Grading a game like Vancouver 2010 is tough because its appeal is fairly limited
All Sega gets for their efforts with Vancouver 2010: The Official Video Game of the Winter Olympics is a bronze.
- Easy to pick up and play, it does an adequate job of recreating the individual events visually
- The lack of variety really hurts the overall product, the addition of some of the more under-appreciated events would have been welcome
Vancouver 2010: The Official Video Game of the Winter Olympics is a passable title that does a decent job of recreating the Games but it isn't the gold medal effort that it could be.
Of the 86 individual events that make up the Winter Olympics, Sega has opted to only recreate 14 in Vancouver 2010. Of those, seven involve downhill skiing/snowboarding and another three are dedicated to sledding events. I can understand why they focused on these events, as they constitute the majority of the actual Olympics, and events such as ice hockey would have required too much work to properly replicate, but it would've been smart to insert some of the more specialized events that make the Winter Olympics so unique. Curling, Biathlon and Nordic Combined are just a few of the quirkier events that could have broken up the monotony of getting a good jump and directing your skier around flags, and it's a real shame to see them omitted. It's especially interesting to see Curling wasn't included: admittedly, it's a niche sport but it's popular enough--and simple enough--to have warranted a spot on the roster.
The events that are included--what few of them there are--are competently recreated, but they get dull rather quickly. And because most of the events are simply variations on the same discipline, the game fails to hold your interest over the long run. You can ski or snowboard down a mountain so many times before you start to crave a sense of variety.
The challenge tree mini-games stand as a bright spot, bringing a sorely needed sense of diversity to the proceedings. In this mode you can accept specific challenges, such as hitting a top speed or completing an event within a certain time restraint; doing so unlocks more challenges and there is some fun to be had in trying to meet every single goal. But while it is nice to have a goal outside of "Win gold, repeat," there's no escaping the fact that you're playing the same events on the same course with little incentive outside of achievements or trophies.
Grading a game like Vancouver 2010 is tough because its appeal is fairly limited; unless you're a huge winter sports fan or are incredibly excited about the Winter Olympics, this is a title that you probably didn't have on your radar. But even if you are in the game's target demographic, you should avoid this lacklustre effort as it just isn't a faithful representation of the upcoming Games; instead, expend that energy on following the actual action and look for the title in a bargain bin once the Olympics have concluded.
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