World Snooker Championship 2007 Reader Review
Be aware this is a quick review done over lunchtime without any redrafting.
Hopefully this will be a useful quick review without any hyperbole... (that's a posh word for bullshit, Boris, if you're reading..)
Only picked this up on Sunday, but was playing it all day/evening.
If you're a snooker/pool fan you'll love this game, as it's been designed pretty much as a simulation. Therefore, if you don't, then you won't!
Firstly, the game itself - the ball physics are excellent and they behave like real balls. Very impressive. There is an aim assist (ie. arrows) which tell you roughly were the white ball and object ball will go - this is dependent on the relative difficulty of the shot and doesn't take into account cushions or the impact of other balls, so skill is still required. Also, a grey area appears on the baize to indicate the projected position of the white ball after the shot, though again this could be thrown off by cushions, other balls or a poorly aimed shot in general. Whilst people who've played the earlier versions might find this makes it slightly easier, for the majority I feel it's perfect, i.e. easy to play but hard to master. I've never played a snooker game before, have played about 10 frames of this and so far my highest break is 43, so make of that what you will!
There also is a pressure system which reduces these aids if you do badly and increases them slightly if you do well. Also, you earn points that you can add to various aspects of your character's skills: potting, position, etc.
There's a cue cam (focus on the white), a zoom cam (focus on the object ball), but annoyingly no free cam which would allow you to move freely around the table. The most essential cam I find is the overhead cam. The aim assist works here too, and it's where I plan a lot of my shots. Therefore the fact that you have to hold Y down to use this and there is no toggle is also an oversight - after all, it's a camera most people will use a lot. As expected you can adjust power, spin and cue elevation.
The game is slow, be warned, and if you're spending time planning your shots, a frame can actually take longer than a real frame of snooker! When me and my brother played on multiplayer the average frame time was about an hour. Offline this can be speeded up by pressing A on opponents shots. Be aware that in Multiplayer - just like in real snooker - you may spend half your time, if not the majority of the frame, actually just sat there doing nothing, especially if you have a skilled opponent building a large break. This may not be everyone's idea of fun! You can play all versions online (snooker, pool, billiards, etc) and it has the usual features - ranked, unranked, leaderboards with a Truskill rating, etc.
The only thing correct about Keza's review really is that the graphics and presentation are average at best. Although it could be argued that 'It's only Snooker', the Table Tennis game was 'Only Table Tennis', yet the graphics on that (especially character models) were far superior. 'On table' graphics are fine though. Also, don't expect anything like 'Gameface' when you create a character - it's fairly basic. My character looks like a cross between Phil Collins and Art Garfunkel. (ie. not good.) The commentary is awful (turned off after 5 mins), but the sound effects are fine. You can replay the last 6 or so shots (even in Multiplayer), and can save replays too (only in single player).
Career mode is fairly comprehensive - has all major tournaments and even the qualifying rounds. You can set this for Short (default), Medium or Accurate. Short means that the frames required to win a match are reduced (eg, qualifiers are best of 1). Accurate is, well, accurate. Only a dedicated snooker-psycho would want to play the best of nine in qualifying matches though. If you played the whole thing on accurate you would be playing for a very, very long time. I think it is possible to change this during your career though, so if you get to a final and want to play all the frames, I think you can.
One terrible design mistake seems to be the fact that you can only create one character, and so can't have a snooker career and a pool career going at the same time. So, start a snooker career and effectively you can't play the pool side of the game (except quick matches) and vice versa! This is pretty poor, I'm sure you'll agree.
The 'fun' in the game is, er, the same as in snooker, ie. it's challenging and requires strategy (planning your break - thinking 2 shots ahead, etc), and also requires skill (actually pulling the shots off). I love it, as it's relaxed, slow-paced, realistic, challenging and cerebral. If you like snooker/pool it's a must buy, if you want an alternative, challenging, 'chill-out' type of game, it's definitely worth considering. Many will find it boring though - especially snooker multiplayer as half the time you're just sat in your chair, as I mentioned above. There are 5 or 6 diffent pool types available online too though, so there should always be some immediate action available.
It deserves a six for presentation, but a nine for gameplay I think (albeit Snooker gameplay!) I'll plump for an eight.
Sorry if this isn't the best written review ever, as I've done it rather quickly over lunch at work, but I hope you find it useful. Any questions about the game, well, post 'em below.
8 / 10