Summer Stars 2012 review for PS3, Xbox 360

Platform: PlayStation 3
Also On: Xbox 360, Wii
Publisher: Maximum Games
Developer: Deep Silver
Medium: Blu-ray Disc
Players: 1 – 4
Online: Leaderboards

The 2012 London Olympics once again brought out the best collection of athletes in the world for 2 short weeks of grueling competition. Typically surrounding the Olympics you will see tons of video games that attempt to cash in on the events, but alas, only Sega with their officially licensed London 2012, a handful of mobile titles, and Summer Stars 2012 were released with any fanfare.

While Summer Stars 2012 may not have the license of the actual Olympic Games, that doesn?t mean you will miss out on any authenticity or fun of what the games mean to millions of people. You get 18 great events to participate in including Fencing, Long Jump, High Jump, Swimming, Distance running, Javelin, and much more. While there may be a lack of online play, that doesn?t mean that you will not have a competitive drive to succeed each event. Not only do you have free play to engage against the wily CPU, but you can dive in head to head against 3 of your closest friends, old school style, crowded around the TV in one room.

If that?s not enough, there is a very deep and involving career mode that not only allows you to play each of these events in a ?games? mode, but there is even a nice little rivalry story involved as well. This mode has announcers, cut scenes, and even some humor involved as a story unfolds between your team of two and your rival teammates who think they are the bee?s knees in their country?s eyes. It is this dive into personality that makes this mode so special and unique compared to other Olympics Games in the past. During the numerous events you will compete in, the developers have not only provided traditional controls, but also scenarios where you are required to sabotage or psyche out your rivals in QTE mini games or other interesting methods that will change how your rivalry story plays out. It is this way of breaking up the monotony that keeps the career mode fresh versus playing the same events over and over again, which is great as it is a very engaging mode that can last for hours.

Visually Summer Stars 2012 isn?t going to win any awards, but the camera angles, TV style presentation, and overall captivation of the excitement of the games are done as well as one could hope for. Audio presentation is also handled with the same genuine, if not playful nature with little jokes being told during cut scenes, while keeping authenticity of calling the games and replays.

Where Summer Stars shines is the ways it handles each event by straying away from the traditional button mashing, and uses controls for each event that makes sense and emulates as close as you could hope for with a controller. It becomes even more engaging if you use thePS3 Move Controls to actually perform the game play styles. No matter how you ?handle? your experience, the events are broken down well enough not to become frustrating or boring.

If there is one thing that Summer Stars 2012 lacks in is the creation of your own player or customization of your own team. There are two participants, male and female, and they are always the same for the country you choose. You can?t even change the player?s names, which is a shame and takes away a small bit of that personal touch. If you prefer to play as a different likeness, you will have to choose another country to have a different look and personality. Of course the lack of multiplayer online also takes off a few points, as while leaderboards are nice, the live competitions are where these game excel, and it would have been nice to have multiplayer for those times when getting the gang together just isn?t possible.

In the end, for a mere $20 you can?t go wrong with a game that has all the excitement of the Olympics, even if it doesn?t have all the names and places accurate due to licensing agreements. Summer Stars 2012 plays great with friends or even alone in the massive career mode and will surely deliver more than your money?s worth of enjoyment.

Grade: B