Gameplay ImpressionsGameplay Impressions
"Adequate" is the perfect adjective to sum up Winter Sports 2010. The small roster of 8 sporting disciplines is stretched out by an adequate array of game modes, the likes of which you’d expect to see in any sports game, while the presentation, graphics and gameplay have all been adequately well-handled. But, it could have been so much better.
As is usually the case with games that offer a variety of sports (see Wii Sports for details,) Winter Sports 2010 offers a real mixed bag in terms of quality. Figure-skating, for example, is one of the highlights, taking the unusual yet enjoyable rhythm-game approach that requires you to press buttons in time to on-screen prompts, while rotating your left thumb-stick and spinning the skater in time to the music.
Likewise, the way in which the developer has expertly captured the feeling of speed in downhill skiing, ski jumping, boarder-cross and the speed skating disciplines is worthy of praise. Through the clever use of rumble on the SixAxis controller and the smooth, flowing movement of your skier, you'll experience moments of intensity and excitement in some of the sports as you race speedily to the finish line and jostle for position with your competitors.
Credit should also be given for the impressive implementation of some of the features within the sports, such as the adrenaline system which gives you a short burst of speed, or the way that you can jump into the slips-stream of a competitor in the likes of Biathlon allowing you to catch up on them. Both of these features, which bring an element of strategy into the sports, are certain to be a contributing factor in your success in the online arena. The RPG-style upgrades system in career mode is also welcome addition, giving you an added incentive to compete and try your best to gain maximum points. The option to then bring your created player online is a feature that expands the replay value of the multiplayer component and gives you even further incentive to complete career mode and max up your stats.
You can't grumble about lack of content either. There's plenty to do in Winter Sports in terms of game modes, and the challenge mode does provide some good entertainment away from the seriousness of career and cup modes. The problem is that some of the disciplnes aren't that much fun to play so it's torturous having to play them time and time again. In Bob-sledding, for example, the controls feel loose and it seems that your skills don't have any bearing on the outcome; or speed skating where you stick to the corners like glue whenever you get close to them -- it just feels like control has been taken out of your hands.
Similarly, the combination of painstakingly-slow cross-country skiing and very basic target shooting in the Biathlon makes for one of the single most boring experiences I've ever had to endure during a sports game. It's fair to say that half of the eight disciplines are fun to play whereas the others aren't quite so engaging or exciting. or attention to detail in their development.
When you jump online it's the same problem. While I enjoyed competing in the sports that I liked playing in the career mode it gets repetitive very quickly playing the same four sports over and over again. However, it is the online arena that provides the most excitement. The career mode threatens to but never quite replicates the intensity of competing against real players, but the online multiplayer component has a great range of options that lets totally customise your modes before your begin, so you can choose to start off all players on a level-playing field or take on the big boys and jostle for leader-board position with your custom character.
It's good to see a full set of decent game modes in Winter Sports 2010. Likewise, the addition of some of the in-sport features and the fleshed out RPG-style career mode, which awards you well with upgrades for your achievements, is a welcome inclusion that certainly gives you an incentive to push forward to see how good your sportsman can become. But the mixed bag of games and the overall lack of excitement in career mode made me feel like I was just going through the motions in preparation for the real challenge of getting online, rather than really enjoying the mixed bag of sports. Suffice to say, it's during multiplayer sessions that you'll probably have the most fun in Winter Sports 2010. But just as quickly as the snow has now thawed across the UK(at the time of writing,) I'd also expect your enthusiasm for Winter Sports 2010 to melt just as rapidly.
An adequate, but unremarkable score then of 6/10.
Final Score: 6/10