Games don’t have to have constant shooting, hair pin bends, mind boggling puzzles or horrific terror to be fun. Games of Pool can be action packed, tense, challenging and even scary when you get down to that last ball. Pure Pool beautifully captures this amazing sport with stunning high definition graphics and an ambient and immersive Pool Hall.
When I was a student, the first thing we bought for our student house was a pool table. Our basement became the ultimate man cave with a jungle-themed pool room and fish tank themed chill out room. If a decision had to be made, then it would be decided over Pool. Everything from washing up to which club we decided to hit that night, started with a game of pool. I don’t have a pool table anymore after it was replaced by the dreaded guest room.
Pure Pool has finally arrived on Xbox One and it looks stunning. The HD graphics are lovingly rendered with realistic lighting, reflections and shadow effects. From the minute it loads it puts you on a free table to start potting balls and warm up before you even decide what kind of game you want to play. The overall feel is relaxed from the ambiance of blurred people around the pool hall to the lounge Jazz that pumps through the speakers. It sets the scene perfectly for the epic battle that is about to commence.
The physics feel solid and Ripstone have done a great job balancing simulation with arcade action. The shots are very forgiving, meaning that those that are new to pool or new to video game pool can jump straight in sinking those balls. The games can be fast paced (which leans more towards the arcade style of play) and the AI opponents can be tough which is great.
One of my housemates was a particularly good pool player which meant that any mistake you made on the table could have been your last. This experience prepared me for the tougher opponents on Pure Pool as on the harder levels you will only get one or two mistake before they clear up.
Controlling and lining up your shots seems slower than on it’s PC counterpart as sacrifices had to be made switching from mouse control to controller. When you have to do a full 180 degree turn it can feel slow and cumbersome. However, after a few matches you get used too the pace and just enjoy the relaxed nature of the game. There is no top down view, instead the ‘stand up’ button offers a more realistic viewing angle and allows the player to fly around the table to get a lie of the land. Backspin and chips are difficult to perform straight out of the gate and so a lot of practice is needed.
The game is packed full of accolades, challenges and game modes. Accolades pop up when you pull off something special such as potting streak or long distance shot. Challenges include speed potting, checkpoints, perfect potting and royal rumble to give you a change of pace. Finally there are four different game modes from classic American 8 Ball Pool to Killer. A career mode also lets you do a 8-ball of 9-ball tour and build up experience and reputation.
The addition of DNA profiling means that an AI interpretation of yourself is created, so your friends and your foes can be played against, even when they’re not online.
Overall, this is the best looking pool game on the market with plenty of content for the price. In its mission to air on the side of realism, some features have been restricted but the physics are solid and the ambience makes for a hugely enjoyable (and relaxing) experience. With all the gunplay and horror currently on the market it is refreshing to be able to sit back and enjoy a game of pool. Due to both it’s simple replayability and effortless multiplayer, this is a game you return to time and time again whether to escape the worlds of other video games or to decide who makes the dinner.