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PSN Review – High Velocity Bowling

July 1, 2009 Written by Adam Wolfe

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[shal]High Velocity Bowling[/shal] is [shal]Sony’s[/shal] semi-rebuttal to Wii bowling. All of the motions are controlled by the Sixaxis. Now with previous games struggling to use the Sixaxis correctly, can HVB get it right or is it a complete waste of the feature?

As stated above, this game is controlled completely with the sixaxis motion controls. Although the controls can be difficult in the beginning, once you get used to them it is a lot of fun. For starters, you hold the controller different than usual. The game asks that you hold it with your left or right hand so that the controller is vertical, and the analog sticks are pointing inward. This way you can use your thumb on the X button, and your pinky and pointer finger on the L2 and R2 buttons.

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To start a game you pull up a billboard and choose from several different game modes. You can either play a tournament, a trick shot, or challenge a bowler. Each type of game unlocks different prizes, including better characters and new bowling balls. Each bowling ball you use has a grade indicating how well it spins. You also can choose the oil pattern for each lane, and although this may not seem like a big deal at first, it has a significant impact on the trajectory and speed of your ball.

When it is your turn you will have to choose your starting position; tilt the controller left or right and your bowler will move left and right. When ready, select X to choose the angle of your shot. Again, tilt your controller left or right to change the angle of your shot. After you hitting X again, your bowler will start to move forward, and you’ll need to swing your arm back then swing forward, identical to what you would do on a real bowling lane. If you want to add some spin to your ball, simply hold in R2 or L2. Because the triggers have analog sensitivity, the stronger you hold down these buttons the more spin your ball will have. All of the motions work pretty well, and it’s on of the better uses of the sixaxis in recent memory.

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The sound for this game is pretty spot on. All of the sounds you’d expect to hear at a bowling alley are there, and even some of the comments made by the bowlers are humorous. But eventually they can get kind of old. One of the best features for this game is its support for custom soundtracks, and in fact it was one of the first titles that included this feature. And without it, it just wouldn’t be as enjoyable. There’s nothing like rocking out to Led Zeppelin, swinging bowling balls down the lane.

The visuals are alright, but where the game really shines is in the overall physics. For the most part, everything acts like it should on a bowling alley. The areas that are waxed act a lot different then the areas that were not. The pins bounce and fly in every which way, and even those stupid pins that stay standing when there is no possible way you could of missed it (at least, that’s what I tell myself). What this game lacks in visual flare, it makes up completely in the authenticity of its physical interactions.

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Since HVB’s release, quite a lot of DLC has been released, including new bowling ball packs and brand new characters. It has also fixed one of the main issues which is it now has the online multi-player which was a must. When you go online you can choose from several different rooms, from the not so talented gutterballs to the top of the line 300 club. Another feature added was trophy support, which acts as a great motivator to unlock everything.

It would have been good to have a few more bowlers to start out with, but since it is not overly complicated to unlock new bowlers it wasn’t too big of a deal. In the end this is a wonderful game. It’s fun to play both by yourself and with a friend. The control scheme is pretty clever, and it definitely takes the PS3 further into the casual market. It’s a great game to play, and I recommend picking it up if bowling interests you.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

Fun to play either solo or with friends.

Visuals are decent, but the physics are spot on.

Unique Sixaxis control scheme has both accessibility and depth.

8 out of 10