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Winter Sports 2010: The Great Tournament

Winter Sports 2010: The Great Tournament is the unofficial game of the Winter Olympics. It has stiff competition from SEGA’s official Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010 and despite little publicity the developers are banking on the game’s variety of disciplines and control schemes to win you over.

Jumping straight into a quick race you’ll get a choice of eight disciplines from Ski Jumping and Snowboarding, through to Bobsleigh and Slalom. You’ll find yourself within a few games selecting only a handful of the eight as only a small number are actually enjoyable. The confusing control schemes that you’re shown before you start can be mind-numbing and will instantly ruin your upcoming race. The ski-racing for example: although the general movement, which involves moving your nunchuk and WiiMote adversely up and down, is simple, the controls for basically knocking your opponent to the floor is baffling and rarely works. The same can be said for the Biathlon discipline which is also slow, pointless and boring to play.

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Despite that, you’ll enjoy disciplines such as Ski-Jumping where you’ll witness yourself flying through the air at great speeds, feeling your body go rigid as you mimic every move, every correction your character makes on screen. The overwhelming relief that washes over you after both skis have safely hit the floor is one of the reasons why you shouldn’t simply dismiss this game. Downhill skiing will also have you trying time and again to shave seconds of your run, the sensation of speed that the game portrays making your heart thump against your chest whilst you’re skimming past a gate on your way through the finishing gate. A number of disciplines don’t leave much to be desired, but the few that do have you sitting on the edge of your seat will send your heartbeat soaring. If you’re playing with a friend you’ll suddenly find yourselves screaming at their character on your way down the piste and trying desperately to throw them off balance leaving you to take home the gold medal.

Unusually, the figure-skating discipline has been very nicely crafted for the game and is enjoyable to play. The unique way of using your WiiMote and nunchuk to pull off spins, twirls, slides and skids will leave you with a smile on your face by the time the round ends. It may not be revolutionary, but it is very addictive and you’ll find yourself trying time and again to execute every move within your routine with perfect precision. Although it wouldn’t have been too much trouble for the developers to make it so that you could create your own custom routine, adding some much needed uniqueness into the discipline.

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The numerous upgrades you can unlock will have you hooked on the modes that are enjoyable. Everything from better gloves to slim line skis will help you cut seconds or add metres to your records in the game. You can even take your upgrades to the Wi-Fi world and take on gamers from all corners of the world, which is added incentive to unlock every possible upgrade for your character. Not only will you be striving to unlock upgrade after upgrade, but the countless challenges that the game has for you to complete adds even more replayability to Winter Sports 2010.

While the graphics are adequate, you feel the developer could have done so much more especially considering they’re up against SEGA. Your character from some angles looks like a beautifully crafted skater that a designer has spent many a long night perfecting. From some angles though it looks more beast than beauty, and you’ll wonder if they have somehow ported a character over from an old SNES shoot ‘em up. As said before the sense of speed you witness on your TV screen at times does truly throw you head first into the action, making you feel like you are the one bending your knees into each and every turn as you rocket down the snowy piste. Sadly the maps in the game are poorly put together, with lifeless landscapes stretching for miles on end, trees that resemble didgeridoos and where you would expect to see stunning mountain peaks covered in snow resembling visions from your wildest skiing dreams, instead what’s on offer have a closer resemblance to the end of a shovel than that of your fantasies. You’ll find yourself cutting through the poorly put together and graphically horrid cut scenes that you witness before beginning a discipline.

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Sadly you may find yourself pretty lonely when you go online with Winter Sports. The thought of the games online ‘Tough Mode’ where you can use your upgraded winter wonder against other user created characters does sound like an adrenaline filled roller coaster of a race and when you do eventually find a game you will get so engrossed that you’ll fall in love with Winter Sports 2010. The tight finishes, slip-stream catch-ups, adrenaline boosts and vibrating WiiMotes as you shot down a slippery piste, will feel amazing when you’re facing off against other user created players. Sadly games will be few and far between and that perfect character you’ve worked so hard for will rarely be put to use online.

The Winter Olympics are underway and you will sadly find more enjoyment watching the games on TV rather than playing them on the Wii. The game attempts to make the Winter Olympics amusing and you will find a few disciplines fun to play for a little while but the novelty will thaw out very quickly and this game will simply become one of your ‘to trade in’ titles after a couple of days. You will find the prospect of unlockable upgrades and online gaming awesome, but after a few run throughs you will simply begin too wonder if you can be bothered to unlock enough items to actually be competitive online. Like the Biathlon discipline you will find this game mind-numbingly boring in no time at all.

3 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is a Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in December 2009.

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