Replay Value: 5
I've gone paintballing a number of times in the past, and I must say, it was rather fun. There's a place about 60 miles from where I live that's got a gigantic forest and war field to partake in. The difference between real paintball and this videogame experience is that the real thing is quite a bit of fun, whereas this videogame is awful. Making a paintball game based on the National Professional Paintball League shouldn't indicate a bad time, because done right, a good paintball game is possible. Allow me to explain...
You see, the first comical thing I noticed immediately about Paintball 2009 is that all of the fields look largely identical. Sure the obstacles may be laid out differently, but when you're scrolling through the list of stages to choose from, you instantly stop and wonder if this is a joke. Every stage boasts the same bright green turf or grass, and the same colors elsewhere. Variety is definitely not this game's strong point, making it feel like there's only field in the entire game. Even the Woodsball offerings are tame, as they're all on flat ground, with trees just scattered around, and a few obstacles here and there.
Had Activision taken a creative approach and offered some action in a few forests, with varying levels of height, then we'd be talking. Sure, this is a licensed and professional game, but even games like Gran Turismo offer stages that are designed by Polyphony Digital themselves, because even they know that being overly realistic isn't that much fun. With a few larger, more scaled and diverse maps that take place in a leafier environment, in addition to the real fields, this game would've surely felt a lot more fun.
Additionally, the ability to customize the gameplay to allow for extra hits before being eliminated would've also added to the fun factor. You might say to yourself, 'but this is a simulation game.' Well hey, if Paintball 2009 gives you a cheat-meter to keep playing after you've been hit, then I see no reason why it shouldn't bend the rules and offer you things like extra 'lives' and properly detailed parks. As it stands now, the game's flat terrain is an absolute bore.
The game boasts the everyday game modes, which include Career, Quick Play, Exhibition, Multiplayer, and Field Creator. The Field Creator allows you to create custom field layouts over pre-existing field locations, and then take them online to play against others. A total of 14 people can go online, but you won't find a single soul online, so there's nothing to even talk about here. It's one thing if Championship Paintball was a budget priced $20 game, but it's a whole other thing when Activision is asking damn near full value for it - that's just a crime. There is nothing in Paintball 2009 that amounts to anywhere near the $50 price-tag, so I highly suggest avoiding this at all costs.
Visually, it's made up of nothing but the most generic and below average visuals you could imagine. The character detail is laughably bad, as every paintballer shown is so low in detail that they all look pretty much the same. The detail on the players faces is no better than a PlayStation 2 game, and to be honest, I've seen even better on the PS2. On top of the low-res textures that are everywhere you look, is also a framerate that comes to a crawl, especially when playing Woodsball, and that's just unacceptable for a game as bland as this. To look as bad as Paintball 2009 does, you'd think it better at least run 1080p at 60 frames per second, but it doesn't. Seriously folks, this is not next-gen caliber stuff...it's just a polished PlayStation 2 game.
The audio is as bad as the visuals. You'll hear a few different thuds, some contact effects, and a really bad soundtrack featuring a list of generic rock bands. So just when you think it couldn't get worse, it does. There's absolutely nothing remotely appealing about the audio, not even the fact that the game is voice chat compatible. Why? Because, as mentioned already, it's not like there's anyone online to even use the feature.
If it isn't obvious by now, I'll make it painfully obvious here...this is a terrible game with no redeemable merits. Championship Paintball 2009 offers absolutely nothing in terms of fun or a rewarding experience. It is one of the most monotone, hollow gaming experiences available and you're better off putting your gaming money elsewhere. If you're an avid paintballer, just save your money and put it towards some paintball gear instead. Stay far away.