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Athens 2004 Review - PS2
Over the past year, sport games have evolved. While before you simply took place in an event or competition, you can now build up your own sporting hero with statistics and sponsors as they progress through their career, most notably in the acclaimed tennis game Top Spin. Unfortunately Athens 2004 takes no hint from this and presents a simple array of party games that could've been created much more thoughtfully. Because of this, the game features no real goal other than to get as high a score as possible, subsequently forgetting about it and playing yet another event. Even getting a high score reaps no reward; there are no unlockables, no story ending or anything except an unrewarding view of your character receiving a medal.
Playing Athens 2004 brings back horrible memories of the controller wrecking and button mashing that the Mario Party series on the Nintendo 64 created. Instead of being able to take full control of your randomly-generated character in each of the events that feature in Athens 2004, you sit on the sideline watching as they react to how quickly you can mash the X and Circle buttons repeatedly one after the other or how fast you can repeatedly rotate the analog stick. This could've been generally fine if it weren't for the completely inhuman speed at which you have to perform these actions and the length of time you have to perform them for. For example, rotating the analog stick as fast as possible for over five minutes in the 1500m running race becomes tiring and of course boring. I find myself to be personally very good at tapping one to two buttons repeatedly, and even I found it impossible to lift a weight in the weightlifting event by tapping the L1 and R1 buttons one after the other.
Fortunately, not all of the events in the game require furious button mashing - but then again, don't expect many not to. The gymnastics floor event, equestrian, shooting and archery are those that off the top of my head do not require you to destroy your controller by wearing out the precious analog sensitivity in the X, Square, Triangle and Circle ... (continued next page)
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