Review by Evil Dead King
"Good Compilation Of Events!"
This game was a game that was to catch buyers into buying it, after watching Salt Lake. True, it didn't sell as well as the official game, Salt Lake 2002, but the game is a whole lot more rewarding. As well as the game having 10 events to Salt Lake's 6, the whole premise of the game wipes Salt Lake off the ice.
If you stare at the graphics of ESPN you could well be watching the real - dull and white - thing. The graphics rock and this adds to the realism. The faces on the people actually look like real people unlike Salt Lake. Also on ESPN you take roles of different people eg. 'Bridget Rance' instead of 'that girl from Great Britain who you obscurely gave your own initials.' Each character has strong points and weak points so when you complete an event and think that you have mastered the alpine slalom, you can try to do the events with the people that are crap at the event. This just adds to the longetivity of the game as beating events with characters that are poor at the event just adds up as an extra challenge.
But the events aren't simple. Some are relatively easy to complete like the Downhill whilst others like the Figure Skating and Freestyle Moguls you have to get inch perfect runs to stand a chance of gold. Other events have been reduced to a curious stabbing of buttons, which is ESPN's downfall. The snowboarding has been reduced to benami-esque button taps, which not without fun, feels nothing like snowboarding. The same can be said about moguls which has been reduced to a curious frenzy of tapping L1 and R1 buttons simultaneously and winding the analogue sticks round and round.
Then there's the two-player. There's nothing more rewarding / frustrating than winning / losing to your best mate in a bobsleigh match to the death. The fact of the matter is, if you're going to buy a winter sports sim, choose this over Salt Lake. It's more fun, more playable, more longetivity and even though it's more arcadey than it's wet and windy counterpart more realistic. It's a fantastic compilation of benami, button-bashing, steering and other stuff. It will take you an age to complete all the events and get gold on all of them, especially on Moguls and Curling (I've been trying for too long and I still can't get them) and it's two player rewards like any other. It's a great sports sim. Have fun!
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 06/02/02, Updated 06/12/02
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