Oct 24, 2007
Living in fizzy drink-enameled dives, played in slippers held together by fungal infections and favouring whooping theatrics over polite applause, bowling is the social slob of the sporting world. This makes capturing it in game form oh-so-very difficult and it certainly isn't made any easier if, like Brunswick here, you try to do so with anything other than a goofy grin on your face. But whereas Wii Sports presented flighty six-pounder fun, this struggles under the heavy-handed brunt of a clunky 16-pound license.
As opposed to letting us hoof the virtual ball down the lanes, developers Point of View instead push a ridiculous Brunswick company line that "merchandise maketh the man." And so you're lumbered with tiresomely game-hindering stats until you struggle through various yokel face-offs in Career mode, buying Brunswick-endorsed ball and outfit upgrades along the way. Purchasing strength-boosting wrist bands and lighter, faster balls may pad out the dry career-based slog, but it simultaneously pillages all the skill from your personal game.
You may be throwing with the steadiest arm in the history of bowling at the kinds of speeds that would make Jesus Quintana blush, but because you don't own the Brunswick Wrist-O-Matic 3000™, your goof of an avatar is more likely to hit the vending machine at the back of the hall than a strike.
Compounding the anti-fun mentality of gear-enhanced skill is a swing scheme nabbed from Wii Sports but applied with all the finesse of an industrial ball polisher - a pro bowler forced to use a child's rolling ramp, if you will. Brunswick's bowlers hail from the school of animatronic sportsman that populated Tiger Woods 07 - fixed swing animation no matter what the input - making it hard to calibrate your own movements with those on screen.
With Wii Sports's deft entertainment gracing us for free, there's simply no need for the hassle of Brunswick.