The lights are on
Many can say that the Bejiing 2008 Olympics was not a very kind one for the videogaming stars Mario and Sonic. After Sega’s and Nintendo’s utterly failed attempt to deliver a worthy Mario and Sonic game experience for the summer olympics, the two have reunited and seem to prove that the our animated heroes do far better in the cold of the Vancouver Winter Olympics with an all around impressive retool.
Akin to the first sports event, Mario and Sonic accompany noted companions from both of their franchises to compete in the Vancouver Canada Winter Olympic Games. Everyone from Luigi, Donkey Kong, Bowser, Wario, Dr. Eggman, Tails, Knuckles, and Princess Peach are long for the ride and for those not excited about playing Waluigi or Vector, the Wii's Miis avatars are also available for play.
Participating in nearly every real-life sport of the Winter Olympics, Mario and Sonic offers the usual suspects of snowboarding, skiing, figure-skating,speed-skating, hockey, and yes, because it IS in Canada, curling. Besides, these, special “Dream Events” are also features. In each, characters participate in Mario or Sonic themed versions of traditional sports with more unorthodox changes, (a.k.a no rules free for all with bombs and banana peels.) with the exception of the whimsical choice of snowball fighting.
The overall graphics are probably the better of the Wii so far, and all of the characters look as they should with fairly good animations. The Olympic events boast a decent showing of crowds and detail in the snowy hills to the event's cartoonish shops. All the characters sound as they should with their traditional voice actors behind them, made evident in every grating line from Vector the Crocodile to and Silver the Hedgehog.
Gameplay is definitely the more importantly improved of Sonic and Mario's aspects. It works and works well for starters, and by comparison to the Beijing Summer Games, the Olympic sports are tolerable to play. While the Beijing game was not only difficult, but seemingly stuck in molasses and unresponsive, the Vancouver Olympic game delivers generally easy, fluid controls and action without ever seeming unfair outside of a few skiing maneuvers. Like the first game, the controls are hard to adjust to at first, but ultimately prove entertaining afterwards. With that said, they don't amount to much outside of jiggling the Wii remote back and forth, but they function and get the job, albeit without much finesse.
Mario and Sonic may never seem like the must-play game of the year, but it’s still an entertaining multi-player experience for some. Thus, while a mediocre single player experience, I am tempted to say that with at least 2 or three other players, the Winter Olympics will actually feel a little more bearable and maybe make for a fun family or party game. It perhaps turned out better than the Vancouver's real Olympics, because that's an accomplishment even Sonic can feel proud of at the end of the day.
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