Most helpful critical review
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
A Good Game with a Few Flaws
on October 23, 2010
First off, let me say that I agree with the reviewers who have said that patience and practice is important with this game. If you expect this game to be like Wii bowling where you can stand there, whip your arm and expect a strike, you will not like this game. If you would appreciate a bowling game with accurate controls where you will most likely bowl horrible at first and have to figure out what you need to do to fix your motion (you know...like you would have to do to improve your score at a real bowling alley?), you will probably enjoy this game.
One of the pros is the accurate controls. (This might be considered a con for small children who just want to knock the pins down, but I suppose you could always turn on the bumpers for them so they don't throw a gutter ball every time.) Swinging your arm with different speed, timing, twisting motion, releasing the trigger button at different times, etc. will have an effect where the ball goes and how fast. Swinging your arm out wide away from your body will have a different effect on the ball than keeping your arm in tight, close to your body. I found that I had to release the trigger much sooner in the down-to-forward motion of my swing than what I first expected. This, combined with learning how to time the swing with the approach of the character on the screen, helped me go from throwing the ball 5 mph when I first played the game to throwing consistently at 18-20 mph. You can even investigate the oil pattern on the lane if you want. I am too dumb to know what this means, but if you know about bowling, you could probably use the oil pattern to plan your shots somehow.
One point to emphasize about the controls is that it really matters where you have the camera set up. We started with the camera on top of our TV, but our controllers were constantly going below the view of the camera during our swing, which would lead to a disastrous shot. We moved the camera down below the TV screen and haven't had a problem since (besides occasionally throwing the ball directly into the gutter on an over-exuberant attempt).
Another plus is the graphics are better than other bowling games out there. Granted, it's not cutting edge technology, so don't expect to be blown away. But having varied bowling allies that actually have a different look and feel to them when they show up on your TV screen is a plus. My wife is always in charge of picking the alley when we bowl together.
When you get a spare or a strike, the game plays these canned animations in an onscreen window to celebrate your triumph. Most don't have anything to do with bowling, but some are a little humorous. Luckily, once you get tired of watching these short video clips, you can skip them by pressing a button. Also, there is a short replay after EVERY shot you take. I can understand showing replays of important moments or impressive spare pick-ups, but a replay of every shot is a bit much. You can skip the replays by pressing a button too.
In career mode, you can choose your bowling avatar from a very limited selection of bowlers. You can change the clothing, bowling ball, fashion accessories, etc. for your player, but so far I have found the options for personalizing your bowler rather limited. I like there to be really zany personalization options for my game characters, and the choices here seem to be pretty straight forward, although I will admit I haven't played nearly enough to claim I've seen everything that the game has to offer. And you can't edit the character models themselves at all. As you win games in career mode, you unlock clothing, accessories, and bowling balls.
There are three career modes you can play. In one you play on a team in a league. You can choose to control all the players on your team, only control your game character, or any combination in between. I haven't spent much time in this mode yet. The mode I normally play is the tournament mode where you enter...tournaments...and play solo. There is also a challenge mode where random bowlers challenge you to a game. In addition, there is a non-career mode where you are presented with varied arrangements of pins with the challenge to pick up the spares. You get a better score depending on how many throws it takes you for each pin arrangement.
While I do enjoy this game, there are a few things about it that I do not like:
- Only the score of the player currently bowling is displayed on the screen at any one time. As far as I can tell, there is no way to look at all the bowlers' scores at once during a game. You have to remember where you are in relation to everyone else as you bowl. This is a serious flaw - one that I hope they fix with a software patch in the future. I think there should be a running score of all the bowlers in your game onscreen at all times with an option to pull up a window and view the entire scorecard.
- In tournament mode, if you're playing a tournament with eight rounds and you lose in the seventh, you must start the tournament over. You cannot simply replay the game you lost and pick up in that round of the tournament again. I know this is more realistic, but I would prefer if it gave the option of restarting the round rather than booting you out of the tournament to have to begin it again.
- Sometimes music plays in the background during your game. There are not many songs, and they get old fast. You can turn the music down or off in the options menu.
- Navigating the menu screens with the motion controller (without the extra navigation controller) is a pain because it takes a lot more movement of the controller to move the selection than it does in the PS3 XMB home menu. You might want to keep a regular controller or the navigation controller handy to help navigate the menus more quickly.
- There is no screen that automatically pops up before your game to help you to calibrate your controller. Instead, there is a little message on the bottom of the screen telling you to press a certain button to calibrate. The ball on the controller flashes white until you have calibrated it and you can't bowl without calibrating, so why doesn't the calibration screen just pop up automatically at the start of the first game? Ugh.
- On the first shot of the first frame, you set your bowler's start position and angle. This establishes the starting position for your bowler for the first shot of every subsequent frame. You would think this position would remain unchanged, but I have found that occasionally in the later frames of the game the position will creep a little to one side or the other (without you having done anything to change it). This can be annoying because you can bowl a frame or two without noticing that the computer changed your position unbeknownst to you.
- Another quirky glitch to note is that there is an arbitrary time limit the game programmers imposed for how long it can take the ball to get to the pins. When we first started, sometimes we would only throw the ball 3 mph, which would cause the ball to disappear just before reaching the pins and our player to reset for the next attempt assuming the last attempt was a gutter ball. It was frustrating, but once we figured out the controls a little better, it has been fine.
In summary, this game is probably not as good as it could have been, but it is fun. If you have the Move controllers, are looking for a game to play and don't mind a little bit of a learning curve, you'll probably like it.