Though the first things to hit you about London 2012: The Official Video Game of the Olympic Games are its sky-high production values and glossy finish, it's the gameplay that steals the show. Forget what you think you know about athletics video games, because SEGA Studios Australia has rewritten the rule book. Gone are the button-bashing events of the distant (and not-too-distant) past, replaced with a series of event-specific control systems that value precision and skill over controller-crunching chaos.
There are over 45 Olympic events to master, from archery and shooting to swimming and sprinting, and in single player mode each is preceded by a quick, handy tutorial designed to show you the ropes without obstructing the action. While swimming events use the wireless controller's left and right sticks to emulate the powerful flow of a swimmer's arms, the high jump requires you to define an optimum angle with the left stick, then tap a button at the right moment to flip your athlete's legs cleanly over the pole. And although sprint events do require you to tap buttons, any fast and furious mashing will leave you contemplating the bitter taste of failure: only by tailoring the timing of your button presses to the on-screen stamina gauge will you outrun your opponents and claim gold.
You can compete for any nation and customise the names and appearances of your athletes as you see fit – which of course raises the possibility of seeing yourself on the winner's podium, preening proudly as your national anthem swells to fill the Olympic Stadium. What's more, once you've conquered all that the regular mode can throw at you, it's superbly simple to build your own bespoke playlist of events. And as if that wasn't enough, in Party Mode a dozen events – including archery and cycling – are also compatible with the PlayStation Move motion controller, offering you the chance to get an even more immersive (and entertaining) perspective on the action. The long, hard road to glory has never been so much fun.