GAME NAME: London 2012 : The Official Video game
RELEASE DATE(S): 29 June 2012
Every four years the world’s greatest athletes take part in the ultimate challenge of fitness and skill in the Olympic Games. But there is another challenge that gets overshadowed by the grandeur of the Olympics. That is the challenge of gamers fighting off carpal tunnel syndrome in their hands caused by the frantic smashing of gamepad buttons. Ever since the track and field games on the 8-bit home consoles gamers have been out-smashing each other in the ultimate test of hand and finger fitness and this year the competition takes the form of London 2012: The Official Video Game.
At least, that’s what it used to be like but this latest virtual recreation of the Olympics seems to be a little less of a stress on our digits. The games are basically a series of Olympics-themed mini games. They usually shares a combination of rapid pressing of buttons followed by a well timed single press and a flick of the joy pad at the perfect angle. Some of the games are different like the shooting and the diving but the premise of timing comes into just about every one. The only real difference is the difficulty of each event.
Some of the events are really straightforward and the learning curve is quick, such as the 200m sprints and archery. Once you have played them a few times you have pretty much mastered the gameplay mechanic and the challenge falls away, as does your interest in them. Others like the discus and table tennis can take a little longer to figure out but as a single player experience the fun and challenge is short lived. There is not much new ground tread in this latest version over previous Olympic games besides some improved visuals and the slightly improved controls but not enough to warrant a purchase if you own previous titles.
One drawback of the PC version is that if you don’t own a gamepad the game (kinda) gives you the middle finger and then slaps you in the face. As you start the game a screen appears that recommends (i.e. demands) an Xbox controller. We felt like being slightly rebellious and decided to stick to the keyboard and mouse. We were quickly punished with set controls for the keyboard that can’t be customized. But that’s okay because surely the developers customised the keyboard in such a way that it’s pretty easy to control?. Well, we have witnessed a new height in laziness when it comes to porting a game to the PC. The keyboard controls match the Xbox controls precisely, that means that X and Y on the controller are X and Y on the keyboard and there is no changing it! Developers SEGA have clearly purchased shares in Microsoft peripherals because you will need one of their gamepads to properly enjoy this title.
That makes controlling this game on anything besides a gamepad harder than flying a kite in a Category 5 storm. The other problem with owning this game on PC is that unless you play online you miss out on the real fun which comes from playing against friends in party mode or just competing in events for bragging rights completely falls away. Although button-mashing was always meant for the consoles, there is some fun to be had here with London 2012:The Official Video Game. Just not with the PC version.