John Daly’s Prostroke Golf Review for PlayStation 3 (PS3)

John Daly’s Prostroke Golf Review for PlayStation 3 (PS3)

Goofy pants don’t win tournaments

There was a decent amount of hope for John Daly’s Prostroke Golf in the months leading up to its release. Never mind that it comes from an almost completely unknown developer in O-Games, whose most high-profile release to date was Superstars V8 Racing in 2009. Or that its publisher, Reverb, has a spotty record at best, working on games as varied as the abysmal Fairytale Fights and the great Beatles Rock Band.

John Daly's Prostroke Golf screenshot

Never mind all of that, because John Daly’s Prostroke Golf was supposed to bring a fresh pair of eyes to the golf genre, and more importantly, implement the PlayStation Move control that was supposed to revolutionize the genre. The only problem? It doesn’t. John Daly’s golf game has about as much chance of beating Tiger Woods PGA Tour as the real John Daly does of beating the real Tiger Woods.

It’s an interesting time in the golf genre, and the industry could have been poised to adopt a new king. Tiger Woods’ reputation has been badly wounded by his ongoing scandal, so much so that it was rumored that EA might drop his endorsement of their golf series altogether. But instead of toppling the king, Tiger Woods’ throne may be more secure than ever. Prostroke Golf shows us how much we’ve come to take for granted in the golf genre, and shows us a bleak alternate future without the many advancements EA Sports has brought to the genre.

But before I beat up on it too much, I should mention that the PlayStation Move controller implementation is pretty good, even if it’s not quite where it could be. The Move controller is used to measure the velocity of your swing, which is good and bad. On one hand, swinging the Move controller and having it accurately shown on screen is good fun. But a few things hold it back. For one, the back swing is a marker of how much power will be put into the swing. But you can hold the club back slowly until you reach the exact power you want; the swing doesn’t need to be one fluid motion. It feels like cheating or gaming the system.

John Daly's Prostroke Golf screenshot

Also, the Move controller doesn’t map anything regarding the angle of your swing. Just velocity. You aim prior to the swing and then fire away with the controller. This allows you to focus on the speed of the swing. However, the unintended side effect of this is that hitting the ball accurately is entirely too easy. The entire game is essentially about aiming the ball straight and then swinging. There is almost no challenge to hitting a ball straight, and no incentive to apply spin. Just “grip it and rip it” as John Daly says ninety-seven times in the first hour of the game.

The “too easy” statement applies until you reach the green. Then it becomes obscenely hard. The main culprit here is the aiming system. A precise putt requires pinpoint accuracy, but instead the Move-aiming system swivels wildly. It requires near-surgical precision to get the ball aimed in the right direction.

John Daly's Prostroke Golf screenshot

As I said, the motion control isn’t what sinks this game; it’s everything else. The presentation is sorely lacking in every single category. First and foremost, the graphics are abysmal by modern standards, though the game might have been passable if it released in 2004 against Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005. The scant few character models look awkward and uncomfortable. Even the character model of John Daly himself looks like a joke. He looks like a Nordic clown. His hair literally looks like a hard plastic wig, and his trademark goofy pants are probably the best rendered thing in the game.

The poor presentation doesn’t stop there. Many aspects of the audio are cringe-inducing. I understand the impetus for wanting John Daly as an actual voice actor on the title, but I can’t understand why they kept him in the game after finding out how bad his acting was. Every time the game offered a bit of commentary from Daly it elicited a few chuckles from me as I wondered how many takes he got to produce such wretched voice-overs. Did he only do one take (seems like it)? Or did it take multiple tries to get to that point?

John Daly's Prostroke Golf screenshot

Announcers are part of the soul of a golf game. They’re constantly offering commentary, and are essential to the feel of a golf game. They need to be good otherwise playing with them in your ear can be an incredible chore. Thankfully, Prostroke’s announcers aren’t too bad. They’re completely standard and fall into the “random Scottish man” category, but it’s enjoyable enough.

Prostroke also has a myriad of other problems. For instance, the menus were clearly designed before PlayStation Move support was implemented, and now they’re barely functional. Rather than using the great menu control that the Cross Media Bar uses on the PS home screen, Prostroke uses a point-and-click system. This would be fine, if the menu items were big enough. Instead they’re just as small as a normal game’s (without Move) menus, which makes clicking on them feel like you’re playing Trauma Center – far too difficult.

There’s a type of character creator, but it’s barely worth using. Most characters come out looking very much the same anyway, like the original character model only with a wig and glasses on. With the lackluster main golfing mode, Prostroke could have used a few unique play modes to distract from that. But there isn’t much of that either.

There was great potential in John Daly’s Prostroke Golf. Move should eventually make for a great golfing experience, but this just isn’t it. It’s far too easy in some spots and yet maddeningly difficult in others. Add to that a woeful presentation, and this is a golf game that doesn’t have a prayer of matching up to genre juggernaut, Tiger Woods PGA Tour.

Even players who are desperate to experiment on a golf game with their new PS Move controllers should probably stay away from this one. You’d have to be the biggest John Daly fan in the world to consider this a decent purchase. Especially considering it’s second only to Aragorn’s Quest as the most expensive PlayStation Move-enabled game yet released. It’s interesting to see where the genre might lead us, but this is a step in the wrong direction.

Terrible. This game could barely stack up against a quality Xbox (original) game. 3.5 Control
The motion controls work well enough, but it would have been nice if more than the swing velocity was controlled. 2.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
John Daly is laughably bad in his voice-overs, but the other announcers are decent enough. 2.3 Play Value
Parts of the game aren’t entirely bad, but its simplistic approach will leave golf fans feeling cheapened. At best, this is a golf game for people who dislike golf. 2.2 Overall Rating – Poor
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Starring PGA golfer John ‘Grip it and Rip it’ Daly
  • Revolutionary ProStroke control system improved and developed by John Daly himself.
  • Supports Sony’s ‘Move’ controller offering the most realistic golf experience in a video game to date
  • Twelve courses
  • Truly realistic golf physics
  • Variety of game modes including Challenge, Tournament, Exhibition and Practice
  • Jump straight in: No levelling up required before a player is allowed to reach their full potential

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