Mixing one of the great British pastimes with the most popular form of entertainment of the current generation has provided the perfect platform for Dark Energy Digital to propel their latest title into superstar status. Will gamers take the title to the Crucible, or will it be forever consigned to play in the pub leagues? Let’s find out together as we review WSC Real 11.
Putting together more trick shots than Alain Robideuax, and slamming the ball’s into the pockets faster than Ronnie ‘The Rocket’ O’Sullivan comes the latest spectacular snooker title from developer Dark Energy Digital.
Like all great sportsman before it Dark Energy Digital’s latest snooker title, WSC Real 11, has a thoroughbred pedigree and a first class performance running right through it. Instead of beginning this review with the usual style of bringing you up to speed on the games’ storyline and plot, being that there really isn’t any need for it as there isn’t one, we instead will jump right into the thick of the action as we bring you the lowdown on snooker’s latest World Number 1.
Ah, snooker! The last great bastion of British sport where we don’t get roundly thrashed by every other nation on the face of the Earth , and we can still proudly hold our head’s aloft-safe in the knowledge that we currently produce the cream of the crop of the latest cueists. But the beauty of Dark Energy Digital’s new billiard based game is that now literally anyone can raise their hands in the air and proclaim themselves as ‘Champion of the World’.
WSC Real 11 allow’s players to enter into the high pressure world of the internationally renowned and prestigious snooker tournaments that grace our television screen’s for most of the year, and to play against some of the sports finest ever players as you come up against the likes of Ronnie O’ Sullivan, Stephen Hendry and the legendary Steve ‘Interesting’ Davis.
With the opening sequences of well presented graphic’s and lifelike images of superstar players taking us through to the introduction of the games clear and clean menu system, WSC Real 11 presents gamers with the opportunity to not only jump in feet first with the usual brand of ‘Quick Play’ games that litter WSC Real 11’s rival’s in the genre, but we are also offered the chance to play through season’s and tournaments, not only in the lucrative world of snooker, but in the fast paced arena of the 8 and 9 Ball Pool competitions. This allow’s gamers to take part in the Pool tournaments to familiarise themselves with the games easy to understand control system, before taking on the challenge of the more difficult snooker season.
Taking part in the WSC Real 11 Season will first see you customizing your player and his attire, with everything from facial reconstruction to colour of waistcoats’ being available for you tinker with. Success throughout the game will allow you to further unlock bonus item’s as well as personal attributes should you choose to tackle matches as ‘yourself’ instead of stepping into the shoes of one of the myriad of celebrity faces that adorn the games pre-selects.
Following your character creation you then have the option of playing through the games season, and whether you will attempt to crown yourself champion of the Billiard, Pool or Snooker Table. After deciding on the games difficulty setting, you then get to select which of the training aid’s you wish to engage in your quest for total dominion over the green baize. With everything from visual aid’s to potting and safety selectors being available for the player to take advantage of, WSC Real 11 can offer even the most ardent snooker player of varying degree’s of natural talent the most challenging of games against its more than capable artificial intelligence. Don’t for one minute think that this is just a case of lining up the pointers and pressing a button to make ridiculously high break’s, as with the assistance aid’s turned off, and the use of motion control upping the difficulty to as near the real thing as has ever before been seen on a games console, the AI could possibly even take Stephen Hendry to snooker school.
The games visual’s and gameplay are a true testament to the developer’s time spent perfecting the graphic’s that keep the entire title running as smooth as the tables at The Crucible themselves, and the way that Dark Energy Digital have managed to recreate, with almost dizzying accuracy, the way that ball’s actually behave once the contact with the object ball has been made is truly staggering. Never before have we witnessed such attention to detail in a snooker game, with just about every previous title and developer almost negligently forgetting to concentrate on what is, in effect, one of the most crucial aspects of the game of snooker, and that is the position and behaviour of the cue ball once a shot has been played. It is, after all, 50% of the game. Potting and position being the optimum format, with success in only one of these field’s making the player second best to all of his better equipped opponents.
WSC Real 11 takes players so far into the world of the premier league of snooker that the only thing missing, that would complete the scene, would be the darkened atmosphere of the venue suffused with the smell of alcohol and cigarettes wafting across the dimly lit backdrop.
But for us here at GamesMediaPro, the inclusion of an awards system to reward players for matches won, or particularly impressive shots played, is a great feature that permits the player to upgrade the skills chart that is displayed at the end of every victory. So if you decide to enhance your ability to ‘spin’ for example, then come the next round when you are a being snookered by a devilishly tricky position, imposed upon you by a smug looking AI, then the odd’s on you successfully pulling off a swerve shot, as opposed to going for a more ruthless Masse Shot in the style of some kind of back room hustler, will have been greatly improved as your attributes and specialities become sharper and more attuned.
However , it has to be noted that these attributes that give you extensions to such item’s as the onscreen indicators and aiming aid’s are only ever as good as the person behind the shot, they cannot turn a complete novice into a champion overnight as, alas, some form of training and practice is still required on your part.
Playing this title on the PS3, as we did for this review, is really the perfect option with the inclusion of the Playstation Move compatibility. So whether you decide to opt for the motion control or choose to play on with the standard controller settings we want to let you know before we go any further that the Move’s inclusion into the game’s mechanic’s has been a dramatic success, and one that seem’s to be made all the more realistic because of it.
One of the games most attractive features has to be the way that it appeals to both the novice and the master snooker player. So much so that whether you actually play the game in ‘real life’ is in no way an indication of how much enjoyment and entertainment you can have while immersing yourself in the atmosphere that Dark Energy Digital have created for you. You don’t have to be a professional of precision potting to fully benefit from the first-rate action that is on offer to you in WSC Real 11. Nor must you have a degree in physic’s and trigonometry to better gauge the angles to make the more difficult shots and positioning that will enhance your gameplay. No, dear readers, all you need is a healthy appetite to have fun and you will be well on your way to unlocking one of the year’s most realistic sporting titles.
Graphics: Smooth and silky with the most realistic interpretation of green baize action this side of Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre. Dark Energy Digital have surpassed expectation’s by forgoing the aesthetic for the action, and making WSC Real 11 true to the game instead of being merely glitter. Easy to understand menu’s with clear and concise rules allow for simplified gameplay that never looks back once the opening sequences have passed. 9
Gameplay: WSC Real 11 has done what all other sporting titles in the snooker genre have failed to do before it by taking the very essence of the game and transporting it across to the digital format. Having dazzling graphic’s and multiple modes and options is all well and good, but if your gameplay still stinks to the high Heaven’s then all you have is a good-looking flop. Dark Energy Digital have opted for the far more sensible route by first making sure that the gameplay in their title is superior to all other games on the market, and then ‘prettying up’ the format. The results speak for themselves as improved gaming mechanic’s and impressive physic’s have allowed gamers to now experience the game of snooker as it was intended. Everything that happens in the dusky hall’s of back street snooker club’s now takes place on your TV screens thanks to the attention paid by the developers behind WSC Real 11. Satisfaction comes with a prepackaged guarantee. 9
RePlay Value: With the graphic’s and gameplay in WSC Real 11 as good as they are, Dark Energy Digital will have no problem at all in pulling in the players as the replay value, and ultimately the life span of the game, can now be measured in months as opposed to days and weeks of other titles in the genre. Wanting to play the perfect game and chase that elusive 147 maximum break, ( even though there is that mystical proposition of the 151 and 155 breaks that are so far out of reach that we fear we will never see them ), is just one of the deciding factors in returning to WSC Real 11 time and again. The gameplay really sell’s this title as compared to all others it stands head and shoulders above the rest. 9
Presentation: Snooker titles are harder than you think to pull off with any degree of success. You are just so close to the action, and the players, that they had better be good otherwise you will notice even the smallest of hitches, glitches and errors. Thankfully there are no such problems in Dark Energy Digital’s masterful take on the world of the snooker champion. Presented with easy on the eye visual’s that have no issues with frame rate or screen tearing, WSC Real 11 brings the best version of gameplay to consoles that it has ever been our pleasure to review. It really is all about the actual gameplay with a title such as this, and once get amongst the second to none mechanics of Dark Energy Digital’s excellent game, then you will understand perfectly why we grant this title an impressive high scoring nine on our chart. Truly a great gaming experience. 9