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Brunswick Pro Bowling

 

Brunswick Pro Bowling

ESRB: Everyone - E
Platform: PS3
Category: Sports
 
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Developer: Farsight Studios
Publisher: Crave Games

Features:

1-4 players both local play and online
HDTV: 1080p
Playstation Move compatible
Also fully playable with Dualshock 3 controller

Bowling, the sport that seemed to garner all the attention when motion control started with the launch of the Wii, has found its way to the PS3 with the support of Sony’s excellent new Move peripheral. With a major bowling sponsorship behind it Brunswick Pro Bowling takes a decidedly more detailed approach to the sport. How does it all roll out? Read on to find out.

Graphics

Brunswick Pro Bowling looks terribly average. The character models lead the charge. You choose from six stereotypical characters (three male, three female). While I realize that Brunswick is going for the whole simulation bowling thing these characters are devoid of character which makes them rather boring. There’s no emotion from the characters either. I can understand this a little bit because the camera follows the ball down the lane but it would be nice to see a little more emotion from the characters to bring me into the game a little bit.

Brunswick Pro Bowling does offer a decent number of environments. They’re decent looking enough but devoid of activity other than your own character. It’d be nice to see the different bowling alleys populated with others while you are playing. There are lots of bright and distinct colours which reminded me of foggy Friday nights at cosmic bowling during my teen years. Sadly, no smoky parlour type of setting...

Sound

Normally I’d spend a bit more time about a game’s sound but bowling isn’t really one of those games where sound is a big deal. Brunswick falls slightly short here. The ball and pins sound just fine but I was left wanting more immersion from my surround sound system. I want to feel like I’m actually in the bowling alley with activity going on around me. Unfortunately I didn’t.

Gameplay

There’s been plenty of bowling games over the years but Wii Sports really seemed to bring bowling to the forefront to me, almost being the epitome of the emerging casual and motion gaming market. With the Move controllers now on the market it was only a matter of time before we saw bowling titles. Bunswick is actually one of two bowling titles now available on the PS3 that offers Move support.

With the precision of the Move controller, you hope that Brunswick Pro Bowling takes advantage of the sensitivity and one-to-one movement. Unfortunately the game has an incredibly steep learning curve and really fails to take advantage of that precision. Let me start with the learning curve though. Things don’t start out on the right foot with the manual. It simply isn’t that informative and you are essentially learning how to play the entire game through trial and error in the game itself. This was just a little frustrating for my friend and I. There is absolutely no direction on how to calibrate the controllers. We spent the better part of a half hour trying to figure that basic point out (there’s a small note at the bottom of the screen prompting you to calibrate). As I said earlier, frustrating and a very, very poor first impression.

Once into the game play we quickly realized that Brunswick Pro Bowling fails to take full advantage of the precision that the Move offers. It really didn’t feel any different than playing bowling in Wii Sports. Disappointing! The game does offer a considerable amount of detail including variations in the oil patterns from one lane to another. These different patterns add a layer in the strategy of how you actually bowl. It’s a neat idea that bowling fans will appreciate but it just all seems half baked. You are also able to select different ball weights that also affect how you spin and manipulate the ball.

In order to impart the various spins on the ball you have to make your gestures a little more exaggerated than you initially think you might. At first this seemed a little backwards, again given the precision of the Move controllers, but after playing for a little while I preferred it because it isn’t overly penalizing (for example, small tilts left or right when trying to throw the ball straight).

There are a few game modes to keep things interesting. League and Tournament play are pretty standard but allow you to unlock extras to equip your character with and level up their skills. Online play is always nice to have but pretty much a standard option these days. The game also includes a Spares Challenge mode where you try and complete various spare scenarios in the fewest attempts. This mode was a great showcase for my ineptness. I once bowled a 37 at a friend’s birthday party when I was 10. Yup, 37. Five pin too.


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