Legendary Characters Reunite For More Of The Same - Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games - Nintendo Wii - www.GameInformer.com
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Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games

Legendary Characters Reunite For More Of The Same

With Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games, I feel like I’m writing a review of a marketing plan, not a game. Combining two of gaming’s legendary characters with the world’s most famous sporting event translated into worldwide sales of over 10 million copies for Sega and Nintendo last time around, so a sequel was virtually guaranteed. Two years later, the duo is back and looking for more filthy lucre at the Vancouver Winter Games.

I had a good idea of what I was in for before I even popped the disc into the Wii. The game features 27 events, a good number on paper, but one that’s somewhat misleading. Many of the events – like alpine skiing or snowboarding – don’t feel particularly different from each other unless you use the Wii Balance Board functionality, a feature that doesn’t warrant the time it takes get the Wii to sense the peripheral.

Some events are better than others, with the more race-oriented events like skeleton, skiing, and snowboarding usually reaching a level of acceptable gameplay. That said, the skiing isn’t as good as it was in Wii Ski, and the snowboarding as good as in Shaun White Snowboarding: Road Trip, so there isn’t a lot of benefit here to anyone but the most ardent Mario and Sonic fans. The other events range from fairly entertaining (dream gliding and dream snowball fight) to annoying (hockey, speed skating). Before you ask “What the heck is dream gliding?” – let me explain. No, you didn’t miss it in the last Olympics, it’s a hang-gliding style game that takes place in a weird, Mario-and-Sonic themed aerial environment. The developers have added a few odd events like this, which are fairly fun but distance the game even further from its Olympic origins.

The game also features challenge matches with rivals like a giant robot or Jet, a Sonic character that looks like a Hedgehog with a beak. Apparently, he exists, and is really good at speed skating (at least I learned something in writing this review). These annoying matches are identical to the regular events, being distinguished only by the fact that you have to beat them to proceed to the merciful end of the game. Is it more fun with friends? Perhaps, in the sense that misery loves company. I’d knock the game for not having online multiplayer if I actually thought anyone would bother to play it.

In general, the minigames work about as well as Wii games always do: just enough to prevent me from calling them broken. For all Nintendo’s claims that the Wii was going to empower developers with brave new mechanics, the reality is that we’re already to the stage where motion control schemes seem just as clichéd as any console two-stick FPS formula – but without the accuracy necessary to convey compelling gameplay. Functional but not fun, Mario & Sonic at the Winter Olympic Games is a product that’s destined to sell...and destined to be forgotten.

User Reviews:

  • 7.00
    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...
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  • 9.50
    sonic is the best popular icon since 1991, mario? just superr mega crap scince 1985 and probably that kids in their childhoods can't pronounce mario but they can say sonic its an easy name to say thats why he's popular and on the dream events for dream figure skating my sister really loves it...
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  • 6.50
    Mario and Sonic at the Olymic Winter Games is very fun when it comes to the actual action, It is cool being able to play as your Mii and a bunch of Mario and Sonic characters but it is a little cheesy plastering your snowboard and skis with luigi pictures or dressing your Mii in a Sonic the Hedgehog...
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  • 8.50
    This game is entertaining, but has issues. Some of the graphics are not tidy. But the game surpasses the first in nearly every way.
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  • 0.25
    by now we should all see mario and sonic at the olympics... both of them sucked more than a sausage fest, but unfortunatly sega and nintendo didnt see there mistake. do any of you remember the old saying the dumbest thing you can do is the same thing over and over again expecting different results? grow...
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  • 0.25
    Dear Nintendo and Sega, Please stop putting Mario and Sonic in the Olympics...AND GIVE US THE REAL FREAKING CROSS-OVER!!!
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