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Pure Pool Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Pure Pool does one thing and it does it well. Although it's barebones in almost every sense, this simulator is accessible to newcomers and couldn't look better. Sadly, the get is letdown by the frustrating AI, lack of varied locations and only a few modes to speak of. Even with these problems, this is a fun pool simulator with a competitive online mode and a reasonable asking price. Rating: 71%
Pure Pool
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  • Review Score:

  • B
This is not the story of a middle-class working father who goes from being a pool hall hustler to Las Vegas tournament superstar. There is no story in Pure Pool. You also won't run into any big-name celebrities or battle it out in licensed locations. What you will find is a barebones game of pool that not only looks great, but is accessible for anybody with an interest in this century-only sport.

In some ways, the no-frills approach is refreshing. While there are a few modes to play through, it's nice to see a pool game focus all its attention on getting the fundamentals right. The gameplay is quick to learn and has enough depth to keep fans of the sport coming back for the local and online multiplayer matches.

Pure Pool (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Although Pure Pool sees the action exclusively from the first-person perspective, I found most shots easy to execute. The game comes with a useful marker that helps players line-up a shot and see which direction the ball will travel. This will also help you figure out where the cue ball will end up, giving players enough information to make an educated shot. As somebody who hasn't played a pool simulator since Super Monkey Ball, these little touches made getting into this PlayStation 4 game even easier.

Once a shot is lined-up, players use the DualShock 4's right analog stick to hit the ball. This allows players to adjust the strength of the shot in an easy and intuitive way. And for those looking to get tricky with their shots, there's a mechanic to add spin to the ball. Although you'll be able to get by using basic shots, the game rewards those who master the more complicated mechanics.

Unfortunately, Pure Pool doesn't seem especially interested in easing you into its competitive single-player career mode. You don't start out against novices, but rather pool players who make an alarming amount of their shots. Every time you come up empty, the computer will somehow sink three or four balls in a row. They simply don't hold back, which can be incredibly frustrating to new players.

Pure Pool (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

After countless restarts, I finally began to get the hang of Pure Pool. It all managed to click and I somehow won in a hotly-contested fight. And then I won another round. Then another. I'm not sure what happened, but I started to exhibit the swagger reserved only for Tom Cruise in The Color of Money.

For the most part, the single-player career is a series of one-on-one matches. You'll play a bunch of computer opponents with silly names like Rhys Morgan, Amber De Wit and Felix Song. When you're not facing off against another pool player, you'll probably be playing one of the mini-games. One example is Speed Pot, which has players racing to clear the table in a certain amount of time. Another mini-game is called Perfect Potter, and it sees how many balls you can sink before missing a shot.

Beyond the silly extra challenges, Pure Pool has a number of competitive modes. It wouldn't be a proper pool game without both 8- and 9-ball variations. On top of those standards, there are others that help to mix things up. For example, Killer mode gives each player a set of lives, which will be lost every time they don't sink a shot. There's also Accumulator, where each player tries to collect the numbered balls in a specific order.

Although the career mode is surprisingly long, it's also not very interesting. The computer isn't much fun to play against and the mini-games quickly grow repetitive. Thankfully, Pure Pool is much more exciting when going up against another person. Both online and off, going head-to-head against a real player is where this game really shines. Although I had heard reports of server outages, I had no problem getting matched-up with other PlayStation 4 gamers. I rarely had to wait more than a few seconds to find an opponent, which suggested there were quite a few people playing online.

Pure Pool (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Of course, I already knew there were a lot of people playing online. For whatever reason, the names of Pure Pool players logging in are displayed across the top of the screen. It's kind of distracting and I couldn't find a way to turn it off. It's especially annoying in those instances when the server is down. It's pointless information that took away from the experience.

If you can get beyond those flashing names, you'll discover that Pure Pool is an incredible looking game. It seems silly to rave about the graphics of a simple pool simulator, but the developers have done an excellent job capturing the finer details of the sport. You can almost reach out and feel the fabric on the table, it looks that good. And the little scuffs and imperfection really help sell the illusion.

Pure Pool has the PlayStation 4's shiniest balls. If you look closely, you can see the reflections of the room in every ball. Even if somebody manages to make an even better looking pool table, we're at the point now where it's going to be hard to tell the difference.

Part of the reason the game looks so good is because it spends all its time in one location. Instead of traveling the world meeting up with celebrity pool players, the computer opponents come to you. Every match happens on this one table, including battles online and off. The good news is that you can customize the table at any time (even in the middle of a head-to-head match), but I'm sure some will be disappointed in the lack of variety.

Pure Pool (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Speaking of complaints, I wish there was a way to look at the table from a top-down perspective. It's not that I mind the first-person point of view, but there are some shots that require a different angle. It also would have been helpful to include more thorough introductions to the different types of pool. While I'm sure many people know how to play 8-ball, more could have been done to bring the novices up to speed. And let's not forget about the game's biggest flaw, the computer's artificial intelligence.

If you can overlook some of these problems, you'll find this is a solid pool simulator. It doesn't bother itself with a lengthy story or celebrity endorsements, but instead opts for great (and accessible) gameplay and stunning visuals. If you've been waiting for a next-generation pool game, then you'll be impressed with the quality of Pure Pool.
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