As is such with nearly every year, we have exited the Post Holiday Game-Drought and entered into the Great Holiday Game-Oasis, typically kicked off with the release of the latest Madden footballish title. But even in this time of amazing video game releases like Modern Warfare 3, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and Dance Central 2: Dance Your Dick Off, there are bound to be some games that truly stand out as cultural phenomenons. Sometimes it’s the online multiplayer. For me, it’s usually the singler-player story. A few games each year tend to gain popularity for their house-party appeal. But every now and then, you come across a game that is so amazing, you have no choice but to shout its title at the top of a mountain for all to hear. This year, that game is Michael Phelps: Push the Limit.
This is a game where you can swim. Fucking swim, dudes! MOTHER FUCKING SWIIIIIIIIIIIMMMMMM!!! I know you probably can’t comprehend how you could possibly swim in a video game, but that’s because you have yet to experience the awe inspiring power of the Xbox 360 Kinect. This truly magical piece of electronic dream fuel allows you to participate in all manner of physical activities that you previously couldn’t. There’s dancing, and… uh… well I could go on and on, but I’ll just move on to save you some time. That way, you can hurry up and order yourself a copy and get to swimmin’. In fact, fuck this review. Just order it now. You’ll have plenty of time to read this later.
The game starts out with some very well put together menus. Not unlike Mr. Phelp’s well put together face, am I right? Just like his face doesn’t at all look like a gargoyle, these menus don’t at all look like a graphics designer’s nightmare. They aren’t as intuitive as Dance Central or, say, just using a controller, but sooner or later you’ll make it to the character select screen. From there, you can choose from a myriad of famous Olympic swimmers. There’s always Michael, but c’mon, we all have our favorites. After making some other exciting choices for about 15 minutes, you’ll be ready to start the game. Or rather, you’ll be treated to a spinning, panoramic shot of the stadium(?) where some hot swimming action is about to go down.
Now it’s time to get into position. I hope your Kinect has a good view of your living room, ’cause you’re gunna need the whole thing. Now bend over and get ready to dive.
Ready? Set? DIVE! But not really, silly, or you’ll smash your face into your living room floor. Remember? You’re in your living room, not an actual Olympic swimming meet up thing. Although the illusion is quite convincing. Now it’s time to swim. It’s simple. Just bring your arms front to back like you would when performing the front stroke or “Free Style” swimming motion. And by “Free Style”, I mean, “Just do whatever.” It works fine if you just kind of flail around like one of those wacky wiggly-armed balloon guys you see at used car dealerships and shitty local sporting events.
At some point you’ll be expected to perform one of those underwater flip turn things. I’m sure that this function works great. However, I couldn’t perform it because I’m too stupid to intuit how to simulate a complete flip without actually flipping, and the game is too good to bother slowing down the heart-pounding action to explain it even once. THERE JUST ISN’T TIME! YOU NEED TO GET BACK TO FLAILING!!!
I know I am basing my recommendation entirely on the downloadable demo, but I am confident in saying that this is a game you need to play. Besides, can you say no to a gargoyle’s rape stare like this?:
tl;dr – Just go ahead and buy this game and try your best not to blow your brains out over the Thanksgiving weekend.
No really. Go ahead and buy it. I’m totally not just being a dick. Really.
In all seriousness, the game does seem pretty thought out. It has a career mode where you race in different stadiums, unlock new characters, use different styles, and beat off into another dude’s mouth on the team bus while the other team members cheer you on. The demo was glitchy and hitchy, but I haven’t played the real thing to be able to really speak to its performance. Honestly, I just… I don’t want to swim unless I’m actually swimming. What the fuck is the appeal of this game? Who the fuck is it for? Do people even remember who the fuck this guy is? And even if you do and you really enjoy swimming, you need to know this – flailing around in your living room does not at all feel like swimming. I can’t imagine this game even being worth the bargain bin. At best, you’ll play a few matches and set it aside to rot with that Wii you were so excited for a few years ago.