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    Review: Beijing 2008
    Saturday, 26 July 2008
    Ive always been a fan of Athletics games (although not the actual sport for some reason). I used to play one a lot on the N64 with friends, although for the life of me I can't remember which one. Anyway, this is why I was quite happy to hear an official Olympics game was coming out and I decided to rent it.

    Ive got mixed feelings about this game, hopefully you'll understand why as I carry on with this review.

    One nice feature of the game is that its Xbox Live leaderboards are linked directly into the game, so the World Records you see on the screen are the records that people have set from all over the world. Now while this is a great feature, its already proven to be very flawed. One of the first events I tried out was the Pole Vault. Looking at the World Record I was shocked to see that it was over 600m! I'm sure some people may find it hilarious to have scores this high, I didn't. I think it actually takes a lot of the fun out of it. This is a game in which the basic premise is to compete against other people to get the highest score/time possible. Now with these new ridiculous scores (brought about by cheating or glitches I don't know which) then fun for me is taken out. I know now that I will never be able to gain a World Record by normal means so why bother at all?

    Still, I don't want to complain too much as it is still an enjoyable game. There are a wide variety of events. All the ones you would expect are there. Some of my favourites so far have been the diving, where you choose the type of dive you want and then use the two thumbsticks to line up the dive correctly. Archery is another good one, having to account for the wind and the feeling when you get a ten. High Jump I found every interesting, instead of with all the other athletics games Ive played where you just button mash to get up speed then jump at the correct time, here you actually have to press buttons at the correct time in the run up, almost turning it into a quick time event.

    The rest of the events are pretty similar to those you would have seen before, either mashing the correct buttons to gain speed or wiggling the thumbsticks. Another change though is the starting of races, gone are the instances of just button mashing as soon as the gun shoots. Now instead you hold one of the shoulder buttons down and a bar starts to fill up, the speed of this depends on how hard you hold the button. Now when this bar gets to the red section you have to run, the trick in this is to time it perfectly so that you hit the red just as the gun sounds, otherwise you get some pretty slow starts. I'll admit that I haven't quite gotten used to this yet so my starts tend to be pretty poor!

    I have been impressed with the graphics in Beijing 2008. The character models seem top notch to me, with expressive features and definitely looking more human than the older Olympic games I played before this! Unfortunately the crowd can be a bit repetitive, watching 50% of them all tilt their heads in the same direction and style every now and again can get a bit distracting.

    Playing this game was always going to be best on multiplayer. I tried it out with goaferboy and we had some fun trying to beat each others times and going head to head in certain events. I have not had the chance yet to try it with more people but I thinks its safe to assume the multiplayer would be great fun with a full four people playing.

    Overall I would say Beijing 2008 is a good athletics game, although a lot harder than previous athletics games I think this does spur you on a bit to work harder. As I mentioned before, the World Ranking problems really have made it hard for me to want to event attempt going for records and that's why currently this game wont get a higher score than I would have given it just from the normal play through. I can only hope that a patch might be released at some point to fix this. If not then I wont be playing it on single player a whole lot after the initial career.

    Oh, and one more thing to note...............MY THUMBS ARE KILLING ME FROM ALL THE BUTTON MASHING!

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    posted by Happenstance @ 11:39  
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