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'London 2012 - The Official Videogame of the Olympic Games' preview

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London 2012 - The Official Videogame of the Olympic Games - Screenshot

© SEGA


London 2012 - The Official Videogame of the Olympic Games is developed by Sega, a sports tie-in that looks ideal for family and friends to compete against one another, but with more of a focus on finesse rather than mindless button mashing seen in previous similar titles. We got our hands on the title to see how it's shaping up a month away from its release.

The official game features more than 30 Olympic disciplines, from traditional track and field events like the 110m hurdles, high jump and javelin to some brand new additions such as the keirin cycling and trampoline. Shooting, swimming, archery and volleyball can also be tackled.

London 2012 - The Official Videogame of the Olympic Games - Screenshot

© SEGA

London 2012 - The Official Videogame of the Olympic Games - Screenshot

© SEGA



Track and field

Sega adopts an interesting approach to the controls. Instead of giving the advantage to the person who can tap a single button the fastest, London 2012 challenges the players' skill of timing and technique

For the 100m sprint, players must repeatedly press a face button to keep the on-screen bar filled. Winning the race becomes a case of risk versus reward, as if you mash too quickly and overfill the bar, the runner over-exerts himself, with his pace dropping significantly as a result.

The other track and field events also put an emphasis on finesse. The 110m hurdles play similarly to the 100m sprint with the addition of jumping being mapped to a forward push of the left stick. Shorter jumps can be made by flicking the stick forwards.

The 400m sees a stamina gauge introduced, while the angle in which players push the left stick determines the trajectory in disciplines such as the javelin, high jump and long jump.

The discus is fairly unique in that shifting the stick left and right is used to build up momentum. Timing is even more important, as failing to press the button to release the discus at the right time ends in a throw into the nets.

London 2012 - The Official Videogame of the Olympic Games - Screenshot

© SEGA



Swimming and gymnastics

The 100m freestyle swimming event proved to be fairly tricky to master. Players must alternate pushing the left and right sticks down to reflect the swimmer's strokes with their respective arms.

The timing to gain optimal speed is precise - the motion works best when done the moment the swimmer extends their arm the furthest.

Gymnastic disciplines include trampoline, vault, rings and bars. For these events, a set routine must be chosen - with the tougher ones vastly more likely to impress the judges if successfully pulled off.

Routines are performed with a variety of button presses, and good timing will noticeably improve the gymnast's technique.

London 2012 - The Official Videogame of the Olympic Games - Screenshot

© SEGA

London 2012 - The Official Videogame of the Olympic Games - Screenshot

© SEGA



Keirin at the velodrome

Perhaps the most notable new event is the keirin - an increasingly-popular cycling sprint that takes place at the velodrome. Mashing a face button increases the speed of the cyclist but drains the stamina bar. However, holding the button down allows the cyclist to cruise and gradually regain the stamina lost.

The stamina works similarly in the kayak, too, and using it to paddle furiously works best when going upstream or against the current.

One of the most impressive things about London 2012, though, is how slick and intuitive the UI is. The indicators are clear and well-positioned, and coupled with a strong tutorial mode, most people should have little trouble getting to grips with the controls after a few tries.

Add to that an aesthetically-pleasing look to the game, and this sports title could be the source of many hours of enjoyable local competitive fun when it arrives next month, a few weeks ahead of one of the world's biggest sporting events.

London 2012 will be available on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC on June 26 in North America and June 29 in Europe.

Watch a trailer for London 2012 below:

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