Bankshot Billiards 2 Xbox 360 Review

Bankshotbilliards2cover.jpgIt is very easy when you review an Xbox Live Arcade game to compare it to some of the modern day equivalents, but then you remember that not always are the games trying to compete in the same way a true next generation title would. Instead pure gameplay, a term maybe overused recently and is probably truer of the much older retro games that came to gaming all those years ago on such systems as the Atari and Commodore.

Xbox Live Arcade however is bringing a whole new era to the retro and even more modern variations of classics. Bankshot Billiards 2 is a traditional top down view of pool, more alike to variations of pool that appeared on Yahoo! Games. Although the graphics are not bad at all, everything you need is there, the game has been criticised.

For one, the game at launch is the most expensive of the line up, although as it is online multiplayer for those with a Xbox Live Gold Account. This means you will have far more fun playing against your friends rather than against the computer opponent.

Once you get on the way, the game is pure sit back and enjoy fun with a refreshing drink in one hand and your wireless controller in the other. There are many variations of pool available such as 8-ball, 9-ball and the European variety. However some of the rules seem to be rather different to those I remember playing in the pub with the lads. This seems more apparent in the European rules where you think you made a foul and after the shock you realise it is still your go. Puzzling to say the least. Other than the normal pool there are other modes such as the interesting trick shots, cutthroat, 14.1 continuous, 3-ball, time trial and golf. These add extra incentive to spend more time on the game, however the meat of the game is in its traditional pool variations.

The balls do seem to react like they would in a real pool game, even if they seem to roll a little too far at times. Getting used to the control method is a little time consuming though as what you expect to happen on screen doesn’t actually reflect from the movement of the analogue sticks. The pockets do suffer from the ‘magnet’ effect, by this I mean the balls seem to be dragged into the pocket rather than rolling in.

You can customise things like the background, but don’t expect too much from this as the game is graphically enough to please but not a masterpiece of art. In other words it does the job but maybe more time should have been spent with the paint brush here and there.

Conclusion

A satisfying top down version of pool, but with quite a few niggles. The rules seem a little obscure at times, but with a friend or two you can have oodles of online happiness, which makes even the cost of this game worthwhile in the long run.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

James Woodcock

Freelance Journalist, Author, Blogger & Podcaster specialising in gaming, gadgets and technology. Ever since he experienced the first controllable pixel movement on the television screen, he has been entranced by the possibilities and rewarding entertainment value generated from these metal and plastic boxes of delight. Writing hundreds of articles including commentary and reviews on various gaming platforms, while also interviewing well known industry figures for popular online publications. Available for hire, contact me for more information.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
3 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
James Woodcock
14 years ago

Update: There is now an auto-update available for this title, which enables a so called ‘3D view’. This means you can now change the camera angle, so that you are seeing the table as you would in real life, instead of hovering above it.

This is a great ‘free’ addition to this game and is worthy of another point on the final score.

8 / 10

XOR42
XOR42
13 years ago

I agree with the control learning problem. There is no help, no control layout diagram, no instructions, no help with the spin, stroke pressure, and pocket selection. Zero, Nada, Nothing!

Eg, does anyone know how to select a pocket? It says press “RB” and “Left Stick”? What is RB? I tried holding the right front edge firing button and then moving the left joy stick but nothing happens. The selected pocket remains unchanged. After days of trying I can’t figure it out. I have little hair left to pull.

A simple game shouldn’t be this complex!

James Woodcock
13 years ago

Right Bumper (on the top right of the controller).