Fans of the Winter Olympics will be spoilt for choice when it comes to the two available titles celebrating the 2010 Vancouver games. Unfortunately it seems that neither the official, nor the unofficial Winter Sports 2010: The Great Tournament, are likely to blow you away with their gameplay and graphics. This particular unofficial title is more likely to have you cringing than smiling in enjoyment, with difficult controls, a disappointing lack of mini-games and graphics that won’t wow. But is there anything good to be had on your console this winter from The Great Tournament.
Let’s start with aesthetic appeal. On the whole, the snow-capped scenery isn’t unattractive, just somehow not quite at the level that we would expect considering the graphical prowess of the console. Of course, looking more closely at the faces of the competitors will lower your graphical experience somewhat, with particularly poor rendering removing any recognition of individual competitors. The menu system too is stripped back to the point of being almost non-existent. Clean cut navigation certainly isn’t a bad thing, but The Great Tournament proves that things can be taken too far.
We could forgive graphics if the game itself was particularly exciting, but this isn’t exactly the case either. There are eight mini-games included in Winter Sports 2010 such as downhill skiing and figure skating, but none of them are likely to drag you back for more. We’d forgive the lack of different games if each were developed distinctively and boasted its own unique controls; however this certainly isn’t the case. Even the game that stands out as the best of a bad bunch, the bobsled run, quickly becomes tedious.
Aside from the figure skating mini-game in which you must follow a pattern of buttons on screen in a similar fashion to Guitar Hero, the controls for the rest of the games are similar. This removes the ability to improve your performance much in any arena, even with hours of practice. The simplicity and similarity doesn’t leave a lot of room for human influence so even in the online multiplayer modes, there isn’t a lot of incentive to try to reach the top of the international ranking boards.
While there may be some fun to be had in the career mode, allowing you to progress through a story in which you turn from amateur into championship leader, it’s doubtful that you will replay it, or even complete it the first time. Multiplayer adds fun in the form of a good laugh with friends, but unfortunately can’t mask the fundamental flaws of the game itself.
Winter Sports 2010: The Great Tournament isn’t a diabolical game. It boasts average graphics, average gameplay and a limited assortment of games, creating an unsurprisingly average game as its end result. With so many great titles to be found though, it’s hard for an average game to find a place on many shelves and, as such, this could well be one to avoid.