ReviewsReview: Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

Review: Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

The Official Video Game

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Citius, Altius, Fortius! Faster, Higher, Stronger! These are the three words that athletes live and die by. Their whole life is spent building up to the pinnacle of their career. They train hard, eat healthily, and compete at the highest level to be crowned Olympic Champion. Hours of heartache melt away when a gold medal is draping from their neck. Do you wish to know that feeling but don’t want the hard work? Now you can by playing Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 – The Official Video Game.

Developed and published by Sega, this is the first official Olympic title since the London 2012 games. With an arcade approach and plenty of events to choose from, you’ll be laughing and smiling as you aim for gold. With single-player, co-op, and online modes, you’ll push yourself to be crowned number one in the world.

Ready, Set, Blast Off!

Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 has plenty of variety.

I’ve loved athletic games for as long as I can remember. I wore out several controllers playing International Track and Field and played it like my life depended on it. When I saw Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 advertised I couldn’t wait to get started. As I loaded in I was struck by the colourful graphics and cartoon style. It felt strange, as I expected a more realistic approach from an official title. However, once I got over my initial shock, I adored how the game was presented. It was bright, fun, and instantly makes you smile.

With a mixture of events to compete in, eighty countries to represent, and an array of custom options, you are spoilt for choice. Your athlete, your rules! Choose your hairstyle, skin colour, height, build and look. Pick your costume and change its colour. It was fantastic to line up against some whacky outfits. My first online race saw me compete against: Sonic the Hedgehog, a Caveman, a chap in a tweed jacket, and me in my pink suit of armour and tiara. It had no impact on gameplay, but it was pretty funny to look at.

Great fun but fundamental flaws.

From the first event, I fell for its charms. I loved learning the ropes, breaking records, and competing with the computer. Sega has done well to capture the essence of the Olympics in every event they chose. Sadly, though, some fundamental flaws hold it back. As a solo experience, it’s wonderful, but it quickly becomes lonely, especially when you are breaking every record. There is a choice to increase the computer’s difficulty, but even this plateaus once you master each event.

The easy way around this is to spend your time playing with a friend, or online with strangers. Yet, here is where the issue lies! Waiting for other gamers can take forever, you sit in a lobby hoping that someone of your skill level wants to play. Once the game starts you get that overwhelming sense of competition, and this is brilliant. There is tension and the desire to succeed as you compete, which is why we all play sports titles. However, this feeling is short-lived. You’re winning your event, the game stutters and your opponent quits. They are not penalised; you get no reward, and your time is wasted. It leaves a bitter taste in your mouth that doesn’t fade.

It ruined what should have been an amazing aspect of this title, yet; you avoid playing others because of this problem. It’s a vicious circle that Sega needs to address before it undermines their whole project.

Dive straight into the action.

The negatives are outweighed by the positives. 

Though I was disappointed with the negatives, they are outweighed by the overwhelming positives. When you had a good group to play with, the online mode was a joy to experience. Friendly chat through pre-written choices will make you smile, and there was a lack of toxicity. For solo gamers, you can compete against licenced official athletes to see if you can beat the best in the world. This was brilliant and tested you to your limits. There is also the chance to create custom medleys and alter your characters abilities. These elements increased the longevity and helped to keep the gameplay fresh.

The hearty mixture of track and field, swimming, fighting, team sports, and climbing was brilliant. With a unique approach to each sport, you’ll need to study what is required to be victorious. Helpful tips are hidden behind locked screens and only by competing will you be able to read them. This was a genius move as you must smash records, win events, or beat the pros to be told the tricks of the trade. This may not interest all gamers, but I was desperate to excel, so the more tips I could see, the better.

Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is brilliant to look at.

When I saw the cartoon style, I was initially disappointed. It concerned me it would impact the gameplay and make the whole thing childish. Luckily, my concerns were way off and the content was as competitive as any other Olympics game I’ve played. Other than the issues with connecting online, Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 runs smoothly with no problems. The animation is spot on and the arenas and playing areas all appear as they should. It was a little OTT, but this is expected from the arcade style and won’t disappoint you.

No matter the sport title, you want the atmosphere to be electric! The ambience was created with wonderful crowd noises, the ability to interact with them, and the grunts from the athletes. There is genuine excitement from your character when you win an event, and disappointment when you fall short. Even with its arcade approach, the audio adds a sense of realism and drama and was well thought out.

Fast, furious, and guaranteed to make you shout!

You have plenty of sports to master.

I’m glad the developers created a varied system for each sport as it could have been easy to use a generic control setup and hope we didn’t care. Luckily, a unique approach for each one ensures it’s always interesting, it’s not too easy and for those that struggle a practice mode is available to improve your skills. Every event has a “how to play” section which is great as you have a lot of sports to master, but you are given every opportunity to do so. With little effort, you’ll be able to compete, but a gold medal is only achievable through practice and dedication.

Undoubtedly there is plenty of replay value to be had. With new sports added recently, I hope more will be included soon. With tips to unlock, medals to aim for, and pros to defeat, you’ll have lots to keep you busy. A moderate achievement list takes some time to unlock and increasing your online rank will challenge you. If Sega can improve the online experience, this will be an incredibly addictive title.

Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 hasn’t quite reached the top of the podium. 

With many positives, I wanted this to be awarded the gold medal, but sadly it hasn’t quite achieved that standard. It’s let down by its online play, and this has to be the priority to make it more appealing. If you love sports games, you’ll enjoy playing this. I had fun with it and recommend you to buy it here! Compete solo or with friends to become the number one athlete in the world. 

SUMMARY

Olympic Games Toyko 2020 - The Official Video Game 2020 is a fantastic arcade sports title. With lots of custom options, vivid graphics, and plenty of sports to try, it'll keep you playing for hours. Play solo, with friends, or online to be crowned the number one athlete in the world.

+ Excellent vivid graphics.
+ Atmospheric audio.
+ Fun to play online when people don't quit.
+ Varied controls and settings keep the action fresh.
+ Lots of replay value and new events have been added.
+ Great custom options.
- No penalty for quitting when playing online.
- Solo gameplay can feel lonely.

(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on PC, Google Stadia, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation.)
Daniel Waite
My gaming career started on an Amiga and spans many consoles! Currently, I game using an MSI laptop and Xbox Series X. A fan of every genre, I love to give anything a go. Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I'm loving my new home here at Movies Games and Tech. I can be contacted for gaming reviews on the following email: [email protected]

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