Vancouver 2010

February 23, 2010

You’ve all heard the expression “jack of all trades, master of none,” and no other string of words describes Vancouver 2010 better. Boasting a glut of events to participate in, Vancouver 2010 transports you to this year’s Winter Olympic Games by way of the quick time event. Feel the wind in your hair, take in the scenic vistas, and press buttons in time with the on-screen prompts.

There is a reason that sports carry individual games. They are complicated to simulate and exciting to play with precision. Vancouver 2010 simplifies its events so much that the final count feels like less than the sum of its parts. Luge, Skeleton, and Bobsled all feel the same visually (which makes sense as they all run the same course), but which control vastly differently for seemingly no reason. In one even you’ll mash A to run, tap B to get on your sled, and steer with the left stick. In another you’ll press A in time with on-screen prompts, tap B to get on your sled, and steer with the triggers. And in the third you’ll mash A to run, tap B to get on your sled, and then steer with both analog sticks. The muddle doesn’t end with sled events. There seems to be no real difference between Super G and Giant Slalom.

Think of the Winter Olympics. What sports immediately spring to mind? For me it’s hockey, curling, ice dancing, luge, and snowboarding. Only one and a half of those five events are represented in Vancouver 2010 – luge and snowboarding. Snowboarding only gets half a point because cross is included but not halfpipe. Hockey is complex enough to warrant its own game, but in a game comprised of quick time events where is the DDR-esque ice dancing? Where is curling? In the U.S. at least, Shaun White is a big celebrity – big enough that he represents an entire brand of snowboarding video games. So where is his signature event, the snowboard halfpipe? 

Ignoring gameplay for a moment, Vancouver 2010 is a very pretty game. The courses at Whistler are faithfully recreated, and that will surely be important to an Olympics fan. Another neat feature is the ability to switch into first-person mode at any time. First-person makes everything harder, but it also brings the experience home a little bit. Things are harder when they’re more realistic. I didn’t spend a whole lot of time in first-person mode because I like doing well in events, but it is certainly entertaining to ski in first-person looking through the orange-tinted goggles of an Olympic competitor.

Vancouver 2010 does feature multiplayer, but if an event can’t carry a single-player experience then it isn’t going to be fun in multiplayer either. I couldn’t find any opponents online to play against, and I don’t expect that any of you will have much better luck. Vancouver 2010 is a rental at best, and even then this one is only for true Olympic fanatics.

Plays Like: any other minigame compilation you care to name

Pros: Great recreation of Whistler

Cons: Not fun to play, lack of available events


Score: 1/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.