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Tokyo Olympics 2020

Olympic Games Tokyo 2020: The Game Review – Going For Gold

One of the most notable postponed events in a year full of cancellations and delays was the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Pushed back due to the global pandemic, it was the first time the Games were delayed in their history – although there has been cancellations in the past. And with the delay in the Olympic Games came the delay in the video game released to celebrate the event. Initially released in Japan on July 24, 2019, Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 – The Official Video Game is the first traditional Olympics video game since London 2012. Boasting a wide range of events from Track and Field to Aquatics and even competitive team events, the game brings players to the heart of Japan to compete in worldwide events for the pursuit of gold.

Before you dive into the events you’re given the opportunity to customise your very own athlete, and this exercise basically gives you a taste of things to come. I’m not the skinniest of people and tried to make my character accurate, but accidentally made him too overweight, and from there the game just got funnier. You can customise everything from facial features and hair colour to the athlete’s voice, and by earning points in the game you can unlock better skillsets for your athlete too, focusing on speed, technique or power to give yourself boosts in these areas.

Tokyo Olympics 2020

In fact, the game’s customisation is an absolutely enjoyable quirk that I spent way too much time with – not only crafting athletes to look like myself or people I know, but making them look ridiculous and then hitting the field to compete. The same can be said for the outfits available too, with more points you can unlock more outfits and have some hilarious looking teams and athletes. Keep an eye out for the Sonic the Hedgehog outfit too – but whether it makes you faster or not will be in your mind. You’re not limited purely to sports outfits either; there was absolutely no way I was passing up the opportunity to have an athlete play Rugby Sevens in a space-suit.

When it comes to the events that you can participate in, not only does the game deliver when it comes to variety, but each event plays noticeably different. The simple ‘how to play’ tutorial is easy to understand, but it misses the complex button taps and tactics you can implement that will help you push for the gold medal each time. Not only that, but there is a distinct challenge for each event as well – it isn’t simply a breeze each time, and I found myself getting frustrated thinking I was hitting the right spots only to come second or last in events that I was getting good with.

Tokyo Olympics 2020

The first event I started with was the 100m sprint, and I blitzed that in no time, capturing my first gold medal. My portly athlete avatar crushed the competition, and celebrated in his singlet and short shorts on top of the podium. But the glory was short lived, as I moved into competitive climbing and didn’t even make it past the qualifier despite trying three times in succession. In fact some of the events have a steep learning curve that even after a bit of practice could still mean you miss out on the gold. While that sounds frustrating, it is actually a good thing – it adds to the challenge and pushes you to get better, in the true Olympic spirit. Additionally, you can practice all of the events in training mode, and even complete challenges to test your skills against licensed players, as each nationality and team plays differently based on the athletes selected.

Playing online was mostly a breeze too. You can set up medley events or play single events, even pairing up for doubles events or team sports. For the most part there was very little lag in events making things pretty even, however there was a bit of noticeable lag in events such as Baseball between pitching selections and batter movements – and while not a game-breaking issue, made things run a bit slower and added some frustration.

Tokyo Olympics 2020

The initial ‘uncanny valley’ visuals take a while to get over too – while the graphics are actually really smooth and crisp, the opening visual where real athletes turn into a cartoon-ish version of themselves running through the streets of Tokyo makes things feel a little strange, and the game follows suit with blurred lines between looking really smooth and realistic, and equally as cartoonish. After a while of playing you’ll also start to get frustrated at the audio – while upbeat and peppy, it starts to get grating and repetitive.

Fun at face-value with significant underlying depth, Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 – The Official Video Game bursts off the blocks at lightning speed and doesn’t break stride, pushing for gold and delivering a fun experience along the way. With clean and crisp visuals and gameplay that’s easy to learn and more intense to master, the only jarring thing about it is seeing crowds of people huddled together in the audience – but that could be the 2020 shellshock speaking.

THE PS4 VERSION OF THIS GAME WAS PLAYED ON A PS5 FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS REVIEW.
Tokyo Olympics 2020
Conclusion
Fun at face-value with significant underlying depth, Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 – The Official Video Game bursts off the blocks at lightning speed and doesn’t break stride, pushing for gold and delivering a fun experience along the way. With clean and crisp visuals and gameplay that’s easy to learn and more intense to master, the only jarring thing about it is seeing crowds of people huddled together in the audience – but that could be the 2020 shellshock speaking.
Positives
Character customisation to the max
Wide variety of sports to master
Simple yet fun learning curve
Online play with almost no issues
Negatives
Grating and repetitive music
Minor skill frustrations
8.5
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