Pool Nation (PS3)
Those Balls Are As Shiny As Ever
Published Wednesday, 26 June 2013 17:43
It's been eight months since Pool Nation first hit the scene and showed us that pool didn't have to be dull. In fact it could be the shiniest game to ever grace an Xbox 360. Now as Pool Nation nears its North American debut on PlayStation 3, Cherry Pop Games shows that this is anything but a port to another console but rather an upgraded version that took everything that made the 360 version great and added even more.
The first thing I noticed was a new start screen showing off a few of the new characters. Technically these characters aren't new but visually each one has been completely redesigned and replaced with a uniquely coloured and hand-drawn look. In a few cases they look relatively similar to before but for the majority the look is vastly different from what I am used to seeing. So much so that I mistook some as new characters the first time I played.
The soundtrack remains the same, not that any change was needed before. The varied sounds of electronic jazz give the game a modern yet refined ambiance. Playing a game that originated hundreds of years ago while listening to an electronic jazz mix and looking at skyscrapers sounds a bit crazy but its actually a wondrous collision of two different worlds, new and old, and realizing how well they work together.
I'm not all that used to PlayStation controllers anymore but I had no problem finding my groove and hustling the best players almost immediately. The controls are still extremely intuitive. So much so that anyone could pick up a controller and start potting balls like a pro. The flow of each shot and ease of changing each detail of it is the key to what makes these controls so great.
There are still nine game types available including the always frantic Endurance where one must pot balls against the clock and a single slip-up can end it all. Staples like 8- and 9-ball are still around of course as are the more arcade-like games such as Rotation and Killer which aren't just confined to the video game realm but are great games to play with friends in real life too. Speed pool is finally available to play online, something that can't be done on the 360 version currently. Frankly though, I would have liked to see more game modes added. I can only imagine how bumper pool would play on this engine.
The shining star of the game is of course the graphics and the huge amount of detail that was put into them. The balls look even shinier this time around but that might just be my TV though. Only when watching slow-motion replays of bumpers deforming and chalk dust appearing can one truly appreciate the effort that was put into these minute details and all the others that make Pool Nation unique. But the detail isn't confined to the table alone. Each of the four venues have a post-modern look and vibe all their own and could easily be passed off as levels for Mirror's Edge. Each and every distinguished element of the levels is crucial to the ambiance I mentioned earlier.
The unsung hero and by far the best part of the game is the realistic physics. I've played many pool games before but none of them could capture that realistic "feel" of actually playing pool. Pool Nation captures that feeling and then some. Many of the shots I've made in-game I have recreated on a real pool table. I would even go so far to say that this game has made me a better pool player. Its amazing real-world physics the primary cause.
The newly redesigned characters combined with the already stellar graphics and physics make this a great game to play whether you're a fan of pool or if you just want a cool game to play this summer. Though I would've liked more game modes and I have my doubts about how large the online community will be in a few months, Pool Nation is still a must-buy for PlayStation 3 owners and is a purchase you will not regret.
+Still has everything that made the Xbox 360 version great
+Great price @ $8.49
-No new game modes
-Online community could be scarce within months
Release date : June 25
Publisher : Cherry Pop Games
Developer : Cherry Pop Games
Gameplay : Sports
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