Media has been pummeling everyone with advertisements and reminders that
the Winter Olympic Games started on February 10th. Therefore, in the spirit
of the Olympics I went out and rented the latest incarnation of the Winter
Olympics released by 2K Sports for the Xbox. I have always been a big
fan of the Olympics and have watched them for years. I supported my country
by simulating that I was a participant in the games as far back as 1978
when Atari released a version for the Atari 2600 called Pong Sports.
However, in previous versions of the Winter
Olympics games, I always felt that there was something lacking from the
games that kept them from getting the gold. My hope was climbing up the
wood steps to the downhill jump as I popped in the disk. Could this be
it? Could 2K Sports hold up their end by calling Torino 2006 “The
Official Game of the Winter Olympics?” Unfortunately, as I missed
the landing on Ski Jump, I thought that this game is missing the same
feeling as all the others and just does not live up to the feeling of
the Olympic spirit.
Torino 2006 is the only Winter
Olympics game released this year, so there is not a large competition
for this games and that is a huge plus for 2K Sports and Take-Two. For
Olympic fanatics, the developers have created a realistic looking environment
and it is the best looking Olympic game that I have played to date. The
crowd looks great as you zoom by in your luge as your legs bounce all
over the track.
one of the positive things about the game is the work the developers put
into the sounds of the Olympics. I was very impressed as some of the small
details you hear as you play the game. As you are performing the Downhill
Skiing, you hear the cowbells going off faintly and as you get closer
to the final gate, the sounds of the crowd and cowbells become louder
louder. On the uphill portions of the Cross Country skiing, as your skier
grows tired, his breathing begins to be ragged and you can hear the skier
struggling to get air.
The controls on the game, while not customizable,
are pretty easy to handle. Previous Olympic Games turned out to be more
of a button masher, while there are some thought out designs to prevent
this from being one of the other games. I was particularly impressed with
the speedskating’s controls. At the gun, you button mash the A &
B button up to a racing speed and then you go into a rhythm type control.
The goal is to keep the same tempo as the screen shows and hold the A
button down and then switch to the B button. As you head into the corner,
the time between each stroke shortens and then in the straight away, the
country skiing was another nice touch, you use the left analog stick to
control the speed of the skier while trying not to exert too much energy
or the skier will drag to standstill. I wish the controls could have been
customized because when in the longer speed skating event, my left thumb
would hit the right analog stick way too often and throw off my tempo
causing my speeds to slow.
Visually, sound-wise and control wise, Torino
2006 is a not too bad game. It is comparable to other recent releases
on the Xbox, but just does not stand heads above the other platinum version
games that I can buy for the same price.
I am a multiplayer freak. I won’t
purchase a game that does not at least have a mod that you could use for
multiplayer. Needless to say, Torino 2006 does not have online multiplayer
capability. You can play with three of your buddies where you rotate who
is doing the event. As my wife and I played together, it was not very
exciting sitting on the couch and watching her do the 1500m Speed skating,
which takes around four to five minutes. There are some events that are
understandable to do one at a time, but racing evening such as Downhill
Skiing or Speed skating that would be prime split screen action.
the box claims that there are fifteen separate events in the game, there
are really only six different events. The main events are Alpine Skiing
(4 events), Ski Jumping (2 events), Cross Country Skiing (2 events), Speed
skating (3 events), Bobsledding (3 events), Biathlon (1). The only differences
between the events are the vehicle you use like the 2-man bobsled team
or luge as well as the distance of the event. The game just felt like
it was recycling the tracks and images and instead of creating different
courses for the different events.
The game is short – and boy, I do
mean short. With two players and playing the 15 event program, it only
took 45 minutes to complete the game. If I am to pay twenty dollars for
game that takes less time to play than a two hour movie. I’ll pick
the movie every time.
Oh my – there is several events that
I would have loved to see in Torino 2006 that did not make it
into the game. Hockey, Curling, Figure Skating (my wife requested that
one – ?), Snowboarding, and the Opening Ceremonies are just a few
of things that could have made this a complete game. As it stands now,
I feel like the game is only partially completed and some key winter Olympics
events are not included.