STAFF REVIEW of Pure Pool (Xbox One)

Friday, December 5, 2014.
by Brent Roberts

Pure Pool Box art It's a little known secret that I love billiards. What is more widely known is that I'm absolutely horrible at it. Many of times in the past my pride, manhood, whatever you want to call it, was decimated in a public venue much to the delight of my opponent. Now thanks to VooFoo and their latest ID@Xbox title Pure Pool, I can finally compete in a digital realm. They can have their pool stick and I'll have my analog sticks, what's up now? One interesting fact, and that is that not only is this the only pool game to find on the Xbox One at this time, but after the bar has been set so high, many should wonder if surpassing it is even possible. Let me tell you why this game has slated itself to be one of the crowning gems of the Xbox One lineup this year at a fraction of the price of some blockbuster titles.

For starters the price is insane. $12.99 buys you an ID@Xbox game that easily has a chance to not only turn heads, but set standards. When you first start the game off you will be taken through a very small tutorial. I have to point out that there is no top down view of the table, however, that is because in real life, you can't look directly down on the table (unless your dancing on it, but that's another story). Creating a life like experience is what VooFoo had in mind the entire time and they delivered on a near perfect experience. They allow a small amount of guide as a form of assistance, but the gameplay mechanics also allow you to get up and walk around and view the table from multiple angles, position your cue stick properly for the right spin and even adjust the power by using the right analog stick.

One very innovative gameplay mechanic that VooFoo packs into Pure Pool is DNA. Think of this like your Drivatar in Forza. Yes Pure Pool will learn how you hit the ball, which type of shots you like to go for, and more. It does this so while you are offline, your virtual self can continue playing even while you're not there. Did Call of Duty provide some form of digital learning avatar like this? No. What about Halo? No. Did Destiny have it? No. How about Madden? No. What about a $12.99 ID@Xbox game about billiards? Yes. This whole gameplay experience is truly authentic and a welcomed sight on the Xbox One.

After you complete the tutorial you get to either continue in free play or proceed to one of the many options in Pure Pool. One option is Career mode and its here that you will start working your way through the billiard elite ranks from amateur to master by competing in both 8-ball and 9-ball competitions and tournaments. Each competition varies from matches to individual challenges such as pocket so many balls before times expires, or pot so many balls in a row, and more. These challenges also offer three in game challenges such as win the match, win without committing a foul, win with more than 3 opponent’s balls on the table, and then some. All of these are optional to complete but add a sense of extra challenge. Another gametype involve you taking on both live and DNA opponents in Xbox Live matches and in the beginning of every online match you have the ability to download the DNA of your opponent for play at any time. If you have a bunch of friends who like to play, Pure Pool allows you to start up your own pool league that’s complete with its own stats and the creator can even reset the stats should they desire. Other game modes include modes such as Perfect Potter where you have to keep sinking balls until you miss one shot, and afterwards you'll earn some xp and your will see where you stand on the leaderboards. This is my personal favorite as I find myself cursing because I may have a very long streak yet I'll miss one because I didn't strike it with enough power.

Visually Pure Pool is an eyegasam of beauty. I'm even going out on a limb here and saying that the graphics of Pure Pool remind me of the quality of Forza, which to sum it up in one word would be, heavenly. Not only are the balls and tables customizable and incredibly close to life like, but the environment as well makes you feel like you're far away from a smoke filled, dingy pool hall and instead in Monte Carlo or some other exotic location in a high end pool hall where you can see people dropping tens of thousands of dollars per ball. This is most noticeable at the end of every match as the camera goes into a cinematic mode for the final hit (this only happens though if the shot is going to be made, if not, then you won't see this view). This adds such a huge touch of class that it almost takes you back as it's rare to find something like this in today's gaming. To coincide with the quality of the graphics, VooFoo has put in the extra effort to enrich the atmosphere with an ambiance of some of the smoothest jazz music you will hear in a video game. With a track list that pops across the top of the screen with each new track, you will also hear the crowd clap, commotion of chatter, and more as you take to the felt and chalk up.

ID@Xbox was promoted to deliver independent gaming to the Xbox Live community and VooFoo has delivered not only one of the best ID@Xbox experiences you will find on the Xbox One, but one of the best games of 2014 on the Xbox One. I know that's a big statement to make, however, once you download it you will be hooked. In fact I have it playing right now in the background as I'm writing this because I'm itching to get back to some amazing billiard action. $12.99 to purchase one of the best games out there for the Xbox One? There should be no question that this HAS to be in your library. Just stop reading and go download this now. You can thank me later.

Overall: 9.0 / 10
Gameplay: 8.4 / 10
Visuals: 9.2 / 10
Sound: 9.4 / 10


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