Michael Phelps – Push The Limit Preview

Swim 'til you can't see land.

 

Swimming is a sport not well represented in the video game world. When it has been included in sports compilations (like the Summer Olympics collections), all that comes out is a simplistic timing game like the old Track & Field titles. With Michael Phelps on the box (and talking to you, out of the pool, in the game) and being a swimmer myself, I wanted to see just how deep this one can go.

All four strokes are here and available for play: backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, and freestyle. So far we know about a career mode, split-screen multiplayer, and a party mode that can support up to 8 players, both off- and online. The arenas to swim in include classic Olympic and other world-caliber swimming stadiums from around the globe, and real swimmers aside from Phelps make appearances (personally, Jason Lezak better get some recognition for saving the 8-gold medal streak).

I have some reservations about the head-to-head multiplayer since players have to swing their arms pretty wildly, so not only does it take up a lot of space but people can hit each other (especially with the butterfly). Also, the strokes are stand-up accommodations for their actual movement, so speaking as someone with some training it doesn't feel like swimming much, but playing it in a freestyle match was a good workout at least.

I wasn't able to wrangle a firm release date, but I was repeatedly told Fall 2011. I hope they hurry up then, because it could use some sharper recognition from the Kinect and some touch-ups with the water… but we'll see how it fares at the finish line.