T&E Software

Electronic Arts


Swing Away Golf Review

By: John Doe

You don't have to dress like the Skipper from Gilligan's Island to enjoy a few holes with EA Sport's Swing Away Golf. And enjoy it you will. Or maybe you enjoy dressing like the Skipper? How about Mary Anne? Yeah, well me too, just don't tell anyone. Swing Away Golf was a complete surprise for me. Everything about this game; presentation, game play, graphics and subtle nuances combine to make this game a great little sports niche title not to mention that it is the first golf game to be available at a system launch.


If you like the arcade-style golf as in Hot Shots Golf (1 & 2), then you will have no reason to neglect this latest offering which features numerous modes, a choice of seven characters, interactive caddies and multi-player setting for up to four duffers. It's fun, easy to learn, fast paced and boy does this ever look good. The features and options on this game are so plentiful they are virtually guaranteed to keep your mind off winter.

Start with any one of the seven characters in the amateur ranks and take him through a series of tournaments right on up to the pro circuit. You have total control over your character's abilities with Skill Points which can be awarded to the following skills: distance, control, accuracy and recovery. The more points you relinquish to any given category the better your performance will be in that area. You will obviously want to select an area you are deficient in. I myself chose distance until I was able to slam that sucker onto the greens of the next hole. A slight exaggeration perhaps, but as I mastered the standard 3 click C-meter for swings, I was able to put more points into accuracy.

Instant gratification enthusiasts will find this game sympathetic to their lifestyle. With a comprehensive instruction manual (get the basics and come back to it later) and easy to use controls, the game almost plays itself. You will be on your way to 18 holes in less time than it takes to squeeze your balls in a vice and slam them relentlessly with a hammer. I personally wouldn't do that because it adversely affects their trajectory. What did you think I was talking about? Oh come on people! Minds out of the gutter now!

T&E really went to town with the graphics. It's obvious that they were chomping at the bit to take advantage of the PS2's processing power. From the sterile world of the digital binary code, the scenery and backgrounds project an amazing amount of warmth, especially for a game that features Mother Nature as its subject. I have yet to see a golf game that looks this pleasing. The water shimmers, the clouds traverse the blue sky and the trees are so detailed that they look like they were photographed. I looked forward to each new hole just to see what surprises lie in wait. The music also adds to the relaxed and warm ambience with several non-intrusive, weather-channel-influenced melodies.

If you don't already have Hot Shots, this one is a must have. If you do have Hot Shots, think of this one as a better-looking version; I didn't say better playing, that will be for you to decide.






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