Winters Stars is your standard seasonal sports game in which you can compete with other players in order to prove you’re the best. With the game featuring an actual story mode (something that is rare for a game in its genre) and compatibility with the Playstation Move it looks to be an experience that feels real both aesthetically and through its gameplay.
Of course the title suggests that you will be competing in sports only available during the winter which already suggests that it could lack options but does Winter Stars bring home the gold medal? Or does it slip up and come in last place?
After a fatal skating accident. Jake returns from injury only to find the team’s main players having walked away and basically everything breaking down. Left behind are the upcoming talent who wish for Jake to become their manager so they can start up again, Jake having second thoughts on the matter eventually gives in and agrees to manage this new team on their quest to becoming Winter Stars.
|Yeah I can stretch while skating, top that!|
The basis of the gameplay is competing in cups and proving you’re the best in the world through the single player or going head to head with you friend in the multiplayer.
Family Mode enables you to play the game at a much easier pace. During gameplay you’re given less responsibility by allowing the CPU to guide you during races, for example; helping you maneuver to certain ramps and performing skill jumps for you. While this is great especially for the younger or less able crowd, it does to an extent ruin the feel of the races themselves, luckily this option can be turned off from the Options Menu.
The Single Player itself follows the flames journey to becoming the best in the world in each of their disciplines. This is done by competing in tournaments, beating extra challenges and using your experience points to upgrade each player’s equipment and skills to stand a better chance against the competition. It’s no easy task either as you go through the mode you will build your team therefore unlocking new events which bring with it a higher difficulty. New team members also bring with them new challenges which can award from extra XP to new gear for that player.
Multiplayer fulfils the standard for every game of its type along with a few extra additions that not only makes it enjoyable but adds to it being a legit party mode too. Apart from your standard competition you also have extra game modes such as Capture the Flag, Coin Tornado and Rocket Race. You can also choose the number of disciplines present and the amount of AI bots you wish to join in.
Away from the standard controller, the addition of the PlayStation Move brings a whole new element of skill and interactivity to the table. At some points, the PS Move makes certain actions easier to perform than with the controller but the same can be said vice versa, for example; shooting the targets in the Biathlon event is much easier with the PS Move then with the regular controller.
Sound in this game uses themes which represent an epic journey or battle through most of its races since its high speed and high adrenaline. They use a good mix of Rock and techno to fuel the players concentration and rush during the game, although some tracks sound too similar to each other, the overall feel and immersion has been caught just right.
The visuals are what you would expect from this generation. The tracks but especially the environments are well detailed and make you feel as if you’re truly there in a clever way by the game showing off the area before the beginning of each race. Although for the actual races you can easily see the textures having a difficult time keeping up with everything else, only when you get close do the tracks in the snow become truly defined making for it an awkward experience.
During the races, the characters themselves can’t be seen much however their look and feel stand out in the cutscenes and I’ve got to say, I’m a little disappointed. The character models themselves are fine but it’s the textures that accompany them that lets everything down, this would have been totally ok during the races where so much is happening it would be difficult to notice however when it comes to showing them up on screen with dialogue and such, it stares at you right in the face making it totally impossible to ignore.
|No.1 "Ready", No.2 "Ready", No.3 "Ready", No.4 "My stomach hurts".|
For those sport games fans out there, Winter Stars is definitely one to add to your collection. With a huge amount of events to compete in and a fleshed out Single Player to boot, it truly feels as if you’re journeying with your team to the top. Yes the characters themselves may not be the most expressive and the textures on them lack at times but again it’s the content that matters and Winter Stars is seriously not lacking in that area.
Story = 7/10
Gameplay = 8/10
Graphics = 7/10
Final We Know Gamers Score = 7.3/10