|System: Ps2, Xbox, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Gusto||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Oxygen||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sept 2006||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 - 2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|Review by Patrick||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Patrick Evans
Nobody in sports is in complete control of their respective individual sport like Tiger Woods. He almost always plays well in majors, never loses a lead going into the final round, and wins more than one-fourth of every tournament he enters. As he dominates the real links, its only fitting that the game that carries his name would dominate the virtual golfing world. Everything else is just playing for second place.
Sergio Garcia adorns the cover of newcomer Pro Stroke Golf: World Tour 2007, which aims to please golfers who crave more realism and challenge in their golfing game. When you stack this title against that of the reigning champ, there really is no comparison; Pro Stroke Golf lacks any sort of compelling or exciting gameplay and looks terrible on all the consoles. Whats worse is that anything that is done here has been done more successfully by EA, leaving this game without a leg to stand on.
But why only tell you that the game is a waste of time when I can go into the exact reasons why? Let us start with the gameplay selection, of which there is very little in Pro Stroke. The only mode worth mentioning is the PSG Career Mode, which goes against the Tiger convention of throwing you on the course to earn money and experience and instead makes you focus on reputation. You are given five calendar years to become the greatest golfer you can be, and since you can only enter certain tournaments after you have gained enough rep, every time you take the course counts..
Anyone familiar with earlier reviews I have written will know that I am a sucker for time constraints in videogames. If you are limited in exactly how long you get to build up a character or fool around between missions, the urgency to complete your objectives creates an excitement that would be missing otherwise. Having said that, the career mode here struck me as nothing more than irritating and boring. If you dont win in your first tournament you lose an entire calendar year because you have to earn enough respect to enter the next event. Why not offer little challenges to boost your rep throughout the year without reputation requirement so that unfortunate players can catch up a little?
The reason, I would guess, would be because they are aiming for a crowd that likes their golfing a little more complicated and realistic than Tiger Woods has offered. This fact is painstakingly evident in every swing you take. Before every shot, players can reposition their feet and address the ball for a controlled draw or slice shot. They can also position the ball up in their stance for a punch shot or back in their stance for a flop shot. Controlled slices and draws can also be achieved by moving your hands with the left control stick, turning the club face in or out. All of this is before you even draw the club for your backswing. To actually swing the club, players push the right control stick to the right until they reach the desired power and push it left for the downswing.
With all the minute adjustments possible for every shot, you would imagine that every shot would be dead on and that each shot would take forever. Well, you would be half-correct on that. Figuring out how the ball will come off your club and approach your target works well enough, but it never seems possible to put the ball exactly where you want. The only way for someone to get a shot exactly where they wanted it would be to compile a NASA-style checklist for every single shot, spouting check after each point in their inspection. It may make for a realistic sim, but it certainly isnt fun or interesting.
And to top all of that off; its not bad enough that the game is boring to play, but its almost painful to even watch. Pro Stroke Golf sports what must be the worst visuals in a sports game in years. The Tiger Woods graphics engine on current-gen shows its age with every passing year, but this game looks like it was developed as a first-generation Playstation 2 game at best. This ugly is carried over to the Xbox as well, which is a real disappointment to say the least. If that wasnt bad enough, the custom golfer tool is a joke. Players get to choose from 10 pre-made golfers and are given a measly two selections per option. Quite literally an insult to the senses, this title will make you wish the cover said 2001 instead of 2007. And the sound fares no better; what with the three unknowns spouting the same dozen lines ad-nausea and completely devoid of personality.
If you had to pick out a positive here, the obvious choice would be the robust, if a little archaic, course creator. After spending a little time figuring out the cheap menus and weird camera controls, players can create real masterpieces with little effort. If they so desired, they could create a course deep in the forest, where the shot you can take is to the dead-center of the fairway. Even better, pop in Tiger Woods and try to recreate one of the fantasy courses there for a real challenge.
Make no mistakes about it; Pro Stroke Golf: World Tour 2007 is a bad effort by unknown developer Gusto Games. When you first put it in, you are immediately assaulted by offensively-bad graphics and a career mode that lacks substance. Top it off with a control scheme thats too complicated to be anywhere near fun and you have the worst golf title of the year. Players would do well to wait for Tiger, hes making his yearly appearance soon enough.
CCC Staff Writer