Thursday, May 21, 2015

Game Review: Pure Pool

Billiards kept simple
I have had the Playstation 4 for a while now and I have kept up to date as to what is available on the gaming market. One would think that there would be plenty of options that interest a gamer like me when it comes to PS4 games. In reality, however, I haven't been able to see many games that are worth paying much attention to. This isn't to say that PS4 games are bad. I am definitely not saying that, but rather it's the fact that I have certain tastes in games, and my interests haven't been catered to as of yet by the PS4. I am hoping this changes very soon.

Recently I have gotten back into the mood of actually using my PS4 console which I bought for $400. One of the few PS4 games I now own isn't a super duper action-adventure platforming game where you blow up things. Trust me, I'm still looking for that game. The first PS4 game I will be reviewing on the Gaming Journalist Gazette is none other than... drum roll please... Pure Pool.

Truth be told, when I played this game a few times I was thoroughly impressed with it. I was impressed enough by Pure Pool to give it some time in the spotlight. It's nothing flashy since it's just billiards, but it gets the job done. Especially if you are a billiards enthusiast and you are looking to execute difficult shots with the cue ball, then I'm sure this is the game for you.

Controls - 20 out of 20 Points

I have played some billiards video games and billiards mini-games that were part of video games in the past, and let me tell you that gaming history hasn't been kind at all to pool. You would think that with a simplistic concept like pool would be replicated on a respectable level so that any gamers would warm up to a billiards video game. That clearly hasn't been the case. I have played some absolutely horrid versions of billiards on gaming platforms.

However, Pure Pool receives more than a passing grade from me. In fact, I was blown away by how smooth the controls of this game were. When I first dug into the gameplay of Pure Pool, I really couldn't believe just how flawless the controls were. The transition between placing the cue ball down on the table and shooting it wasn't a hassle at all. It just clicked. You never get the feeling that you are being restricted when playing a game of pool here. You can raise up your cue stick in order to get your cue ball to start bouncing on the table. This adds to the strategy of the game. Some billiards video games in the past never allowed you to adjust cue stick angles in such ways.

Graphics - 19 out of 20 Points

It wasn't hard to obtain this score. Pure Pool only needed the pool table itself to look good in order for the graphics to come across as pleasing, and this game succeeded in doing that. The pool balls don't look like choppy blobs or disfigured chunks of mystery here. The graphics are slick and are pleasing for the eyes. It also helps that the surroundings are very welcoming too, since when you play a game of billiards you normally see yourself at a bar or a casino. Pure Pool captures that feeling very well.

Story - BIG FAT 0 out of 20 Points

Okay, let me explain myself here. Pure Pool is a great game and an unsung hero at that, but if you are a gamer and you are particularly looking for a game that has a Story Mode, such as cutscenes and other cinematic-related stuff, don't expect any of that in this game. I guarantee you that you won't go on a Story Mode adventure in Pure Pool.

Having said this, you will have plenty of things to do when it comes to challenges and a wide variety of modes that test your billiards skills. I will go into these other features shortly since they do legitimately add to the gaming experience.

Music - 19 out of 20 Points

The music that you will hear in Pure Pool will sound relaxing and soothing for the most part. While the only setback of this department is the fact that it doesn't have enough soundtracks, I remain of the belief that you can have a fun time just listening to the music this game provides. The music isn't out of place for a billiards setting. It's appropriate and professional.

This is the kind of music that pretty much puts you in the mood to play pool. You just want to chill out and hang out with your friends. You want to shoot some pool and cast aside your troubles, and this music touches on that specific base. The rhythm and beats of the music can be quite catchy, which also helps.

There are many different ways to play Pure Pool

Replayability Factor - 15 out of 20 Points

Pure Pool is fun to play and it's a great way to spend some of your casual time just messing around and having the kind of fun gamers usually have. However, unless you are an extreme billiards enthusiast, you will most likely not be playing this game for countless hours. There is only so much that you can do to keep your gaming experience going here. The spirit of competition is clearly in Pure Pool if for no other reason than for a gamer to improve his or her skills and then win small community tournaments that involve their friends.

I have already gotten to know that it becomes difficult to keep playing a game if just one player is around. If you don't have at least one friend to play with in Pure Pool, then the chances of you playing this game for a long period of time goes down significantly. My advice? Bring a friend who you know will enjoy playing some billiards.

Bonus Points - 11

What Pure Pool completely lacks in the Story Mode department more than makes up for it in the creativity department, such as implementing various game modes where players can challenge themselves, others and the computer AI in billiards games. There are elimination variants, games where you need to sink all balls in the pockets within a designated amount of time, sink all balls without missing a single shot, and the list goes on. In fact, just recently it was announced that a new DLC package featuring Snooker would become available for the Pure Pool community, so that will prove to be a big plus as well.

The main reason why Pure Pool scores so much bonus points is the fact that it's very creative with its resources. As a player, you are given more than enough to do to make your gaming experience worthwhile, and I think that's also one reason why I quickly grew to love playing Pure Pool. If you want to play 3 different modes in one gaming session, you will have that option. You will be kept busy, and that's a good thing here.

Total Score - 84 out of 100 Points

In conclusion, I see Pure Pool as a subtle steal of a buy at the video game store, depending on how enthusiastic you are about billiards. If you're not too thrilled about playing billiards to begin with, then you may not want to play this game. For me, I love to play games that I am normally not good at in real life. While I used to casually play real life billiards, I was never any good at it. However, there's something about billiards-themed video games that really appeals to me. Most likely this is because of how creative I want to be when coming up with my own video game ideas, and billiards happens to be one of the ideas that floats around in my mind when trying to implement new ideas.

If you are the type of gamer who enjoys playing video games like the games that you would see at the bar or at the arcades, such as billiards, air hockey or pinball, then I would recommend Pure Pool to you. The learning curve in how to play is seamless and it's easy to get into. Pure Pool is a great example of billiards done right in the video game context. You don't need to execute a bank shot to sink this great game into your gaming library pocket.

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