Despite the appearance of The Legend of Zelda and a number of other exciting games, when it comes right down to it most Nintendo Wii early adopters had the most fun waving their arms and jumping around while playing Wii Sports. The surprise hit of Nintendo's newest console was Wii Bowling, a bowling game that perfectly showed off what the Wii's motion-sensing controls were capable of. Here is a game that everybody could get behind, it's based on a sport everybody enjoys and manages to get the feel of bowling down perfectly. This is the kind of game even non-gamers could get into; the perfect way for Nintendo to broaden the market.
It was while I played Wii Bowling for the 300th time that I started to wonder when somebody would take this relatively simple mini-game and flesh it out into a full game complete with a career mode and multiple venues. Almost a full year later somebody has done exactly that, Crave Entertainment has introduced a brand new Wii game that adds a level of realism and depth to the otherwise fun Wii Bowling mini-game. This is Brunswick Pro Bowling, the Wii's first attempt at recreating the serious sport of professional bowling. While this new bowling game will probably not replace Wii Bowling's pick up and play ease of use, it does feature all the depth and extra content you wanted from that Wii Sports mini-game.
If it wasn't for the Wii's motion control then chances are nobody would look twice at a bowling game. Let's be realistic, although there have been dozens of bowling games in the past (from Neo Geo Bowling to Ten Pin Alley on the original PlayStation), most games based on this sport are regarded with the same enthusiasm as sitting in the waiting room at the dentist's office. For much of our history bowling video games are nothing more than something to do when you have no other video games to play; that thing you do when you don't want to go outside and play but all your really good games are someplace else. But thanks to the Wii remote that stereotype has been shattered, all of a sudden Bowling is the game to play. Forget about first-person shooting or role-playing, these days everybody wants to put on ugly shoes and get their own heavy ball to throw at some unsuspecting pins. Bowling is suddenly cool again.
On paper Brunswick Pro Bowling sounds like it's going to be the greatest bowling simulator ever made, it takes everything we loved about Wii Bowling and combines it with a lengthy single-player career mode, cool multiplayer support, a bunch of new levels and a graphic overhaul that actually shows off what the Wii is capable of. For the most part Crave was able to get most of those aspects right, but there are just a few problems that keep this game from being the ultimate Wii bowling experience.
Brunswick Pro Bowling is split up into a couple different modes, both of which are pretty self explanatory. Up first we have the Quick Play mode, which allows you to jump into a game without any fuss. This is also the way to get multiple bowlers into the same event, the game offers up to four-player bowling using just one Wii control. Better yet, Quick Play allows you to customize how you want to bowl, giving you two different options and the ability to play wherever you want.
Gamers who want something a little more substantial should check out the Career mode, where you get to create a character and take him/her through a series of games where you play against the computer to win money and ultimately become the greatest bowler the world has ever seen. Unlike Wii Bowling, Brunswick Pro Bowling has you actually going up against a computer-controlled opponent who wants that prize money as much as you. The object here is simple, you are trying to win games and work your way up from the amateur league all the way up to the professional league.
Unfortunately it's in the career mode where things start to fall apart. Going into Brunswick Pro Bowling I felt pretty confident that I could take on the entire bowling community; after all, I was a force to be reckoned with when it came to bowling in Wii Sports. So I skipped right past the practice mode because I knew I had what it takes to earn all kinds of money and be the best in the world. I was wrong. You would think that the first few computer opponents you meet would take it easy on you, what with this being the first time you actually play the game and all. But they didn't take it easy on me ... in fact; the computer-controlled opponent got a strike in the very first frame. And the opponents only got harder as I picked myself up and fought to become the greatest bowler ever.
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