Review: Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games

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Taking players to Sochi, Russia, host city of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games invites players of all abilities and ages to compete in classic disciplines such as Speed Skating and Alpine Skiing.

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Pros:

  • Graphics are big and bright and seeing as this is the first HD outing for the series, It looks fantastic. The backdrop simply oozes atmosphere and can at times, take your breath away.
  • Huge selection of events from your classic ski jump to the new additions like snowboard slopestyle. Dream events are seperate events with more depth. They allow you to do moves that normally wouldnt be physically possible, another reason to play dream events is the fact that you can play events away from  Sochi. Instead your venues are classic levels from the Mario and Sonic games.
  • The music is very much what you would expect from a sporting event, big trumpet driven melodies are the order of business here. Luckiliy the music has had a visit from the classic Mario and Sonic composers. Instead of the original tunes we all know and love, we get remixed versions.
  • Huge roster of characters from both Sonic and Mario. Take to the ice as such characters as Bowser, Amy, Knuckles, Metal Sonic. If none of those take your fancy then you can just use your own Mii.
  • Menus are big bright and not too interactive heavy. Pick an event, character and off you go. The majority of the event options are done on the big screen.
  • The game has an excellent Miiverse integration approach. Allowing you to leave messages on individual events, check on messages already left or just upload pictures. They could offer tips on the event or just mock you. Hey its a social thing.
  • Upload scores to online leaderboards which can be filtered down to friends only. One cool feature is you can do all of this through the game pad screen and on most events can be brought up when needed.
  • Events use a variety of controllers. Game pad, wii motion plus can be used and sometimes are used in tandem. The event picks the control method nine tens out of ten. The game pad works really well and and the game screen will duplicate the big screen display onto it so you dont need to all look at the tv.
  • Few main events are selectable and these are single event, dream event and an event called action and answer which is basically a quiz show with Olympic events mixed in.
  • The game supports up to four players and players on events can all compete or actually take part in co op or as a team if you were. Again these are dependant on events.
  • The inhabitants of both franchises present the games as a sport show. You can use the game pad screen to display the tv announcements which is a really nice touch.
  • Events like ice hockey are really good fun for multiplayer and in fact to get more out of the game, multiplayer is highly recommended.

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Cons:

  • A lot of loading screens and the loading times are not great.
  • Events are very short. By the time you have the controls down, its over.
  • The forced control types on some events are odd choices and dont really work well. The wii mote on ice hockey is particularly unfair as game pad users get analogue and wii mote players get analogue.
  • Apart from a few new events and HD graphics, the game is very much the same as previous games in the series.
  • No off tv play.
  • Action and answer mode is slow, dull and really not a lot of fun to play.  Its even worse in single play. It just never seems to pick up speed and merely limps along.
  • Online is very sparse, Only four events are available and it would of been nice to have all events available.

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In Summary, For the franchises first foray into HD gaming, this is a good looking game. It has loads of playability and as a multiplayer game is an enjoyable game. New players will be in a better position to enjoy it over previous players as its all new. Previous players will have only a few events which are new and all the others are nothing more than recycled from previous games. The location alone is a nice location and look brilliant. With any game where it has multiple events or game types, There will always be a few break out stars. In this game it will be the ice hockey. It plays really well, is balanced and a lot of fun. If only you could extend the play time and have the controls tightened up just a bit, then it would be worth the price of admission alone. Evenets like ski jump sound simple but in fact have an extra mechanic where after you jump, you must glide into air drafts to extend the jump, its just another thing to muddle around. So in summary, If you are new to the series and want some brilliant varied multiplayer shenanigans then this is a good fit. If you have played the original games then you can safely sit this one out.

Jim Smale

Gaming since the Atari 2600, I enjoy the weirdness in games counting Densha De Go and RC De Go as my favourite titles of all time. I prefer gaming of old where buying games from a shop was a thing, Being social in person was a thing. Join me as I attempt to adapt to this new digital age!

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