Vancouver 2010 Hands-On Impressions

We hit the slopes in the Great White North to see the latest Olympic Games tie-in.

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Anyone with a modicum of knowledge about math and sports can tell that 2010 is a year that ends in an even number and therefore poised to deliver another round of Olympic festivities. This time around, it’ll be the Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia. With Sega in firm possession of the official Olympic license, a video game tie-in is being worked on and due out for release later this year. The game was on display here at E3 2009, showcasing a grand total of one event from the final list of 14. We hit the slopes in the Men’s Individual Large Hill event to see what you can expect when the release rolls around.

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Who's Making This Game: Sega is handling publishing duties, but the developer is Eurocom. This is the same studio responsible for the Beijing 2008 game, as well as a number of licensed tie-ins based on various films and TV shows.

What the Game Looks Like: We played the PlayStation 3 version of the game, so we can only speak to the look of this particular one. But overall, it’s a slick-looking game. Character models seem to be rendered with a nice level of fidelity, while the snowy mountains in the distance look pretty nice. It is a good-looking game overall, but nothing that will blow you away. One neat thing, though, is that the event we played was shown entirely from the first-person perspective, with blurred goggle outlines in your periphery and muted breathing sounds.

What There Is to Do: As we said before, the one and only event Sega had on display at its E3 booth was the Men’s Individual Downhill event. The final version of the game will ship with a total of 14.

How the Game Is Played: Beijing 2008 relied on a simple control scheme where the focus was more on pressing a single button in synch with a pre-animated athlete rather than moving your character all over the place and controlling every one of his actions. It seems that will be the case for Vancouver 2010, as well. Here’s the control sequence for Downhill: Hit X to stand up; Hit X again when a small gauge on the right fills all the way up for a powerful push; hit X a third time in time with another gauge for a powerful jump; and finally, adjust balance in midair with the shoulder buttons before hitting X in time with a fourth and final gauge to achieve a perfect landing. In short, it’s all about reflexes.

What They Say: The official press releases states, “Vancouver 2010 will set a new standard for the Olympic-themed video games genre.”

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What We Say: That’s something of a stretch. Vancouver 2010 looks like a competent collection of sporting events, but it's by no means anything that will raise the bar. The biggest risk it seems to be taking is the first-person perspective, so there’s really not a whole lot being shaken up here. We’ll reserve further judgment until we get a chance to see some more events. Keep an eye out for it.

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