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Review: Pool Hall Pro

Game Review: Pool Hall Pro
Release: Jun 11, 2009
Genre: Sports / Party Game
Developer: Icon
Available Platforms: Wii
Players: Single-Player, Multiplayer 1-4
MSRP: $29.99
ESRB Rating: E
Website: Pool Hall Pro

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Pool Has Pro for the Wii is a Pool game (Duh!) that allows you to play as your own customized character, and tracks your rise to Pool Hall Pro stardom as you compete in a series of tournaments against the toughest of tough in the pool circuit. Taking you across the globe in exotic locations you try to defeat your opponents to unlock items to decorate your home…or as the press release says…”Pimp out your crib!”

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In my lifetime, the most experience I have had with pool was sitting in a bar with my friends pounding a few brews while taking each other’s money. I always assumed that there was really only one way to play, and for the most part, unless you were trying to do some crazy tricks, it was pretty much a simple game. So when Pool Hall Pro for the Wii showed up at PN, I grabbed a six pack and set my mind to play myself some simple, virtual pool. To my surprise, and bewilderment I was kind of surprise to find a vast collection of different styles of Pool, including Snooker, (Up until now I had no idea what Snooker was.) and Billiards. The Wii is such an obvious fit for a game of this genera, and although there have been a few Pool games on the Wii; Pool Hal Pro plays quite well. Being able to move the camera around and hit the ball in whatever part of the ball you chose, make playing the game fun as opposed to frustrating mess that I found in Wii Play’s version of pool. The ball physics are also very solid, when you hit the ball; you get a great sense that the balls are moving in a more natural way, going where they’re supposed to. By taking you character on tour you go to some pretty nice exotic locations. While the locations are nice looking…as nice looking as Wii can get, I often found your tough world class opponents to look like half melted wax mannequins. When you win you get some unique unlockables to put into your virtual “G-Pad”, but once I visited it I rarely bothered to go back. Multiplayer supported up to four players, and if anyone reading this owns a Wii, local multiplayer is where it’s at. With single player controls being solid, I found playing a few games with my brothers while drinking a few to be a blast. In fact the only thing missing was some drunk, just divorced woman, trying to take us home to complete the experience.

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What Pool Hall Pro aims to do, it does right. It delivers a solid game that plays well, is fun, and focuses it emphasis on the core game mechanic. Offering many different styles of Pool, I learned about some game types that I would have cared less about until I played them. Multiplayer is where it’s at though, I doubt anyone will find a better virtual pool experience than Pool Hall Pro on the Wii.

Where Pool Hall Pro failed to completely seal the deal is the lack of detail in some of the surrounding detail, such as the opponents you face, and some other in place graphics. The only reason I complain is because they did such a great job with the pool tables and way they rendered their balls, man those balls looked great. When you make something look exceptional in a game and lack to touch up the rest, well it makes it seem as if the developers got lazy. This is what makes the $29.99 price tag kind of hard to swallow.

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Pool Hall Pro has a lot going for it, the most important things are in place and the fun factor is there, but Pool is Pool and unless you have thirty dollars burning a hole in your pocket,  Pool Hall Pro has a little ways to go. Rent it first because as pool games go this is as good as it gets, for now!

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