(sharon) #1

adjusting power levels with the right
stick to determine where the white ball
ends up, are often vital techniques to
staying at the table. Unless you’re a
seasoned snooker watcher, you’ll likely
need time to get your head around
such tactical forward-thinking, so we
recommend starting on easy until you
get a feel for proper ball placement.
After all, this ain’t FIFA. While any Tom,
Dick or Harry Kane can score onion bag
bursters with little knowledge of the
beautiful game, such is the exacting
nature of pro billiards, a decent feel
for the real-life sport is often needed
to really excel at Snooker 19.
As for the tech behind the action,
it’s a little spotty. Some visual details
are spot-on – tables gradually scar up
with chalk marks as matches progress,
for example. Others... not so much.
Any time your player has to use a rest
for those table-stretching shots, the
cue extender usually ends up clipping
into your poor pro’s chin. Ouch. As
for commentary, Eurosport’s panel of


pundits sound like they’re being read
bedtime stories by the monotone
majesty of Stephen Hendry... moments
after being injected with enough horse
tranquilisers to down a waistcoat-
wearing Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Pot blooded
There’s also an issue with the real
sport that makes snooker’s pairing
with videogames about as natural a
fit as a hippo in skimpy underwear: it’s
really friggin’ boring when you’re not at
the table. Now this is hardly something
you can blame Lab42 for, yet perhaps
the baseline snooze-worthy essence
of the sport when you’re watching
your opponent rack up a big break
could have been sidestepped with the
option of skipping to your foe’s next
missed shot.
Would this rob games of some
drama? Absolutely. Yet at least it
would stop you from falling into a
coma during more epic matches
when the game forces you to watch

clinical clear-ups that can last over
ten minutes. Being a spectator in
videogames is rarely fun, and on
higher difficulty levels watching the AI
clear up with a century break is about
as dispiriting as trying to scale Everest
with toothpicks.
Thankfully, when the extremely
polished snooker shoe is on the other
foot, and you’re deep into a 50-to-70-
point break, the sense of quiet elation
is super compelling. Despite being a
little banal, Snooker 19 is a gripping
love letter to the exacting sport. Q

POT LUCK
If you’re tired of
pottering around in
career mode, you can
make some potting
pals by playing either
online or offline
multiplayer matches.
In a canny move,
online games actually
mimic the real-world
Tour schedule, so
back in late April/
early May you could
play in the World
Championship at
Sheffield’s legendary
Crucible. PvP is given
extra teeth thanks to
a shot clock that both
helps to reduce
time-wasting and
adds an extra layer of
tension and
franticness to when
you’re planning your
next pot.

“We recommend


starting on easy


until you get a


feel for proper


ball placement”


ABOVE Pressed
for time? Play a
quick match and
set the number
of reds to six.
LEFT Be watchful
of that online
shot clock.
Those 25 seconds
pass quickly.

OXM VERDICT
A faithful sim that
overcomes bland
presentation
thanks to
fabulous potting.

7


FAR LEFT Using a
rest increases
your chance of
screwing up a
shot. Be
careful.

More Xbox news at gamesradar.com/oxm THE OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE 081