London 2012 makes competing in athletics accessible to all that love games – be it a core or the occasional gamer. Competing on the grandest arena for your nation will appeal to most, and so the core gamer can do so online while the party mode [offline] caters for oodles of fun with family and friends. The control-mechanics are the trump card here and make for a gratifyingly enjoyable experience.
Developer: Sega Studios Australia
For fans of: Olympics, sport games
Reviewed on: Playstation 3
Also available on: Xbox 360, PC
If we had to give it a numerical score: 8.0/10
What we loved
- Surprisingly good gameplay
- Pretty design
- Competing online for your nation
- Great fun in party mode
- Playlist option
- Authentic stadia
Not so much
- Lack of real athletes
- Lack of sport brands
Gameplay and Features
London 2012 allows players to compete in over 30 Olympic events and supports motion control support for PlayStation Move and Xbox 360 Kinect. New disciplines include Keirin (cycling), 10m Synchronised Platform (diving) and Trampoline which are all welcome disciplines. Players can choose their nation and enter into a ‘career’ sort of mode which is the games themselves. You can edit athletes and equipment which you can unlock throughout the games. Besides the Olympics mode, you can select a playlist to compete in, play up-to-four players in a party mode, or compete online in for the global leaderboards which makes its debut. Here you can earn and track personal medals gained for your nation.
The Olympics mode is an absolute blast with your first go as you are introduced to the well designed control-mechanics in the various disciplines. While the Olympics are not the longest, you can push for Olympic and World records which should take up more than one go at the games. I personally found the value and the most fun in the party and online modes. The party mode was a sure thing with family and friends, even the non-regular gamers. You pair up, choose a playlist and compete versus the other team. Again, the control-mechanics’ design make for accessible fun even for the occasional gamer. The Online mode extends the singleplayer experience and this should extend my experience with London 2012 – competing for your nation is highly addictive.
The control-mechanics is where London 2012 really shines – the mechanics are relatively simple in design, but still require fluidity to excel. It’s not just about mashing your buttons as quick as possible to gain speed. For example, the sprinting requires tapping the X button, but there is a hot-spot or optimum spot where keeping your gauge within the given level will give the best result. If you tap to slow, your sprinter will fall behind, but you can also overdo it by tapping your button beyond the optimum level, again meaning your sprinter will suffer in speed. So a certain rhythm is required for the best results and thus lending itself to any form of gamer. Other events require combinations of buttons in a timely manner and some make use of the right and left thumb-sticks. The swimming for example, here your left and right strokes are activated by rhythmically pulling the stick down in conjunction with the correct arm. If you pull the thumb-stick too early or late, your swimmer will lose speed, so you need to time the stroke with the action indicator lighting up. The race’s where your swimmer needs to do more than one length of the pool requires you to hit the randomly selected button at the change of direction, followed by the tapping of the X button for the starting push. The control-mechanics’ design continued to surprise and delight as I went through the various disciplines and I found myself enjoying events that I would not normally be interested in. Winning the various events is achieved with relative ease providing you don’t choke on hitting the correct actions, but going for Olympic and World records requires discipline. I found winning the games themselves was not the biggest feat, but I did spend hours trying for the records, and I still have not obtained many.
If you are looking for London 2012 for the singleplayer experience offline, you may feel a little short-changed when the games come to the sudden end. It is competing for the records where the value is and more so with the multiplayer and online fronts. The completion’ists will like that there is plenty of kit and equipment to unlock which is not always the easiest to unlock.
Sound and Visuals
Visually London 2012 is a bright, crisp and authentic package with all the official logos and colouring. The presentation is neat, inviting and a pleasure to navigate through. Everything is well organised in the menus and sub-menus. Players have the option of skipping or playing through the brief tutorials before every event at the beginning of the discipline. The replays are worthwhile thanks to the authentic look, the good camera work and the splendidly authentic stadia and the atmosphere that comes with the stadia. The only aspect that lets the visuals down a tad is the look of the athletes themselves – while their animations are realistic-looking, the athletes look is basic and could do with a little more texturing and variation with the animations.
The audio is an absolute highlight thanks to the brilliant commentary and spectator involvement. The cheering of the fans is always well suited to how well you perform in the event as in the commentary. The soundtrack consists of the official songs; ‘Someday’ by Flipsyde and ‘Ruffneck (Full Flex) by Skrillex as well as the official national anthems at the medal ceremonies. The only aspect of the audio I would have like more with is the athletes, a little more from them would have created a more realistic feel. The athlete’s body language is generically portrayed by how well or poorly they do in the event, but besides the crowd, there is nothing from the athlete to further the dismay or content with how they did in the event.
London 2012 came as a bit of a surprise and its games like these that make me grateful to review games. This is a typical title that I would have otherwise overlooked as I wrongfully deduced that athletics games could be nothing more than a button-mashing fair. I was pleasantly surprised that Sega’s Australia studio managed to design the control-mechanics with great splendour; mixing precision and technique with timing to ultimately deliver an engaging experience. I loved that the vast majority of disciplines were a joy to play through, which made for ‘playlist play’ being a varied affair. I also love that the control-mechanics make the game accessible to everyone, so I was able to attract people to play hat would normally not be interested in videogames.
London 2012 is great in singleplayer albeit a short-lived affair, and is really good fun in the multiplayer front, both online and offline giving the package great replay value..
Read about our ratings here.