- Kinect Sensor Optional
- Publisher: SEGA
- Developer: SEGA Studios Australia
- ESRB Rating: “E" for Everyone
- Genre: Sports
- Pros: Great presentation; lots of events; solid and fun controls for most events; best Olympic game ever
- Cons: Optional Kinect controls don't add much; uneven difficulty curve; not a lot of longevity
- Check out all of About.com's London 2012 Summer Olympics coverage here
London 2012 offers 31 events (though if you split them between men's and women's sides it inflates the number to 45) taking place in the real venues in London. Events include a number of track and field entries, swimming, diving, archery, volleyball, table tennis, and more. Thirty-six countries are represented so you'll more than likely be able to play as your home country as you try to win the gold.
One of the best things about London 2012 is that it is pretty straightforward. There is no RPG-style level-up process like in Beijing 2008, which means your athletes will be at their best right at the start without you having to grind (and fail a lot) to build them up like in the last game. You can play in either an events mode where you just pick any events you want to play, or you can play Olympic Games mode where you play two events each day over a number of days (depends on the difficulty you select) where you have to first qualify and then jump straight to the finals of each event. Another improvement is that the load times are lightning quick in London 2012 so restarting events or going from one event to the next is very fast, which limits any frustration you might feel if you fail.
Kinect controls are available for a handful of events as well but, unfortunately, they aren't really worth dusting off your Kinect sensor. Rather than trying to emulate the actual actions the athletes do in each of the sports, the Kinect controls are mostly a lot of waving your arms as fast as you can and do little to make you feel like you're actually participating in the event.
Swimming events are interesting because you use the analog sticks to move the arms of your swimmer and precise timing and speed is important to build up a good rhythm and go fast. Different swimming styles require different stick motions, so there is quite a bit of variety here. Diving events use QTE controls where you select a routine and then have to press the buttons at the right time to perform the moves before flicking the analog stick to straighten your body out so you enter the water cleanly.
Other events include the surprisingly solid table tennis that uses the right analog stick to put different spin on the ball (not quite on Rockstar Table Tennis level, but enjoyable), a fun, but pretty shallow, beach volleyball entry (it is no Dead or Alive Xtreme 2), and cycling where you tap a button to sprint and hold it to cruise to regain energy. Some other fun events include archery where you have to carefully gauge the wind before letting your arrow fly, or the awesome pistol shooting where you only have a few seconds to hit five targets as accurately as possible. All of these events we mentioned, plus a handful we didn't, are all fairly simple, but really quite fun once you learn the controls and get into it all. Each event has a tutorial that does a fairly good job of explaining things, and the game is pretty solid all around. It doesn't take long to master each event, so there isn't a ton of replay value, but it is enjoyable while it lasts.
Graphics & Sound
The presentation in London 2012 is really quite stunning. The graphics are nicely detailed with great looking, smoothly animated athletes and awesome looking stadiums to compete in. As far as sound goes, London 2012 is solid here as well with decent commentary in each event and, of course, each country's national anthem when you win.