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Xbox Live Arcade Review: Bankshot Billiards 2

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As the most expensive (currently) Xbox Live Arcade game, Bankshot Billiards 2 has to offer something to prove its worth. That it does, with wildly fun multi-player and numerous single player games that have brutally difficult Achievements to unlock. Sadly, the game is a technological disaster waiting to happen, with countless bugs, online issues, and various other annoyances that show you why this is free when you buy the Xbox Live Starter kit.

Getting a $15 game for free seems like a great deal when you’re purchasing a starter kit. There’s enough to do so you’ll feel like you have your money’s worth even if you choose to use some Microsoft Points to make the purchase (if you’re not due to re-subscribe to the service soon). The play modes are widely varied, offering a solid selection of styles. Standard 8-Ball, Euro 8-Ball, 9 Ball, Golf, Trick Shots, 3-ball, 14.1 continuous, and a Time Trial line the surprisingly robust menu.

Customization is also excellent, with different tables, cues, and music (none of which will stay on very long before shutting it off). Online play is simple to set up, though you may think they forgot private matches. After Player and Ranked, there is an arrow to the right that leads to Private.

Actually playing pool is where it comes together. From an overhead view perfectly suited to the game, players have an array of things to do when they’re up. It’s a simple interface that uses the analog sticks, and when used in conjunction with a button, can set power, height, and English. Though there’s no tutorial, it’s a basic system you’ll have down in about 10 minutes.

Ball physics feel spot-on, obviously crucial to a game of this nature. However, they do seem to lose control at times, letting the balls drift along the felt longer than they should. It’s random, and because of the touchiness of the analog sticks (with no options to set their sensitivity), adjusting your shot to compensate isn’t an option.

That’s only the beginning of Bankshot Billiards 2’s problems. One of the Achievements is for winning 200 games. That’s hard enough, but when finishing five of them without being disconnected becomes impossible, you’ll never see those points. It’s not only online either. You can have a group of people over and out of nowhere, the game crashes and sends everything back to the menu. Even if the 200 win barrier proves to be impossible, you don’t have to worry about the rest. This one decides to hand out awards for 50 wins, even though you didn’t even win a single round in the previous game.

It’s a real shame since Bankshot 2 features some great gameplay once on the table (assuming you stay and don’t get booted for a random reason). Taking the price into consideration, it drops a few spots lower. If you landed a free download, you likely won’t care. If you enjoy yourself, don’t get too immersed – you never know when the next glitch will hit.

Bankshot Billiards 2 is a rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB .


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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.
  • Ken Edwards

    Just like Tiger 06 on the Xbox 360, this game is good even with the flaws.

    I was the one who got the 50 win achievement when getting p0wned by Matt in a game. Odd.

    Today I got the 9 Ball Shark achievement for hitting the 9 ball in on a break (this should have been the Lucky Break achievement.) It is really annoying as I have sunk the 9 ball on a break no less then three times by now, and still no achievement.

    9 Ball Shark, worth tree times as much, not to mention exponentially harder *technically* to get, I get without even trying. I did not come close to winning five games without losing a turn.

    Now that achievement is worthless. It means nothing.

    However I do not know if I should blame the developer, or the Achievement system, as I have seen oddities like this in other games as well.

    I have played a lot of Bankshot Billiards 2 online in the last few days and I am getting dropped less often it seems, but it still happens. That does not excusable. This is not Call of Duty 2 or Perfect Dark Zero, its a billiards game!

  • http://www.mysupportcenter.co.uk Jason Morgan

    Hi all BankShot Billiards Players

    We are currently looking for gamers to fill our leagues with quality pool action. We have 3 leagues to offer each to suit your playing skills or if your that good why not enter all three! There will always be matches for you to play whichever league you are in.

    Choose from – 9 Ball, Traditional 8 Ball & Euro 8 Ball

    Our league systems are flexible and relaxed and work completly around the gamer not the website. We update reguarly also to ensure the latest statistical information is kept well up to date, So check back often to see how your doing!

    Feel free to ask any questions here before Joining. We allow Guest Users to post within this section only. I will be happy to clarify any questions you may have.

    We are Non Commercial in any way. We are not looking for your money. Infact we take part in these leagues also. Entry is free and always will be. All that is required is free membership on the forum so that we know who you are when your posting messages.

    for more information visit the BankShot Billiards Homepage for this league. http://www.mysupportcenter.co.uk
    Note: This post is not intended as “spam”. This is a non commercial based post linked to a personal website. This post is to spread the word of a new gamers online league via the Xbox Live service for the Arcade game in mention. If however you feel this post should be removed then please do so at your own will. I shall not complain.

  • BrianDAnderson

    The game keeps freezing on me!!!

  • BrianDAnderson

    Even though there were problems I still enjoyed my fun, Thank you!