At a glance...

Reviewer Platform Publisher Developer Players Screenshots
Matt Bailey PlayStation 2 Codemasters Blade Interactive Studios 1-2 (share screen) Here
Requirements Also on... Buy from Amazon.co.uk
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World Championship Snooker 2003 review

Snooker is one of the calmer sports represented in games; unlike Football or Skateboarding, it's not about being a superstar or high-octane frills, it's about enjoying the game for yourself in a calm take-turns-based environment.

In World Championship Snooker Blade Interactive Studios have recreated the sport to a great degree. The physics of the balls of the balls are realistic, and all the rules of the game are in place and never broken. You get a BBC TV-style presentation (including the BBC's Snooker theme tune), including some dramatic camera angles from places like the cushion behind the pocket. These are features which give the game a realistic atmosphere of Snooker, and are highly commendable.

Another admirable part of the game is the range of features. The standard Snooker mode is what you would expect from the game; it includes a Career option which allows you to tkae a professional player, or a custom-made amatuer, through a career that if successful will earn you the world title. There's also the ability to play a single match of Snooker or create your own Tournament. Despite its title, Snooker isn't the only game you can play in WCS2003; there's also pool (in 8-ball UK version, as well as the 9-ball US edition), the ability to take on John Virgo's classic Trick Shots (they even have the man Virgo doing the voice-over, and a player model of him doing the shot when you select to demonstrate it), or there's 'Fun Games', which are essentially a collection of variations on the basic game of snooker (time limits, etc.). And if that wasn't enough to keep you occupied, the latter two modes also allow you to unlock items, such as new tables and trick shots. All in all there's a lot in WCS2003 that will keep you going for quite some time just to get through it all, let alone the fact that, like football, Snooker games can be played again and again, especially for pick-up-and-play single matches.

But before I praise to game to high heaven, I should draw on the game's two biggest issues. As I said, there's nothing wrong in the gameplay or presentation departments, but the graphics aren't as good as they could be. Although they certainly aren't bad, the issue lies in the fact that there is so little happening on the screen (as is the nature of Snooker) that you would expect the power of the PS2 to be used to provide better-looking and more-rounded models, and improve the flat-looking surrounding environment. On-table graphics are very good, but everything else that you see around the table should look better than it does.

The other major issue is the lack of change since 2001's edition, WCS2002. Things have simply been fine-tuned since that version, and it makes you wonder whether you would actually be better off saving 20 and picking up that instead. After all, unlike football games, snooker does not involve large amounts of statistical changes each year which is often justification enough to hardcore fans to upgrade to the next edition (e.g. of FIFA...).

Ratings

Graphics Table graphics look good, but the surroundings and the players need improvement in a game which does not push the PS2. 6/10
Gameplay Recreating the sport very well. Enjoyable, especially against human opponents. 8/10
Value At the time of writing, we did not have a value for money ranking. 0/10
Lifespan Plenty of modes to keep you occupied, as well as the ability to pick up and play a single match at a later date. 8/10
Audio Voice-overs and crowd sounds are alright, but the balls hitting the pockets sound muffled. 7/10
Overall A very good game let down by graphics which need improving, and the general lack of upgrades to make it worthy a purchase for owners of World Championship Snooker 2002. 7/10

Click here to buy World Championship Snooker 2003 from Amazon.co.uk.

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