Sega Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games
- It's a stylish tie-in to the upcoming 2008 Olympics in Beijing; the roster of included characters is awesome
- It features shallow gameplay, on the level of Wii Sports; really, it's not a game so much as it is a marketing tool
Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games is not for hardcore gamers, but will appeal to casual gamers interested in playing a game, any game, until the next biggest game hits our shores!
Price$ 99.95 (AUD)
It only takes a few minutes of playing Mario & Sonic at the Olympics to understand that this isn't so much a game as it is a marketing tool to promote the upcoming 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
So it would be silly to try and hold this title up to the same standards as say Halo 3 or even Madden. Mario & Sonic isn't meant for the hardcore audience -- instead, it's meant for a decidedly casual crowd. The unfortunate irony, however, is that the inclusion of Mario and Sonic will ultimately raise the interest and expectations of hardcore gamers.
I say unfortunate because Mario & Sonic isn't particularly deep. And it certainly doesn't feel like it has been designed for "hardcore" gamers. The game features a wide range of Olympic events, from track and field to aquatics, but as they are presented here, each event is short and fairly shallow. They mostly require you to move the Wii Remote and Nunchuks in specific ways -- rapidly up and down for running events, for example. None of the included sports are particularly challenging or even remotely fulfilling.
The game does have its charms. The visuals are colourful and bright. It is immediately accessible, and the all-star cast is chock full of recognisable characters. But ultimately, the entire experience feels fairly empty. This is why we're going to suggest that you stay away from this game unless you are: a) a hardcore gamer who appreciates casual games; b) a self-defined casual gamer; c) insanely excited for the upcoming Olympics; or d) a huge Nintendo and/or Sega fanboy.
This said, we're giving the game a relatively high score in recognition of its intended audience as well as the fact that it more or less succeeds in reaching them. Mario & Sonic is exactly what Sega, Nintendo and the International Olympic Committee wanted it to be: an interesting albeit shallow game that should prove successful with casual gamers, especially kids. So take it for what it is and don't let the fact that two of the most storied franchises in all of gaming are involved sway your decision to purchase this game.
The bright side to all this is that the hardcore gamers who were so obviously overlooked for this game may console themselves with the fact that they will be able to watch Sonic and Mario finally duke it out for supremacy in the upcoming Smash Bros Brawl, which we're guessing will be a far better game.
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