Thursday, February 25, 2010

Video game number fifty six: Vancouver 2010

Game review number fifty six in my 365 Games in 365 Days project is "Vancouver 2010".

One of my coworkers saw me carrying this game as I was heading down the stairs to the parking garage after work this evening.

He said: "Vancouver, eh? That game sucks ass".

"Uh-oh, really?" I asked.

"Yeah. I thought the achievements would be really easy, so I played it...but then it turned out to be really tough. I'm stuck on a level where I have to be Apolo Ohno".

I made a mental note to avoid that level.

After I got home, I booted this one up and took a look at my options. Lots of skiing, some snowboarding, bobsled, luge and of course, the Apolo Ohno levels. I decided to skip those and go straight to some downhill slalom, which sounded sort of fun.

The controls are a bitch to get used to, but once I eventually got the hang of them in each mode, some events were actually ok. Slalom was one that had a long ramp up time for me (I couldn't figure out why I couldn't get gold even though I was going fast and not missing gates). I got frustrated and moved to the "Challenges", which aren't the Olympics, but rather....gamer challenges for achievements. I was able to do better there.

The downhill skiing is a lot of fun. Once I figured out how to keep my speed up (by not carving), I was able to win races and break records. That was pretty cool. I played both the bobsled and the luge...but I kept crashing, no matter how much I leaned. Those things have no brakes. Morbidly, I thought to myself "Boy, this is actually just like the real Vancouver 2010 Olympics" and then I stopped playing those modes.

I booted the speed skating events once, and my coworker was right, they pretty much blow. Next I went to snowboarding event, and I had my ah-ha moment. I don't know why it didn't occur to me until then, but this video game is pretty accurate as far as the location goes. I had seen this track before, as snowboarding was one of the first events I watched on TV during the actual Olympics. Later, I happened to see a brief glimpse of the slalom on TV (My wife was hoping to see some ice skating and had turned it on to check)....and I realized that it was the level I'd been playing all evening in the video game. That made it a bit cooler for me.

I did a few more challenges, including one I really liked where you had to do ski jumping tricks. Eventually, I made it to a challenge where you were supposed to run the snowboard race again. "Cool", I thought to myself "I was pretty good at this". Then I found out I had to run it with backwards controls. Left meant right, right meant left.

I can't imagine why they thought this would be fun. Challenging? Sure. Go ahead and make it a dumb achievement and make it optional if you want to screw with your player. I didn't feel like screwing around like that, as I had just spent a good 30 minutes or so learning how to get good at snowboarding. Suddenly they want me to do it completely backwards? That was just stupid.

I was actually mad that I couldn't adapt, so I played it about 12 times until I finished the challenge....just because. After that, I was basically done with this game.

Overall score? I have to give it a 5/10. It's pretty simple stuff, I can't see people being wowed by any of it. You've seen better snowboarding games for sure. The graphics are only so-so, with the big exception being how accurate the levels are compared to their real life Olympic counterparts. I suppose that shouldn't really be impressive, but for some reason...it was to me.

Achievements? I got quite a few

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