Sports Champions 2

Barely Even A Runner-Up

Sports Champions 2 canít keep up with the original.
Author: Aram Lecis
Published: January 13, 2013
Does anyone remember the Move? It was kind of a big deal for a few minutes there back in the motion wars of 2010 where Microsoft and Sony tried to horn in on the Nintendoís backyard with the Kinect and Move respectively. Barely more than two years later and most adopters of the Move probably donít even remember where the damn thing is if they even still have it. Sure, the pack-in of Sports Champions was a solid substitute for Wii Sports but after that the support wasnít nearly as robust as weíd hoped. A smattering of decent lightgun games came out over the years and quite a few FPSís shoehorned in some Move controls, but there wasnít ever that killer app that made it worth your time.


For that reason (since I still own two sets of Move and Nav controllers) I was pretty excited to get my hands on Sports Champions 2 , the sequel to Zindagi Studios original game. I was hoping for a bump in quality like we saw with Wii Sports Resort that refined the original concepts and maybe even introduced the golden goose of online play. Barring that, Iíd have been satisfied with some new events added onto the original six with maybe a few refinements and expansions added to them. Alas, that was not to be.

For reasons unknown, the only even that carried over from the original game was archery, which is somewhat surprising because that was always the weakest of the initial bunch. I had been a huge fan of the bocce and gladiator duels, and while they were a little janky at times I still had fun with ping pong and disc golf. SC2 turns gladiator duel into boxing, ping pong into tennis and adds in bowling, skiing and regular golf. Sadly the events donít match up well with their counterparts. Boxing isnít as whimsical as gladiator duel and suffers from the same issues as a game like [game=2542]The Fight[/i] where if you donít regularly work out your upper body youíll be dead tired after just a few rounds and probably wonít be able to lift your arms the next day. Swinging a golf club via a Move wand isnít nearly as fluid and natural as tossing a Frisbee while bowling is a bit played out and not as varied or fun as bocce. Tennis and ping pong is a wash, but a lot of these events feel like they were ripped right from the Nintendo classic and donít set themselves apart the way the first game did.

On the positive side, these games tend to control pretty well. Yes, as mentioned golf doesnít feel all that natural, but it is on par with other Move-controlled golf games (while being far less complex feature-wise) and the other events did a great job of mapping your movements. Both I and my children had a great time playing together and things were simple enough even for my four year old while offering advanced controls for those more dexterous. Most events support up to 4 players with just a pair of Move wands so it can be a fun party game.

Speaking of parties, theyíve tried to mix things up a bit this year by adding in a Party Mode that lets you set up your own little Olympics. You choose what events you want to play in and the level of difficulty and compete in all of them to earn the most points and take home the victory. Itís fairly basic but itís a nice addition. Another nice addition is some customization for your Champions. While the first game just had a dozen stock avatars who couldnít be altered, SC2 constantly throws new unlocked outfit parts that you can apply to your favorite Champ (there are still a group of stock avatars to base these off of) and end up dressing the up in some pretty wild outfits which change up depending on what sport you are competing in. Itís a nice little added touch that gives you a bit more reason to grow attached to a specific person.

What is still missing though is any sort of online play. If you live alone and have no friends the game will grow old fast. You canít really gloat or talk trash to a CPU opponent, and once you get through all the challenges on all three levels there isnít really much to bring you back. If youíve got people to play with you can keep coming back for more but otherwise youíll struggle to get your moneyís worth even at the budget price.

When you look at the whole package, theyíve made some nice changes to the original formula, but where they dropped the ball was in the selection of the events. The first game took some chances with sports you donít regularly see in these packages that had a little bit of whimsy and some great options. This time around youíre left with games youíve seen for years in other releases and ones that are pretty bog-standard. What is even more mystifying is that they didnít bother to include the original games (which shouldnít have been too hard given their similarities to whatís being offered here). While Wii Sports Resort offered a great template for them to draw from, refining the sports from the first game while adding just as many new and original events, SC2 ignores that and instead goes in the other direction. If you own the original game itís very hard to find a reason to invest in this entry and even if you donít, youíd still be better off grabbing the original for a fraction of the price.
The Verdict
7.0

The game is technically proficient but unfortunately Sports Champions 2 fails to offer the unique and interesting events that the original did. There are better examples of most of the sports in other packages or more focused games.

7.0Graphics:

The graphics are a bit plain, but the animations are certainly decent. A decided lack of texturing and somewhat barren arenas don't do a whole lot to draw the eye, but they do make nice use of colors

6.5Sound:

Some uninspired music backs up a generic announcer to set up a not especially memorable aural adventure.

8.5Control:

The Move controls work well within the individual events although golf suffers from not feeling quite right and boxing is not for the weaklings out there. Menu selection ends up being a lot more challenging than you'd like.

7.0Gameplay:

These events all play adequately, but the bigger issue is that they aren't really the most exciting events to play. Most of the motions work well but just aren't all that fun to perform.