Review By: fenr1c | Posted: 05/09/2013
The Final Word
A good game, if you fancy something a little different then its worth a try
Well first of all I cannot give you any clue as to the game's storyline, because there is none. If there is a Ďplot', then it follows the well worn path of you being a pool player touring the pool halls and clubs around a series of fictional locations in the US.
As you make your way through the tour, you will face different opponents, and in doing so amass points, unlock bonus challenges, avatars for online play, new venues and cues and other goodies.
In the beginning each game of pool is played over 1 frame or rack of pool. Your A.I. opponents are not that tough and they make mistakes, so the best thing to do is make them pay for it if they do. However as the game progresses and you go through your career, challenges and games become harder as your opponent's skill level will rise.
Like a certain athlete said in a different sports genre altogether, "To be the man, you have to beat the man" and if YOU make a mistake, then you are going to be the one that suffers for it. Like in the real world, if it goes wrong for you, then you'll just have to sit there and watch your opponent play and pray he misses a shot...
So it follows the same formula as many other pool and snooker sim games out there, such as Archer MacLean's Pool or the official pro snooker world championship series. The only difference here is that you won't be facing the Steve Davis's or Earl Strickland's of the game, just fictional opponents but they do have the same kind of potting accuracy from time to time.
And with the formula, there comes the same basic control set up that you will find in those other snooker/pool games. Adjust the angle of the shot with the left stick, adjust the position of where the cue is going to hit the cue ball with the D-Pad. Use the right stick to deliver the shot, and lock in the power of that shot with the R1 button.
The cue height and angle can be adjusted with the R2 and L2 buttons. Triangle, circle and square have no real function only to reset the shot if you are not happy with the final angles chosen. Unlike other snooker games, there is a 'flashback' option, rather like the rewind function of Forza when you make a mistake and instead of taking a corner, you end up in a fender bender in a tyre wall; the flashback lets you take the shot again, the pool equivalent of a Mulligan in golf.
Be aware that as you get through the rankings and progress to gold cup standard, you may find that flashback use is limited or even prohibited, game conditions vary from frame to frame so you need to take your time to study the pre game screen before taking your break shot.
And if you get fed up of playing against A.I. controlled players, you can take on the human players in the online community. You can go for a ranked match where you will be pitched against someone of your skill level or there about or someone ranked a little higher.
If they know their way around the tables and are practised enough, then again it
can be like playing against an a.i opponent and after a mistake then you are just going to have to sit there and wait for a chance to play. You can select locale and the game conditions and number of frames etc. Options are varied indeed.
However it has to be said finding a human opponent is a hard thing. The lobbies seem very quiet here and that's a shame as online play is quite entertaining and I have to thank the guy I played the other night, for the very good hints he gave me concerning shot selection and angles. So for the most part you may well have to settle for human vs. A.I. competition. You can play with someone in the same room, with the same console however.
No complaints here. Bright, colourful and the backdrops are fairly interesting as you travel the game world. It starts in a city where you'd expect characters from Mirror's Edge to perhaps dart past the windows on their way across rooftops.
Ball color is easy to distinguish, which has been a fault of some pool sims I have played.
There have been times in other games when I have thought I was aiming at the purple only to find I've hit the dark blue, or gone for the orange and instead have hit the red and vice versa. This game's presentation means that that is one mistake you won't make unless you miss wildly on a shot!
Balls roll and bounce off cushions just as they do in the real world more or less. Balls struck with side and made to swerve, jump etc respond in the way they are supposed to.
Though not an authentic sports association affiliated title, it is quite realistic. No complaints from me on that score.
From a swing style musical theme to an electronic synth music track. It's not a major factor in the game, it's there and it can be switched off if you want to. Can't say it rocked my world but it's not dreadful, it does its job. Enough said.
This is the appropriately entitled Pressed for Time pack. This is like a timed mode, clear the table of target balls as quickly as possible or within a set time period. This mode appears as part of the side challenges in the main game, and can be played on line as well against opponents. Obviously the quickest and most accurate player is awarded with points and ranking points.
Itís fast and can be quite tricky but it should provide some extra amusement and make a break from the regular game and the standard rule set.
Reasonably challenging and entertaining in its way. It makes a nice change from the official association sport title where every detail (apart from likenesses!) being detailed to the nth degree.
Easy to get to grips with and a very good tutorial section to remind you of controls, player aids, etc.
On line lobbies seem quiet and it's hard to get an online game. If you do though there is no noticeable lag or problems with the frame rate in online play. Once the game challenges and competitions are completed, there isn't much to tempt you back to it to be honest.
It's not the longest campaign in a sports game by any stretch of the imagination.
The final round up
A good game, not a blockbuster but a nice distraction from the endless Call of Duty clones out there. If you fancy something a little different then go for it, or at least try the demo. It's not expensive so it has that in it's favour too.
A good game but not great and not a sports sim classic.