What’s more, there isn’t the same emphasis on the fist-pumping or button-mashing control schemes that we usually associate with Olympic efforts. Instead, the controls for swimming or the sprints focus on rhythm, timing and not going all-out too soon, with gentler pushes of the analogue sticks and split-second button taps. This doesn’t necessarily make London 2012 any closer to a real simulation, but it makes it a game you can play for an hour or two without collapsing in a heavy-breathing ball of sweaty clothes.
As with any game of this type, it’s not all good. We loved the target shooting, archery, table-tennis, cycling, weight-lifting and swimming, where the controls and game design all come together. But the hammer and javelin events, or the long jump and high-jump? Thanks to tricky, unintuitive controls, erm, not so much. Luckily, once you’ve notched up a couple of full campaigns, you can always set up playlists featuring just the events you like. You can also do this for the multiplayer modes, and while Sonic and Mario’s Olympic effort has the edge on family fun, the best events still work well with two to four players.
The promised Kinect and Move features aren’t quite so impressive. Only a subset of events are playable in a Party Play mode, and while Move (which we’ve spent the most time testing) makes the archery and pistol shooting events that bit more enjoyable, it also makes some events – particularly Kayaking – all but unplayable. If you want Move sports, then Sports Champions remains your first and best port of call, and the same goes for Kinect Sports 1 and 2 on Kinect. Heck, we'd rather go back to Mario and Sonic, if the truth be told.
The official game of London 2012 is no masterpiece, but it’s better than you might expect. The graphics don’t look horrendously dated and the nicely structured single-player mode is reasonably compelling. The motion controls are limited to a few events and often disappointing, but there’s enough entertainment here to keep you playing while the games run their course.