When I think of snooker games, my mind wanders back to the days of the Amiga when Jimmy White’s Whirlwind Snooker was the winner of many a fans heart. The pleasure received from just chalking your cue in this title was just ridiculous, but there you go. Unfortunately one of my all time favourite games from the past never reached the Xbox and we have instead the World Championship Snooker series.
As the first next generation snooker game to hit the Xbox 360, I was hoping for lush graphical presentation and that feel of advancement. This however is not really the case as nothing more than token gestures of enhancement have taken place in any of the games departments.
The game introduction reminds me very much of EA Sports games, where you have the massive and intense build up of things popping out of the floors and walls, spectacular lighting and then that one shot of something to make you realise the power possible with a newer console. If anything all this hype makes the situation worse, as World Championship Snooker 2007 suffers from rather timid presentation within the actual game.
Visually this title suffers greatly. Granted there are nice little touches and improvements have been made to a title that honestly didn’t look that great to start with, but so much more could have been and should have been undertaken to really make the Xbox 360 console work.
Characters are the main improvement, but it still is a far cry from a jaw dropping visual fest. The environments are adequate and the actual snooker table is pleasant enough for a game or two of snooker.
One of the main benefits of World Championship Snooker 2007 is the fact we can enjoy either a game of snooker or pool. Pool includes the usual 8 and 9-ball versions. Flexibility is always good and both snooker and pool have pretty interesting tournament modes you can progress through. As you would imagine, the opponents become harder and harder as you progress, but like previous titles suffers from very harsh opponents who pounce on the slightest mistake.
World Championship Snooker titles have always aided you with very helpful visual indicators and this has been made even simpler with a highlighter area showing you where the cueball will finish up. It now has come to the point where it doesn’t feel like a snooker game as you know with a great degree of certainty where the ball you are going to hit is going to finish, where the cueball will head off and where it will finish. The feel is that there isn’t any point in playing with all this coaching, which will delve into every side of your honour to the point where it almost feels like cheating.
With 104 recognisable snooker players and ten official tournaments, the licensing is certainly there, the commentary team are also well known, but the way it has been thrown together is very disappointing.
The area that really annoys me and has done even since the beginning of this series is the commentary. They somehow rescued this dire area in a previous game by adding helpful information to the player. This seems to have been lost in this latest 2007 version as all we hear is the supposedly funny lines from John Virgo (who is by the way a legend for anyone who enjoyed the TV show ‘Big Break’), which may raise a slight smirk the first time, but soon fizzles away. The pool variant actually has some American commentary, but still is a long way from being enjoyable to listen to. Repetitiveness has nothing on World Championship Snooker 2007 as you are put through the most tedious sentences thrown at you time and time again until you end up turning your fancy 5.1 surround system off. This is yet another problem with World Championship Snooker 2007… The surround sound is virtually non-existent and although a snooker game isn’t going to make much of this 5.1 wonder, the crowd sound lifeless and dull.
Online as per usual is World Championship Snooker 2007’s saviour as human opponents can interact so much more realistically and rewardingly than any computer variant could possibly achieve.
Having changed very little from earlier versions, World Championship Snooker 2007 is nothing more than a slight update visually with the same frustrations still present. If you yearn for a snooker title, you have little choice but to purchase this game as the competition is non-existent. It is a pleasant title, don’t get me wrong, but the negatives stack up leaving a very wide space open for any snooker game competitor to jump in and make a killing.