TGS '07: High Velocity Bowling Preshow Hands-On
We hit the lanes with the PlayStation 3's answer to Wii Bowling.
TOKYO--The PlayStation Network seems to be the outlet for some of Sony's most innovative content for the PS3, featuring games with unique concepts or which make full use of Sixaxis motion sensing technology (and sometimes both). High Velocity Bowling isn't exactly a groundbreaking concept, but it does utilise the Sixaxis controller to choose both the direction of the ball and its power. We tried out the latest build of the game at Sony's pre-TGS press event in Tokyo overnight, and we're happy to report that High Velocity Bowling seems to control much better now than in our last hands-on preview with the game.
High Velocity Bowling is an arcade bowler which features the usual stock standard play modes--there's straight-up bowling, head-to-head competitions (which helps unlocks new playable characters), tournaments, and trick shot challenges. Each character has different strengths in ball spin, speed, and accuracy, and they come with names like Average Joe, Average Jill, Spider, Hero, and more.
High Velocity Bowling draws some obvious parallels with Wii Sports' bowling game thanks to its use of the Sixaxis to control both direction and pace of the ball. You hold the PS3 controller sideways in your hand and will initially have to choose the position of your bowler by tilting the controller, followed by the direction of the ball. You then have to swing the controller as you would a real bowling ball, with the pace you swing determining the power of the ball. An onscreen indicator tells players if they've put too much power into it, with overpowered balls normally veering off slightly from their intended directions.
But choosing direction and speed via controller movements is just about where the parallels end to Wii bowling. While the Wii controller could also be used to impart spin on the ball, High Velocity Bowling requires you to hold down either the L2 or R2 trigger buttons to add left or right spin, with the harder you hold the buttons determining how much spin is given. It's a much more fiddly system than the Wii's intuitive one, as extra finger dexterity is required to hold down L2 or R2 and swing.
Despite this, High Velocity Bowling's controls are still easy to learn, and are much sharper than they were when we last saw the game in May. It's smoother now to set direction, but it's far too easy to overpower a ball down the lane. In fact, it seemed like a fairly lazy swing was more than enough to hit top speed.
High Velocity Bowling is due out this month on the PlayStation Network.