Beijing 2008 - the Official Video Game of the Olympic Games Reader Review
I have to admit that when I started the official video game of the Beijing Olympics my expectations were not high. While Mario and Sonic at the olympic games povided entertainment and a healthy bout of competition with its lighthearted interactive gaming, I could not see the immediate appeal of a sit-still and serious approach on the PS3. My insticts weren't wrong.
While the graphics are undeniably impressive, the designers seem to have spent much more time showing this off with artful shots of the stadium and athletes' victory dances than they did on making the game any fun to play. The controls are simple enough but you'll have sore thumbs by the end of the first track event thanks to the button-bashing needed to keep athletes up to speed, while the instructions for judo are presented with complacent ambiguity. Events like gymnastics and the high jump are a little more satisfying to play; working like a rythmn game with targets for the athletes to step on showing the corresponding button for you to press. However, unless played with a group of drunken friends all trying frantically to reach the finish line by hammering their controlers as fast as humanly possible , I fail to see the fun in olympic induced R.S.I.
One thing Sega have succeeded at is creating a realistic yet stylish game with slick menus, leaderboard ranking, replays and commentary in the style of the real olympics. Unformtunately, I found the coverage of the actual 2008 games uninspiring as well, but I'm sure for real sports fans these will be much appreciated features that make the experience more believable.
Whilst you'd expect a game based on the most prostigious sporting event to be a lively challenge, the events are pretty lacklustre and this absence of excitement means players have little motivation for competing. Although gold medals and renditions of your athlete's national anthem give satisfying gloating oppertunities, the sedated tone and painfully slow pace of the game makes this a pretty mediocre reward for all your hard work. None the less, there is an eclectic collection of sports to try and a lofty satisfaction in perfecting your technique.
All in all, Beijing 2008 is a well made game with plenty to offer serious sports fans, but for those hanckering after the fun spirit of competative gaming, I wouldn't recommend it. You'll probably find more excitement on a golf course.
4 / 10