It’s more or less a tradition for each Olympic Games event to have its own video game. We’ve seen various results from this in the past – some have been very good, some have failed heavily. The latest one, Vancouver 2010, lies somewhere in the middle – while it’s not exactly a shining example of what a sports game could be (and should be), it offers some very interesting features that the genre hadn’t seen so far, while also presenting its content in a catchy way.
Vancouver 2010 includes a good variety of sports to play, ranging over all of the categories featured in the actual Winter Olympic Games. You can play over a dozen different disciplines, from skiing (both freestyle and alpine), sledding and snowboarding, to ski jumping and spee dskating.
Shooting disciplines don’t seem to be present, as well as some others that were part of the real Winter Olympics, but it’s understandable that one game can’t include so many different gameplay modes.
Additionally, you can play most of the modes with your friends online, though the net code has been playing a bit wonky from what’ve seen – there is a good amount of lag compensation provided, but if you’re playing against people with weak connections you may see some annoying problems, such as “teleporting” players and other lag-related issues common to games of this genre.
Graphics and System Requirements
For a sports game, Vancouver 2010 looks nicely enough – detail has traditionally never been a major focus of this genre, but you can relax your eyes with some very attractive eye candy here – the spectator crowds, for example, aren’t just static flat images but actually contain 3D models that are spawned on a semi-random basis, creating a lively and believable crowd cheering you as you’re trying to get that gold medal.
There hasn’t been much effort put into optimizing it properly, on the other hand – even though it doesn’t look that impressive, it still requires some formidable hardware to run it properly and steadily, without having to succumb to framerate drops. Even players with powerful machines have been, strangely enough, reporting problems with the game’s framerate fluctuating up and down, seemingly unrelated to what’s going on in the game at the moment.
The nationalities included in the game don’t cover all of those that participated in the actual Winter Olympics 2010, with some being notably absent. You may find this slightly disappointing if you come from one of the nations that got omitted, but we wouldn’t take it so deeply/seriously.
A freash breather into the life of the sports games genre, Vancouver 2010 sets some expectations that it lives up to all the way – despite its hardware compatibility issues and the poorly optimized engine, it’s still a remarkable gameplay experience.