Most helpful positive review
37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
For Bowlers or Serious Sport Gamers Only
on August 4, 2011
Being a former PBA member and Information technology specialist, I've played just about every computer bowling game ever devised. Some didn't even attempt to capture the essence of bowling and were just arcade games, while others tried to be realistic but failed miserably. The best bowling game in my opinion before this review was Brunswick Pro Bowling for the PC. The pin action was very realistic and there were changing oil patterns and a few balls to choose from. Then came the Kinect where you are the controller along with Kinect Sports that YES!! included bowling. I was stoked and bought it immediately. It was fun, but once again the game attempted to appeal to the masses and was more an arcade thing than a bowling simulation. It required the player to perform strange body motions to hook the ball and there were no lane conditions or ball choices; very disappointing.
Then I saw that the Brunswick Pro Bowling franchise had created a game for the Kinect. I was immediately excited and started reading reviews, and was again disappointed. Every review I read hated the game and rated it as almost unplayable. Since it was available so reasonably, I decided to purchase a copy anyway. I am so glad I did. This bowling simulation, and I do mean simulation, is probably the closest thing to actually going bowling without visiting the local alley. Five different alleys are included with very different oil patterns. True to bowling, the oil patterns vary slightly between lanes at each house. This means that you still have to adjust your shot between games even if you have figured out the pattern. There are a huge amount of ball choices and each ball does something different as far as skid, roll, and hook attributes. There are realistic leagues, tournaments, and one on one matches. The sound effects are very realistic as well as the pin action. Like I said, a person would actually have to go bowling to beat this experience, and it wouldn't be by much.
Now the down sides. If you are looking to have a quick bit of fun without any learning investment, this is not your game. Go buy Kinect Sports and play their bowling game for that. I can see why so many people have given this game a bad rating. Even I, as excited as I was and being a former professional, became a little frustrated at first trying to learn the body movements and figure out the game's control strategies. However, the more I played it, the more I came to appreciate how accurate the game really is to actual bowling. I also learned that the game is harder at first until a player invests enough time in leagues and tournaments to earn money and buy items. This was very frustrating at first, but at the same time was the real beauty of the game. It keeps you coming back for more to buy shoes, balls, hats, and wrist guards that improve your bowler's and thus your ability to hook the ball, be accurate, and throw as hard as you want.
Next, to make the game this accurate and sensitive to your body movements, they had to push the Kinect device to it's limits of sensitivity. This has a cost. Annoying things happen if you are not careful about all your body movements while anywhere near the Kinect's veiwing area. Make sure other players and pets stay away from the sensor limits of the Kinect as well or you will find yourself aiming and throwing suddenly without warning even though you did nothing. Ambient light must also be controlled. If the room is too dark or too bright the game may not function at all. If you have enough space in your room, steps can be taken just like in real bowling. This is my favorite way to play and really enhances the perception of actually bowling. However, when swinging through to throw the ball and create hook, the player must finish in a relatively small zone in relation to the Kinect sensor to get the best results. Once again, this was frustrating at first until I realized this also made one be accurate with where they started, the length and speed of the steps, and the timing of the follow through and hook motion. All these things actually enhance the bowling experience once mastered.
My last complaints are about the computer bowlers. If you are by yourself and want to bowl league or team tournaments, you can choose to have the CPU control the other players which is great. However you have to skip every single other player each frame to get to your turn. This means you will be standing still with your arm rigidly outstretched for over a minute between each frame to skip seven other computer players on the average league. This gets old in a hurry and there is no setting to change it. Finally, my last complaint is that all the computer bowlers throw straight balls down the middle with no hook at all. Every now and then a computer player will throw a hook at a spare, but 99% of the time it is just a sliding ball straight down the middle with no hook or roll. This is true all the way from beginner CPU players to the pros. In my opinion this really misses a chance to make the game even more realistic. It's fun to watch others try to figure out the lane conditions and sometimes watching helps you to figure out where to play on the lane and what ball to use. This aspect is totally absent since the CPU throws the same shot every time with the only difference being how many strikes it gives itself.
In conclusion, if you love actual bowling, would like to experience something very close without going bowling, or are just an avid computer sports fan, this game is for you. You will have to invest some hours in learning the movements and acquiring gear just like in real life and will then be rewarded with satisfaction and a bowling experience that will be increasingly realistic. There is also the opportunity to have friends over and bowl realistic leagues that could span several weeks.