Thursday 11 January 2007
We can all agree that you didn't splash out big on launch day for the most important next generation games console and a fat HDTV to play snooker games on. It may feature the shiniest balls you've ever seen, perfect physics and more realistic baize than you could have previously imagined (or indeed, as Steve Davis himself said to us when we met him this month: "It's very good, you know, the tables really look like the real thing.") but it's never going to be a system seller.
However, the thing is... we've loved playing WSC. Yes, other scribes' eyes glazed over as we took to the table on our 50" Plasma, and yes, we acknowledged that it might not exactly be a pivotal point in next generation, HD gaming. But the bottom line is that this is as complete and absorbing a sports title as you could ask for.
Okay, so the new game doesn't particularly advance the playing model from the Xbox's World Snooker Championship 2005, but it's at a perfectly pitched difficulty level and includes two cueing action modes - although we must admit that while the analogue stick model felt more 'right', it was also more 'impossible' and doesn't have the same approachability as the control system enjoys in the likes of Tiger Woods and Fight Night.
When it comes to making your shots, the aids are useful enough to make big breaks possible but they're always a challenge, meaning your big pots and victories feel like real triumphs. There's nothing quite like pumping the old fist when you've pulled a frame around from 40-odd down to take the title.
Misleadingly, it's not just snooker on offer in World Snooker Championship 2007. With Blade Interactive's admirable goal being to create the world's ultimate cue sport simulation, they've also chucked eight-, nine- and three-ball pool into the bargain, along with billiards and bar billiards, the weird 'Snooker Plus' and an unlockable trickshot game.