Game Review: Vancouver 2010
Release: January 12, 2010
Developer: Eurocom Entertainment Software (Published by SEGA)
Available Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360
Players: 1-4 (local, or via XBL/PSN)
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
Vancouver 2010 is the official video game of the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympic Games to be held (where else) in Vancouver, Canada. That is where any concept of ‘story’ ends. Not every title can have a killer story. Or even a story at all. At any rate, Vancouver 2010 is a compilation of 14 events which are participated in every four years by hundreds of athletes and competitors from around the globe (mostly from countries where it snows/freezes).
As far as how the game is set up, there is an overall menu giving you the choice to train, compete in an Olympic event, perform a challenge, and the usual options and credit menus. Once you’ve chosen either training, competing, or performing a challenge, you choose your country (all are equally weighted, so Russians don’t skate faster or Swiss don’t ski better, etc) and the event or challenge that you want to undertake. The controls are slightly different for each event, so it is VERY WISE to go through the tutorial before attempting the event or challenge. TRUST ME ON THIS. Once you have gone through the event, challenge or training session, your times/scores are uploaded to the global Xbox LIVE leaderboard.
The training sessions are very straightforward. You go through the event as if you were competing, and can continuously repeat as many times as you want in order to improve your skill. The Olympic events are just what they are supposed to be: a short mini-game in which you compete against the CPU (or online against up to four players). You will unlock achievements ONLY if you win a GOLD medal in each event. No freebies in the Olympic events from a gamerscore perspective. Also, the challenges start out a bit simple, but increase in difficulty in ‘mountains’. There is an EASY Mountain, an INTERMEDIATE Mountain, and an ADVANCED Mountain. The harder challenges are unlocked by completing easier challenges. Completing each challenge also nets you an achievement.
There happen to be a few bright spots, honestly. For one, the game ONLY takes up 2.9 GB of HDD space if you decide to install it for performance improvements. Also, the landscape of Vancouver looks beautifully rendered. I’ve never been there before, but I would like to visit. The gameplay controls (once you get them down) seem to work well and give you a good grasp on controlling the player properly. I understand that’s what controls are supposed to do, but work with me here.
Improvement. Hmmm. There are certainly quite a few things that could be improved about Vancouver 2010. While the controls give you a decent feel of how the athletes themselves perform the actions, I’m not sure that it’s necessary. I don’t like the idea of having to synchronize my button-presses with the speed-skater when it’s simpler to just tap the button quicker. The controls for the skiing, snowboarding, luge/skeleton/bobsleighing, and aerials were MUCH better, but could still use help. The MAIN area of improvement is EXTREMELY simple: give an option for setting the difficulty level. It’s EXTRAORDINARILY difficult to MEDAL, much less get gold (I guess they want you to feel a real sense of satisfaction?), so allowing those that aren’t ‘hardcore Winter Olympics fans’ who are likely renting the title for a night of patriotic fun with their buddies scale down the difficulty for the fun of it.
Patrick’s Final Say: In closing, in can say this much: I wasn’t extremely disappointed with Vancouver 2010 because I had set the bar EXTREMELY LOW. None of the ‘bright spots’ really make up for the fact that this isn’t a very fun set of mini-games. I would MUCH rather grab Wii Sports Resort or even a set of highly-addictive XBLA titles (Volume 1 with BeJeweled, Wik Fable of Souls, etc. comes to mind) rather than have to go through this title. I seriously wouldn’t even rent this for the GamerScore; and I’m an achievement addict.