Pretentious, but a great mini game collection

User Rating: 8 | Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games 3DS
The Mario & Sonic series is a pretentious mini game collection utilising Nintendo and Sega's well loved characters. This 3rd game in the series is one of the official London Olympic computer games. Given that Mario and Sonic have already been to the Olympic games, changes have to be made to differentiate this game from the début game. A story mode has been introduced where Dr Eggman and Bowser team up and create a fog machine to cover London and prevent the games from happening. The story sees Mario, Sonic and friends try to find out the cause of the fog and to ensure the competition goes ahead. The story mode is a good introduction to the mini games, but drags on with its slow pace and intensive cut-scenes. The sound becomes annoying with each bit of dialogue being met with a simple exclamation instead of full speech. The story seems cheesy and very silly especially when you think about how the characters are challenging each other to Olympic events and aren't being affected by the fog at all. If the fog isn't affecting their performances; then the fog shouldn't stop the competition! Even if you have played previous games; the controls and game-play is different. This decision would be to differentiate from the début game but to also take advantage of the control options on the 3DS; touch screen, gyroscope, control stick, buttons. There are plenty of mini-games here, and the variety of control schemes helps make the game-play experience feel fresh despite each games simplistic nature. However, some games are far too simplified and focus on a small part of the event. Handball has you play as a goalkeeper and must block 10 attempts at goal, Marathon has you attempting to grab a water bottle worth varying points. Most of the competitive games are first to 3 points such as fencing, volleyball, badminton, tennis and water polo. In previous games in the series, you could choose any character for any event, but this game has a restriction to a certain group of players such as 'Heroes' (Mario, Sonic, Luigi, Tails) or 'Tricksters' (Wario, Waluigi, Eggman, Metal Sonic) and each character does not have stats to make them different from each other. This decision seems strange, as does the removal of the Dream Events. Each game can be played in the three difficulty levels Easy, Medium and Hard. Personally, I found the Hard difficulty varying in difficulty from being about the right difficulty to being almost impossible. In some games like Javelin, I received a score that was just under the Olympic Record, yet I was placed 3rd out of the four competitors. This was definitely my main complaint with the game because it is surprisingly fun and has enough content to last at least 10 hours.