Also available on: Xbox 360, PC
Developer: OG International
Publisher: Gusto Games
The vast majority of players purchasing John Daly's ProStroke Golf on the PS3 will no doubt be doing so purely to use their brand spanking new PlayStation Move controllers. After Electronic Arts merely patched in Move support to Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11, the system never really felt like part of the core experience. The good news is that ProStroke Golf brings the sport to life with the motion accessory, delivering an intuitive and realistic swing action in driving, chipping and putting. The bad news, though, is that the rest of the game suffers from last generation graphics and a general lack of content. The only real reason to get John Daly's ProStroke Golf is for the Move support, but even then the game simply feels like a weak alternative to EA's long-running series.
Using the Move controller in ProStroke Golf is a bit like playing Tiger Woods on the Wii, with the motion peripheral accurately transmitting the arc of your swing in the game. Shots feel balanced and authentic, as the controller monitors the movement of the player's wrists while swinging and reflects that in the shot. However, that also means players need to be much more careful and precise with their drives and chips so as to avoid slicing the ball into the rough or bunkers. The quality and accuracy even extends to the putting, which has always been a problem with golf games using the Wii's motion controller.
The Move system offers enough precision to appeal to the more dedicated players, but that does mean it can be a little tough to aim for novice players, especially when getting close to the hole. Anyone not using the Move can switch to the standard controller setup, in which the analogue sticks are pulled back and then forward to time the swing. The same rules apply in that there is a great deal of precision required to avoid going horribly wrong with shots. There are also none of the super-powered effects, such as spin or fade in the air, available on shots as in the Tiger Woods series. That makes the system much more realistic and reflective of skill level, but it could disappoint some players wanting a more accessible experience.
Aside the strong Move controls, John Daly's ProStroke Golf unfortunately feels like a very weak package. The graphics are more suited to the PlayStation 2 era, including John Daly himself looking like a pudgy businessman with a bad bowl haircut. The golf courses are very rough around the edges, with limited detail and lots of ugly textures that pop in and out. There are some more unusual courses to play on, such as The Shire London and the Brabazon, alongside the more famous circuits. They are all enjoyable to try out, but the game is just not a particularly nice place in which to spend long periods of time. Commentary from Sam Torrence and Peter Kessler is also pretty uninspiring, while cheesy lift music chimes away almost constantly.
By far the biggest problem about the game, though, is its lack of content. Players can jump into quick games of stroke-play, match-play, foursome and four-ball either on their own or with three other buddies (or computer-controlled players). However, the online game feels pretty weak compared to the Tiger Woods online offering, which has been improved significantly in recent years. There is some fun to be had in taking on other players over the PlayStation Network, but there are limited competitors in the community and so most people will just spend a frustrating time searching for a suitable game.
Then there's the game's career mode, if you can call it that. The career basically just involves taking on the rotund Daly in a series of challenges, such as the longest drive or getting closest to the hole. Winning the challenges unlocks individual tournaments to compete in, but beating Daly is such a tough task that most players will simply give up entirely. That means tournament play, such a basic feature of other golf games, will remain completely out of some player's reach. There is also a complete absence of the character progression that has become such a staple of other sports games, which just feels like a total copout.
Overall, John Daly's ProStroke Golf succeeds in effectively using the PlayStation Move controller to bring the precision and skill of golf to life. However, pretty much everything else about the game falls as flat as a well-trimmed green. The graphics are more akin to the PS2 era and the overall presentation lacks the polish of a next generation title. The biggest issue, though, is the general lack of content in the game that fails to justify a full sticker price. The online play is solid but lacks depth, while the Career mode is a misnomer as there is no progression and even the tournaments are too difficult to unlock. It may be worth picking up the game if its available at a knock-down price just to try out the Move controls, but otherwise there is no reason to stray from the Tiger Woods series.
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