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Winter Games 2023 Review – All Downhill From Here (PS5)

Winter Games 2023 Review

The first race I partook in when playing Winter Games 2023, was a race which involved a shooting gallery and skiing uphill. This race turned out to be pretty prophetic in terms of my overall thoughts on the game, given that the whole thing feels like a steep uphill struggle. By the time you reach the top of that hill you’ll be exhausted and you will wonder whether any of it was really worth the effort.

The experience of the actual gameplay in Winter Games 2023 is like entering a time-capsule. However, it is a very specific type of time capsule which takes you back to a place from your youth, but strips away any amount of fun and joy from that bygone era. Remember the SSX games on PlayStation 2? Well, picture those except with all of the fun elements stripped away.

Winter Games 2023 is out now and is available to purchase on Steam.

It truly is all downhill from here...
It truly is all downhill from here…

Even after completing all of the different competitions present in the game, I still feel as though I barely scratched the surface of any of these sports. Everything feels so shallow and surface-level, there is no nuance or depth to the gameplay whatsoever. The sports-based side activities in Grand Theft Auto V are more detailed than anything in this game.

Winter Games 2023 can’t seem to decide whether it wants to be a simulation game or a more arcadey experience. It lacks the detailed visuals and the nuanced gameplay required for a simulation game and it lacks the fun to be written off as an arcadey experience.

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Speaking of the game’s visuals, Winter Games 2023 is the worst looking game that I have ever played on the PS5 and it may be one of the ugliest games ever. The quality of both the environments and the character models is extremely poor. The game looks as wooden as it plays.

This game also launched for the Nintendo Switch and even on that less powerful device, this game would look awful in comparison with other titles on that platform. In fact, even if Winter Games 2023 was released for the original Wii console, it would look dated.

The character models in Winter Games 2023 are some of the ugliest that I've ever seen in gaming.
The character models in Winter Games 2023 are some of the ugliest that I’ve ever seen in gaming.

Personally, I rarely pay much attention to graphical fidelity. If the game is fun, then I can easily see past its lacklustre graphics. With that said, the graphics in Winter Games 2023 are so remarkably atrocious, that it is distracting. And that married with the fact that the gameplay is about as fun as being caught in an avalanche means that the overall experience is hard to get through.

Even with all of that said, Winter Games 2023 could have redeemed itself with an online multiplayer element. I have played ugly games in the past which are devoid of fun when playing solo, but after jumping into a few online sessions with friends, the game comes alive and reveals that there is fun to be had.

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Unfortunately, this was never going to be the case for Winter Games 2023 as for some utterly inexplicable reason, there is no online functionality in this game with “2023” in the title. I cannot fathom why they would not include some form of online multiplayer mode, it is truly a baffling exclusion. The only form of multiplayer included in the game is couch co-op, which is always a welcome inclusion in a modern game, but not at the expense of any sort of online functionality.

Winter Games 2023 should be avoided at all costs. This shallow, sorry excuse for a sports game is definitely not worth its asking price, nor would it even be worth checking out if it were to come to PlayStation Plus or GamePass. Playing this thing feels like a chore and there although I truly attempted to find some merit to the game whilst writing my review, alas I was unable to find anything worth any sort of praise.

1/10

Winter Games 2023 was reviewed on PS5, with a review code provided by Honest PR.

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Written by Daniel Boyd

Daniel is a 27-year-old writer from Glasgow. He graduated from university with an honours degree in 3D Animation, before pivoting to pursue his love for critical writing. He has also written freelance pieces for other sites such as KeenGamer.com and The Big Glasgow Comic Page. He loves movies, video games and comic books.