John Daly’s ProStroke Golf PS3 Review

While EA Sports’ Tiger Woods PGA Tour series has dominated console golf gaming throughout the last decade, the recent attempt to patch it to include PS3 Move support was not wholly satisfactory. Playing with the Move controller removes some of the functions open to DualShock players, disadvantaging those players, while putting became a frustrating chore.

Enter O-Games’ new title – John Daly’s ProStroke Golf – which arrives with Playstation Move support right out of the box. The game is perfectly playable using a Dualshock controller, yet unsurprisingly it is when played using the Move that it is most successful.

To swing a club the player holds the Move controller just as you would a golf club, pressing the Move button as you begin your backswing before shifting your weight and swinging forwards to complete the shot. It can take a lot of effort to master but the results are impressive as your stroke is captured perfectly. At first this can be frustrating, as an accidental twist of the wrists will result in lifelike results. But as you get used to it the controls become increasingly comfortable and, when a shot is well executed, can be very satisfying. For those that struggle, four skill settings allow you to tweak the game to make it a more forgiving experience.

As the game does not include unrealistic modifiers to push your shot unnaturally far or allow you to apply spin after the shot, set-up and execution become more important and a more realistic golfing experience is created.

The Move controller can also be used to navigate the game’s menus but here I found it to be somewhat inadequate. Used like a mouse, you have to point at the option you want on the screen but the cursor is hard to control and far too sensitive on the more complicated menus.

One of the frustrations with EA’s Tiger Woods series is that a large number of courses remain in the game from year to year, meaning that they will already be very familiar. The courses on offer here are perhaps less notable than those in the Tiger Woods series, with a couple of exceptions, but for most gamers they will represent entirely new challenges.

Six of these courses are immediately available to play on in the ‘Quick Game’ option but to access the others (and fictional tournaments associated with all twelve courses) you have to defeat John Daly in the game’s Challenge mode. In addition to playing practice rounds you can play strokeplay, matchplay, foursome or four ball games, though Tiger Woods gamers will miss the wider array of game options available in EA’s franchise.

To unlock courses you must defeat John Daly in four different challenges, representing four aspects of the game, on each course. There is a long driving contest, an approach shot challenge, a putting challenge and a full round challenge. Most of these challenges are pretty tough and there is no sense of progression between them as it is as hard to beat Daly on the first challenge as it is on the last. Some more variety in the challenges, like those in the Tiger Woods series, could have made this a much richer mode and would make it less of a chore to play through.

Playing through the tournaments is entertaining enough, if only because each tournament has its own objective, but there is little sense of a career beyond a record being kept of your statistics and course scores. Nor in fact is there much of a sense of your character at all as customization options are very limited and offer little control of your golfer’s appearance.

The lack of customization options is just one of the presentational flaws with a game that looks and sounds like it belongs on the previous generation of consoles. Graphically, the courses are bland with the grass looking like green carpet, while the character models are blocky and stiff. As there is just one pro on offer to compete against (Daly himself), it is a shame Gusto Games didn’t spend more time on making him look more like his real self.

The audio work is similarly unimpressive. When you face Daly in the challenges he comments on your play but these sound clips repeat far too often and sound lifeless. Occasional attempts at humor in the tournament commentary try to bring some color to the presentation but they feel forced. Fortunately though, comments are kept pretty brief.

I do like John Daly’s ProStroke Golf’s intentions of presenting a more realistic version of golf than that offered in Tiger Woods series where too much can be achieved with skill modifiers, and the Move controls are more accurate than those recently patched onto the latest EA title. The presentational issues, combined with its repetitive single player experience, mean though that this game offers less of a reason to keep playing than its popular counterpart and will likely only appeal to the most dedicated golf fans.

– Aidan Brack

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