Snooker is such a niche game - but there are games available for the PSP that cover all sorts of niche recreational activities, such as bowling and pinball. However, is the game good enough to keep gamers entertained in a huge PSP launch lineup? With titles like Burnout, Ridge Racer, Lumines and Virtua Tennis out for the PSP, are people going to change their UMD to play a snooker title? Well maybe you should give it a chance..
The original World Snooker Challenge title was released on the Playstation 2 earlier this year, the game was actually surprisingly decent. While the game itself only really appeals to a niche market, it did what it needed to - provide a good game of snooker. Six months later, the game has appeared yet again, but in portable form, which is pretty much the same as the console version.
When players first hop into the game, the first thing you have to do is create a player. The player must name their character, and then chooses from a range of visual attributes, such as hair colour. The player you create accompanies you through the main mode of the game, which is the challenge mode. The challenge mode consists of ranked matched and players have to play through these and win to climb to the number one spot. the challenge mode is very similar to the ranking system found in Virtua Tennis.
The game doesn't just focus on traditional snooker - players can also play billiards, eight ball pool, and snooker plus. Those who would prefer a quickly fix of snooker can just play in the exhibition mode, and there is also a training mode, which is appropriately titled 'coaching'. The main difference between the PSP version and the console versions is that the PSP version contains a wi-fi mode. Both players will require a copy of the game, which could be an expensive outlay for a game of snooker.
The game is presented in a format that makes the matches look like they are on television. Sega have refined the AI in the game, so that all the players play differently. The top snooker players from all over the world have also been included in the game, and each of them feature their own individual characteristics. We would probably be impressed by the real life characters and likeness of these characters...if we knew who any of them were. Those keeping count at home will be pleased to know the game includes Ronnie O'Sullivan, Marco Fu, Paul Hunter and Steven Hendry; who are obviously some of the world's top snooker champions.
It is easy to get into a game thanks to an intuitive menu system. At times though the game can feel a bit stop-starty, between waiting for the game to load, then waiting for the computer to take a shot and finally taking your own shot the actual game of snooker will take a while. Amateurs will find this is a positive, as it is easy to keep up with what is happening, but those who have played the game for a while will be a little irritated by the slowness of the whole affair. If you're after a fast paced game then it would be advisable to turn to a different game.
Graphically, there isn't too much happening at one time. The characters look fairly realistic, and the table looks good, but in reality the game doesn't have to model too much detail at one time, the backgrounds are probably the most detailed part of the game, and there are plenty of locations to play in.
The game features a fairly decent soundtrack, with commentary from John Parrot, Steve Davis and John Virgo. The commentary track is fairly varied and doesn't become too repetitive. Aside from the commentary there is also the usual sounds of snooker present in the game, such as the ball being knocked against the table.
Sega have included a few bonuses to ensure the game lasts for as long as possible (maybe this is why the gameplay is so slow?). There are plenty of unlockables in the game, including unlockable venues and other bonuses. However, the main drawcard for making the game last is the wi-fi mode, so those without a friend who has the game may not find much value in this title.
It's hard to recommend World Snooker Challenge 2005 as a must-buy title, because it would be not be the reason that people picked up their PSP on September 1st. The game is available on the Playstation 2 at a much lower cost now, and the gameplay of the game is just too slow to be "pick up and play" like how PSP titles should be. Whilst the game offers a good game of snooker, it can't compare with the thrills offered by other games.
The only reason we'd recommend World Snooker Challenge 2005 is if you don't have a console or if you would get good value out of a portable snooker game (either via the wi-fi mode or for some other reason). Otherwise, in a very crowded launch crowd we would advise that you wait for the inevitable price drop for this game.
01 Oct, 2005
01 Oct, 2005
World Snooker Challenge 2005 Review
PSP Review | Hole in one? Oops, wrong sport.
|World Snooker Challenge 2005 isn't really a poor game, it's just not a very exciting game, those who are die-hard fans of Snooker will enjoy this game though.||6|
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.