After doing Rio 2016 dirty, Sega has officially rekindled the flame and carried the torch for Tokyo 2020, closing the eight-year gap since London 2012. Of course, we did see Sonic and friends rise to the occasion for the Rio chapter, though we never really saw an official video game. And with that in mind, was the wedge worth lunging over — and is Tokyo the bastion of unity the world needs in light of Covid-19? And, above all — are the latest sports worth springing our fingers into action for? Well, to put it simply — yes, to all of the above.
Tokyo 2020 might’ve switched up the formula entirely, dropping the realistic approach in the process, but it’s a transformation we’ve accommodated with open arms. And as far as variety goes — the latest chapter truly does encapsulate the whole roster, providing a genuinely addictive experience with each swipe for the gold. But with that said, what are the best sports on the carousel — and what’s worth getting a foothold in? Well, after bagging the medals from all divisions of the game, here’s what we’d put as the top five.
5. BMX Racing
While Tokyo 2020’s idea of BMX racing isn’t as defined as some of the main players in the extreme sports category, Sega does do a remarkable job at capturing the adrenaline rush that coincides with the competition. But like other events in the game, controls really are narrowed down to a single button, with a second occasionally popping up to help you glide over a dirt ramp. Apart from that, the BMX event doesn’t require a bank of knowledge in order to master. All you really need (as with the rest of the games in Tokyo 2020) is a speedy trigger finger and a steady hand.
While BMX racing isn’t the most advanced sport in the game, it does place a lot higher than some of the other worn-out events that the game has been channelling for the last three decades. And, being an event that players have been kicking and screaming over ever since it rolled up to the Olympics, it seems to foot the bill rather well, bringing just as much action as the events we’ve seen in real life.
4. Sport Climbing
If there was ever a time to brush up on your accuracy — this would probably be it. That is if you’re planning on scaling the ranks and bagging the gold for sport climbing. And if not, well, you’ll probably still need it for the rest of the games Tokyo 2020 hones in on. But having said that, as far as addictive mini-games go, getting a footing in the rocky sport is perhaps one of the most emotionally riveting experiences the series has to offer. And so, I’m half tempted to sway you to the wall, just to see if your accuracy correlates with experience.
Although being incredibly fast-paced and concluding each round in less than fifteen seconds, sport climbing is actually quite fun. And that’s coming from someone who struggled to find the first foothold and resorted to panic twiddling the joysticks the majority of the time. But that was all part of the fun, and, even though I knew I was destined to see the bronze even after hours of training — I still wanted to roll back and ascend the wall all over again. If only to bag the bronze.
One sport that we all felt surprised to see in Tokyo 2020 was boxing. Even though the competitive sport has been a major marker in the Olympics since 1904, developers have never really taken the time to give it the tender loving care it rightfully deserves. That is until Sega took a swing at it. And boy, what a knockout it turned out to be.
The idea is simple: tilt both joysticks back and forth until you finally land a punch. Rinse and repeat until your opponent is spread eagle on the ring floor — and then cross your fingers they don’t climb back up to their feet. And if they do, then the only method of execution is to channel a special blow, which ultimately sends your rival spiralling into a trance. And believe me when I say — that’s the sort of power you’re going to want to stick around for.
Sega might’ve scraped the barrel for their Virtua Tennis animations for Tokyo 2020, but with the gameplay being extremely satisfying in both, without the latter having to bundle in any unnecessary components — we’re sort of inclined to turn a blind eye to the recycled recipe. Sure enough, tennis is one of the best sports in Tokyo 2020, with the sibling table tennis event delivering just as much fun-filled action and fluidity.
While basketball, beach volleyball and football are all honorable mentions for this list, tennis definitely ticks a few more boxes when it comes to entertainment value, meaning a silver medal is only fitting for the sport. Virtua Tennis clone aside, it’s still a physically appealing nugget of fun that keeps you volleying for the gold.
Yes — it’s the 100m dash. Even after decades of recycling the identical button-mashing formula, the wicked sprint for the podium still stands as the best event in the Olympic series. Because as the saying goes, ‘if it ain’t broke — don’t fix it.’ And that’s exactly it. The 100m, despite being a simple game that literally consists of smashing a single button for ten seconds flat, is still bustling with endless bursts of adrenaline and replayability.
As well as the 100m sprint, Tokyo 2020 also packs in the usual counterparts, with the relay being just as addictive as the short-haul event. Only, with the former being much faster, more competitive and far more nerve-wracking than the other, I’m definitely set on which division deserves the gold. But that’s just me.
Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 released on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Switch, Stadia and PC last month.