London 2012 PS3 review – can the official tie-in bring home the gold?

London 2012 p3 review2

It’s been nigh on impossible this summer to avoid having your eyeballs assaulted by a Rorschach-esque blot that may or may not resemble Lisa Simpson in a compromising position. From cereal bars to disposable barbecues, products are hurdling over themselves to be crowned the ‘official’ whatever of the Olympics.

So why pick London 2012 over the veritable slew of other genero-athletics titles that have surfaced this summer? Simply put: it’s easily the best in the tournament, with sports ranging from gymnastic vaulting through to slalom kayaking.

The production values feel solid, with TV-style commentary and a grand sense of scale – particularly in larger venues such as the Olympic Stadium. While you sadly don’t get to steer the likes of Tom Daley and Jessica Ennis to victory – you get plasticky-faced nonentities – the attention to detail is otherwise impressive, with competitors acknowledging the crowd, and national anthems soundtracking medal ceremonies.

Controls are a pleasing, QTE-style combination of the analogue sticks and face buttons. They’re simple to grasp, but take plenty of practice to master, offering a good compromise between accessibility and depth. There’s no nostalgic button-mashing or aggravating stick-waggling here; the emphasis is squarely on timing and precision angling.

In the main Olympic Games mode, you pick two events for each day. In the morning you have the qualifiers; in the afternoon it’s the finals. Don’t qualify first time? Spend one of your retry tokens on another go, or just move on. If you don’t like an event, you don’t have to select it, and if you repeatedly balls up, you’re not forced to replay until your eyes bleed. Multiplayer comes in the form of casual events or playlists, as well as challenges in which you team up to beat times or scores.

It’s as satisfyingly competitive as you’d hope. London 2012 is the best athletics game we’ve seen in a while, even if the fact we can’t guide the actual Team GB to glory puts a slight tarnish on its medal.

Our Score

Score: 8