A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Vancouver 2010 is a standard Olympics game branded to help promote the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Its modest selection of events will likely prove educational for players unacquainted with the rules of sports such as bobsledding and snowboard cross, and the brief bits of trivia regarding past medalists that pop up during loading screens are informative. The game also shares the Olympics spirit of friendly, bond-building competition, allowing multiple players to compete in each event. Note that online play exists, though at the time of this writing we were unable to fully explore its functionality. Common Sense Media does not recommend open online play for pre-teens.
What's it about?
The requisite game preceding the Winter Olympic Games, VANCOUVER 2010 lets players choose a country and then get busy competing for gold in 14 events in the categories of alpine skiing, sledding, speed skating, freestyle skiing, snowboarding, and ski jumping. You can choose to train, enter events individually, or create a customized stack of events. A challenge mode offers a series of increasingly difficult goals in each event, such as earning a set number of points for maintaining higher speeds while skiing. Up to four players can compete locally in split-screen play or online, and you can compare your performance against other players around the world via online leader boards.
Is it any good?
There’s really not a lot to separate Sega’s latest Olympics simulation from past entries in the genre. The lifelike graphics, which feature motion-captured digital athletes skiing through low hanging clouds on crisply defined mountains, are among the best yet in an Olympics game, though not substantially better than those of Beijing 2008. And though we’re given 14 events, many are similar enough to one another (such as Women’s Giant Slalom, Women’s Slalom, Men’s Downhill, Men’s Super-G) that it feels as though there are really only a handful of meaningfully different activities.
That said, the challenge mode, with a surprisingly high level of difficulty, and multiplayer play all help extend the game’s life. What’s more, the controls are precise and empowering -- assuming you aren’t using the awkward motion sensing feature that exists as an option in the PlayStation 3 edition. Still, it seems unlikely most players will come back after spending 15 or 20 minutes with each event. What’s here is decent, but there needs to be more diversity.
Online interaction: Four player online play exists, though we were unable to evaluate it at the time of this writing. Common Sense Media does not recommend online play for pre-teens. Players can also view online leaderboards showing the performance of other players.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether the game accurately depicts each of its 14 sports. Are you familiar with many of them? Does the game make you want to try any of these events yourself? What, do you think, is the value of the including events in the Games that many people will have no experience with or knowledge of?
Families can also discuss what the Olympics mean to them. Do you well up with national pride when you see American athletes perform well on an international stage, even though you may never have heard of them or not understand their sport? Do you think that the Games successfully bring countries closer together and foster a feeling of global community?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.