Torino 2006 Review
By Monica Bair |
California Games. Track & Field. Caveman Ugh-lympics. Those were some sweet competition games, highlighting great and creative design elements and gameplay mechanics during gaming's classic days of yesteryear. Unfortunately, with very few exceptions, these sorts of games have gone straight downhill since then. Torino 2006 is not one of those exceptions.
Let's start with focusing on the individual games themselves. Torino 2006 touts 15 various events, ranging from downhill skiing to bobsleigh to speed skating. Unfortunately, these 15 events are made up of variants of eight basic event types, and even some of those are essentially copies of each other - luge is almost exactly like two and four-man bobsleigh, and the Nordic combined is simply a ski jump and cross-country score combined. Similarly, speed skating takes up three events with 500m, 1000m and 1500m distances, and aside from how long you're skating, the events are essentially identical.
With the exception of the start of each speed skating event, the game shies away from the common button-mashing gameplay mechanic that some of the more well known multi-event games are famous for. Instead, Torino 2006 focuses on proper timing, energy management or skillful steering in order to excel. Unfortunately, none of these actions are actually compelling.
Some of the events are exactly as you'd expect them and have likely played before: alpine skiing requires that you steer, crouch and cut, while luge and bobsleigh are simple steering exercises once you're off and running. These sorts of events haven't exactly been the most fun games to play in past Olympic titles, and there's nothing new here in Torino 2006 that makes them stand out.
The cross-country skiing, biathlon and Nordic combined events at least implement an original energy meter for the skiing elements, where you essentially manage how hard you push your athlete while managing your energy for the long run. This at least brings something new to the table, but like the other events, it still isn't compelling.
Therein lies half of the problem with Torino 2006: none of the games are actually fun or compelling to play. There's nothing that'll call you back to the couch for another round of events. At least the old-school button-mashing style of Olympic and track & field games brought adrenaline into the mix so your friends would egg you on to beat their world record. There's simply none of that here.
The other major problem with Torino 2006 is that it doesn't do a whole lot to mimic the majestic and classic exhibition of the Olympics. From the opening ceremony to the medal presentations after each event to the closing festival, a huge part of the Olympics has to do with its presentation. It's a major reason the games get so much attention and such an enormous amount of viewership every year they came around, and Torino 2006 sadly does practically nothing to instill this sense of "history in the making" to the gamer.