August 29, 2008
Still longing for some Olympic action even after the games have ended? Sega’s realistic multiplayer game “Beijing 2008” for the Xbox 360 may satisfy your craving, but perhaps not entirely.
“Beijing 2008” allows up to 4 players to compete simultaneously in an impressive variety of Olympic events over 3 different game modes. Gamers can engage in training, play head-to-head or create a dream team of athletes for their desired country to compete across the entire spectrum of track, field, swimming, gymnastics and other miscellaneous events.
Numerous as they may be, however, finding enjoyment in mastering the events is sometimes a challenge. Most of the gameplay involves furiously mashing buttons to gain speed, endlessly rotating joysticks to boost power levels or quickly holding triggers within finite time frames to determine launch angles. Successfully executing a throw or a jump is satisfying enough, but the amount of physical exertion players must put into such tiny movements seems silly – it’s almost enough to make you break a sweat. This game surely would have made more sense on the Wii.
Still, the backdrops are vibrant and realistic, and the short, optional tutorials prior to each event make the game accessible to inexperienced and experienced gamers alike. This is also the first Olympics videogame that allows online play.
A handful of the events are even captivating on all levels. The gymnastics floor competition sets a DDR-like pressing of the right buttons at the right times to a peaceful oriental soundtrack, while in the diving competition all sounds cut out as you guide your athlete in slow motion through complex flips and twists, before the crowd roars as the diver submerges.
It’s a long way to 2012, but “Beijing 2008” should hold you for at least a few more weeks.