This is a guest review by Mad McGobbo
With the Winter Games coming up (apparently!) it seems like the right time for developers to turn out another Winter Sports simulator. This one is the follow on to the 2007 version of RTL Winter Sports by the same developer 49games.
The first thing that strikes me when I load the game up is the graphically terrible introduction film, which is only improved by certain in-game graphics being added to it. Then there is the awful dated dance music which is just your standard fare dance with naff lines thrown in like "oooh, surge of adrenaline!", you know there is a possibility that it isnít going to get much better from here, and it doesnít.
The main menu consists of your standard fare of game modes such as; Competitions, Campaign, Career, Single Events, Records, Leader board and Options.
Competition mode gives you a choice of several events depending on how much you feel like putting yourself through, whether that is a bit of button bashing or lots of it. The Campaign mode is a bit misleading as it has no resemblance to a campaign of any sorts, it should have been called Challenge mode as you have to bear through several nigh on impossible challenges from the different sports on offer. In Campaign you have the chance to unlock other modes/ games if you can beat the scores that 49games have set up. Also Career mode offers a similar option where you pick your country then try to beat the computer to unlock extra games and tracks by participating in ďCupsĒ of several sports. Perhaps it would have been a better idea to have included both the Campaign and Career modes as one mode rather than trying to make the player think there is more to the game.
Single Events is self explanatory and gives the player the option to play any of the winter sports available to them. There are 10 games to pick from including; Snowboarding which comprises of you attempting to do rather mundane tricks on a snow half-pipe, Biathlon where you have to manage energy while trying to use a speed boost before going onto a basic 5 target range with terribly slow cursor handling, and Figure Skating which is interesting for about 2 seconds before you realise that it is just a mini dance mat game thatís been sloppily done.
Best mini game (Iíll call them that as thatís all they are) is Curling, which manages to accurately capture the excitement of the dullest sport on the planet whilst providing the player with the best controls the game offers. Worst mini game would have to be Speed Skating which is just a button bashing, blister inducing pain in the neck. Whoever thought it would be fun to have to batter your x-box controllerís ďAĒ and ďBĒ buttons to extinction before then having to hit them rhythmically is seriously deluding themselves as to what makes a game cutting edge, this sort of thing was dated in the late 1980ís let alone the 21st century!
The commentary has a cheap feel to it with not one ounce of passion or knowledge for the different sports and just adds to the clumsy feel of the game. The game introductions are rather bland and annoying too with the same animated dancing penguin doing the same animated dance every time you play a game. Not only that but the publishers have their name everywhere including crowd held cards to make a big logo, and thatís almost every time you play a game. It makes me feel like not a lot of effort was put into the game and corners were often cut during the making of the game. Another such corner is the graphics which would not look out of place on a late PS1 or early PS2 game (as I said earlier it is those in game graphics which improve the introduction animation too), they are badly malformed and almost everyone you play as, whether it be American, Belgian or Swede comes off looking like they are from Asia.
I honestly wanted this game to be better than it is and didnít want to give it such a harsh review. Unfortunately there arenít many redeeming features to this game, well none that I can find. Perhaps it is the gameís low price? But I personally wouldnít spend £29.99 on it as I can find several other games that hold their own as sports sims for that price or even lower.
All in all a disappointing effort from RTL and 49games with too many faults and hardly any positives in the way of game play.