-realistic graphics and TV style presentation.
Here is the official trailer for London 2012:
The majority of the media available for this game sells the Olympic-style experience, the awesome visuals and the use of the motion-controls. Those are all solid selling points as it hits on two separate styles of gamers.
The fans of motion-controlled games will have a new game to chose from, and the Olympic junkies will have the official title to get their fix. If the gameplay is up-to-par, it will draw the interests of a wider variety and also a more critical group of gamers.
Those that will play most any game that actually has solid concepts and playability.
Here are a few fly-overs from actual environments in the game, and some screenshots:
No, that isn't Michael Phelps, but it'd be nice if you could create an athlete that looks a lot like him.
The uniforms and equipment are rendered nicely for all countries.
There are six track and field events included in the game. Click here to see all of the available events.
Generally most of the Olympic-style games turn out to be button-mashing, hand-cramp creating experiences. It's been that way since the 1980s classic, Track & Field. Though some of them have been fun, the appeal tails off after a while.
The Kinect and Move support brings a new element to the genre, but apparently the motion controls are reserved for a mini-games section of the game.
The game is divided into three primary sections, per David Jenkins of Metro. There's a single-player Olympics mode, multi-player options with online play and then the motion-controlled arcade games. So if you're thinking you'll be running the 100-meter dash alongside Bolt, that's not exactly how it'll happen.
The motion-controlled modes are meant to be less realistic and more like party games.
So How Do You Play the Other Modes?
Jamie Bailey is the producer of London 2012, and he and his team have worked hard to make this game stand apart from other Olympic-style button mashers. Per Jenkins, this game has been in development for three years and is as much about gameplay as it is about riding on the Olympic push.
London 2012 is said to incorporate more of a timing-based button system, as opposed to rapid button-mashing.
Bailey told Jenkins this in an interview in the aforementioned article:
I think there are a number of games which were quite quickly brought out and just lived off the licence. Whereas we are trying to actually make something as a standalone title, that deserves a bit more credit in its own right. And so we've worked quite hard at making sure the video game itself is one everyone will want to play.
Will you buy London 2012?
Bailey goes on to explain that there are higher-paced button sequences for events like the 100 meters, but nothing on par with the thumb-blistering experiences from recent Olympic video games.
One feature that doesn't appear to be part of the package is a create-an-athlete feature. It would give gamers the freedom to create or re-create athletes Sega couldn't include. The generic American swimmer just doesn't have the same appeal as my created Michael Phelps would.
That said, the 45 events offers solid depth, but the new timing-based controls will tell the final story. Stay tuned for more information, videos and screenshots once I can give the retail version a spin.
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