Winter Games 2023

Winter Games 2023

Its glory days are behind it.

winter games 2023

With all the pandemic delayed sporting events ramping back up, it was with a certain amount of surety that we knew that a Winter Olympics game would surface at some point.  More so, we figured that it would be a great game having had an additional year to gestate, fine tune, and sand off the rough edges.  Channelling our inner athlete we trained hard with controllers, sitting still for long periods of time, and subjecting ourselves to icy conditions to get prepared for the challenges of elite competition.   Before long, Winter Games 2023 graced our console and we were poised to become the best of the best across multiple snow and ice based disciplines.  Would we master them all and become the greatest competitor of the Games, deserving every accolade thrown our way?  Or would we get a false start and be disqualified before the opening ceremony?

Winter Games 2023 aims to replicate the thrill of sporting achievement in your living room by presenting you with 10 Olympic events to take part in.  Skiing, Snowboarding, Bobsleigh, Skeleton, Biathlon (bizarrely pronounced Bee-athlon by the announcer), Short Track, Curling, Super G, and Ski Jumping all make an appearance.  All feature in various different modes, whether that’s taking part in an individual event, training, or having a go at multistage competitions with different disciplines to try and win.  Being able to pick any country from the Olympic roster is about the only customisation, but at least it means nearly every nation is catered for.  It looks on the surface like there’s quite a lot to go at, but sadly the depth isn’t there and you will be playing the same events on the same tracks over and over again.

I could dredge up more Olympic analogies and comparisons, but I can’t muster the energy… much like the developer couldn’t be bothered to show up with an engaging game.  Winter Games 2023 is bad, and it’s the worst kind of bad – it actually works and there’s thought been put into how each sporting category plays out; yet it’s all driven by QTEs.  Yes, most of the time you’re just hitting button prompts on the screen to move forward or jump, though it doesn’t matter if you nail them or not because it’s unlikely the game will register them.  The worst culprits are Snowboard and Ski Cross where you have to hit the button to initiate a jump, hold it down, then release to get the landing.  Sounds sensible, but it’s not because the window is tight and the game reactions are slow, and nearly every time you’ll fall on your ass and watch the other riders disappear into the distance.  Not helping is the button to pick up speed is also the one to jump, so expect some confusion there.  Why not simply setup a control scheme that everyone would be familiar with?

There’s a certain charm in harking back to sports games of old where rapid button presses did the business, it just doesn’t really work for the sophistication of most of the events.  It’s a good idea in building up speed for the 2 man bob and jumping in, or sweeping in front of the stone for curling; but it’s poor for speed skating, especially when it doesn’t register.  There’s a lack of connection to the events as well, you never really feel like you’re taking part.  Take the aforementioned bobsleigh, once you’ve jumped in you can pretty much just steer a bit and get to the end whilst also blitzing the other competitors.  It has no jeopardy.  Try the downhill though and you’ll struggle to make the turns for the gates and keep up a decent speed.  It bears repeating too… stay away from any of the snowboard or ski cross events, which should really be the highlight of the title.

Winter Games 2023 doesn’t look terrible, the audio is functional, and the premise is good enough, but it’s a game on a tight budget that won’t win many people over.  When choosing a different country to play as is more exciting than the prospect of the events, you know there’s something majorly wrong.  Usually I’d try to find something redeeming that might appeal to an audience, so maybe if you’ve never played any games before at all you might find this enjoyable.  Otherwise I’d recommend just watching everything unfold in Beijing next February.

A PS5 review copy of Winter Games 2023 was provided by Wild River Games PR team, and it’s available now on PC, Xbox and PlayStation for around £25… if you really want to try it.

The Verdict

3Bad

The Good: Decent variety of events

The Bad: The gameplay | The controls

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Matt

Co-founder & Editor at Codec Moments

Gamer, F1 fanatic, one half of the Muddyfunkrs DJ duo (find us over on Hive Radio UK), MGS obsessed, tech geek.

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