Q-Ball: Billiards Master Review
As an avid billiards fan, I must admit that console billiards games were pretty much all average, that is why I felt that maybe in the next wave of pool games on next-generation systems would become better. Since the new systems are able to make many more calculations and create even more precise physics, pool games are ideal on new hardware, since physics and angles are what billiards are all about. When I go to shoot pool, I don't play professional eight ball, I play the "street" version, where calls such as 'no cushion hit' aren't looked at, or if the cue ball is scratched it is placed anywhere on the table, but anywhere behind the point where the cue ball was first put, right before the break. Although Take Two's Q-Ball PS2 title is a different story, this is a truly professional game that even pros will have a hard time mastering. Q-Ball is the PS2's premier title, see how it did in my full review.
The visuals are nice, solid and pretty, but way too simplistic. I must admit that everything about the graphical presentation looks real and all, but they aren't incredibly hard to create. The pool balls are all perfect, the tables are marvelously designed with a great attention to detail for every table. Although the game does flicker and is missing anti-aliasing, that's quite okay since it isn't very much annoying in any way. There are four different pool halls to choose from, all with unique and elegant designs that accompany the matching pool tables. Nothing is very deep in this category, everything is fine, although simplistic.
Many people think that the object of pool is just to sink the appropriate ball in and keep going, well sorry fellas it doesn't work that way. Try playing pool, and the first thing you'll notice is that you need great angle vision to that you can determine where the cue ball needs to be hit in order to sink the ball into a pocket. Great control of your strength and precise angle control is a must in order to be successful in a game of pool. Well Ask (developer) did a wonderful job in creating of the finest examples of how a pool game needs to be executed. First of all Q-Ball covers everything from International Nine Ball, to Nine Ball and to the Eight Ball. There are a variety of modes which go as follows; Billiard Lessons, VS Games, Frozen Game and Free Play. Billiards Lessons is the one must play mode, it is hard as a piece of metal, but if you are good enough to complete some of them or even all of them, then you can definitely call your self a pool-pro. VS Games can be played either against AI or a buddy of choice, and when playing the AI, the character that you pick to play against must be beaten in five different pool games such as Nine Ball, International Nine Ball and Eight Ball, there will also be a statistics bar that shows how many wins and losses you have gathered up, so it's almost like a season. Frozen Game is where you go to break records and accomplish incredibly hard tasks, some include hitting two balls with one cue, sinking one shot in and then brining the cue ball as close as possible to the un-sunk ball all in one shot, it's hard as hell, but it is possible. Free Play is pretty much explanatory. Also Q-Ball billiards features ten games total and ten different characters to choose from. Q-Ball is definitely the better game over Infograme's Real Pool title, this game is just so much more realistic, and I encourage all billiard fans to purchase this game.
I've pretty much got nothing to say about the sound, the game just has one audio track that plays over and over again, it isn't by any means annoying but come on, one song?! The sound effects such as the pool balls bouncing of each other or the stick being hit against the hard structure of the cue ball. Nice realistic sounds but just one track!
Control is very good in Q-Ball. You use the left and right analog sticks to control the position of your stick and for controlling the strength you wish to use in your hit. By pressing Square, you will be able to align your shot by pointing your cue to where you want it to hit the cue ball. Hitting the ball is done by pressing the R3 button on your analog stick, which I thought was a nice aspect. The analog sticks are very sensitive to the human touch, and that is an incredibly good feature since you have more feel for your stroke. The top shoulder buttons are also touch sensitive for zooming in and out of the action. Good controls, may take some time to getting used to but everything's fine.
Q-Ball Billiards Master is an excellent example of how pool games need to be done. Q-Ball's incredible physics and top notch gameplay is what keeps me coming back for the games somewhat addictive experience. The visuals may not be high quality stuff like Madden NFL 2001, Tekken Tag or Midnight Club, but it's still good and enough to pass my test. To pool fans everywhere who owns a PS2 console, I would highly consider purchasing Q-Ball Billiards Master, or at least give it a rental, the game surely deserves one.
11/24/2000 Arnold Katayev