John Daly’s Pro Stroke GolfESRB:
Prostroke Control featuring weight shifting mechanics
Local and online play up to 4 players
720p video output
I love golf. I play regularly in real life and even card my own handicap (I’m a 12 if anyone’s asking). Naturally, when golf entered the realm of motion controlled games I was interested. Wii Golf was far too simplistic for me. While it featured better swing mechanics, the decidedly low res graphics of Tiger Woods on the Wii left me wanting more. Enter Gusto Games with their Pro Stroke golf series (they shipped a game for past gen consoles). The more focused approach to actual golf swing mechanics seems absolutely prime for the accuracy of the Playstation Move controller. So let’s tee this one up and see how it fares.
Compared to the latest Tiger game, John Daly’s Pro Stroke Golf just doesn’t measure up. It's functional enough but it doesn’t come close to the polish you see in the Tiger Woods' games these days. The courses and holes are a little spartan looking and lack the amount of environmental objects to give the courses a truly realistic look to them. There’s not enough trees and the textures are too flat. The ball often looks like it is floating ever so slightly above the ground and not actually making contact.
Character models are decent. John Daly looks okay. His character model kind of reminds me of what Kenny Rogers looks like today versus what I remember him looking like. Just sort of off. There are several frame rate hiccups and stutters throughout the game. They don’t affect the game play all that much but they are easily noticed.
Golf isn’t going to be the best sounding game but again, this one falls well below the standard. There’s limited voice dialogue from JD himself but it comes across forced and awfully read. I appreciate hearing JD himself but he should stick to the game of golf.
There aren’t really that many environmental sounds to speak of either. The attention to detail in this area can really give a golf game that sense of being there whether it’s a passing plane, birds, wind or whatever. Unfortunately there’s very little here giving this game too much of a sterile feel. Even the music that plays during the fly by of each hole cuts in abruptly providing yet another example of the lack of polish that could have made this game that much better.
A few years back, there was a golf game called Pro Stroke Golf that released on the last gen of consoles. It didn’t garner a lot of reception at retail but it offered a more detailed take on the actual golf swing. Enter the age of motion control and Sony’s Move controller and you have a game that is just begging to take advantage of the accuracy the peripheral offers. I will note that I played this review purely with the Move controller and as a frequent golfer in real life on the most realistic setting to try and replicate a real life golfing experience.
John Daly’s Pro Stroke golf offers a good complement of game modes including playing as a foursome both locally and online, quick play that throws you right into a round quickly, tournaments and finally a set of challenges where you square off against John Daly himself.
To me a golf game is all about the feel. Fortunately, when played with the Move controller, John Daly’s Pro Stroke Golf delivers. The accuracy of the peripheral (which I have touted in other reviews) is demonstrated very well here. I’ve played Tiger Woods on the Wii and Wii Golf which offer fun takes on the sport but do little other than gauge how far you take the club back in your back swing. John Daly’s Pro Stroke Golf not only measures this but also your swing plane and angle of attack when you are striking the ball. This was by far the most impressive aspect of this game for me. Outside-in swings result, as expected, with a slice and vice-versa. Very cool. The game recommends you actually put a golf ball down as a reference point on the floor. I recommend taking this advice as it works very well.
The one issue I do have with the swing mechanics of the Move controller is that swinging as hard as you normally would in a real game of golf offers no benefit. It took me a few holes to realize this. You really don’t have to swing that hard at all. A controlled swing on plane offers greater benefit than really trying to rip one (and you might just save your back, a piece of furniture or a loved one if you’re just a casual hacker). One might argue this is the case for golfing in real life but the pace of the swing for this game is just slower than what you would expect to swing like in real life.
The other controls do suffer a little with the Move controller. While the manual does a good job of explaining the modes and difficulty settings it does little to teach you how to actually physically swing. The in-game tutorials don’t either. For example, you need to face the TV so your swing is from one side of the screen to the other for it to work properly. Also, I found I had to carry the Move controller down low near my hip to aim things on-screen. This felt counter-intuitive compared to what I was used to by simply aiming from anywhere with a Wii remote. The acceleration of movement is also based on how far you pull the T button. Not a bad thing, just something you have to get used to. After a little while, it all makes sense.
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