Gusto Games and O-Games have teamed up to bring PlayStation Move owners a new golf sim in John Daly's ProStroke Golf. Featuring "The Lion" John Daly and plenty of licensed gear and courses, ProStroke Golf is a decent start to what could eventually be a solid competitor to EA's market-holding Tiger Woods series.
While this game can be played with the SIXAXIS or DualShock3, it was built for the Playstation Move. ProStroke Golf doesn't even release on the 360 for a few more weeks, so it's pretty obvious that Gusto Games was pushing for a quick release on the PS3 to pick up new owners of the PlayStation Move, myself included.
As far as the actual controls go, ProStroke Golf does pretty well for itself. Calibration is very simple, and boils down to just pressing the Move button at an imaginary golf ball on the ground. You only have to do this once per every load sequence, in other words, like once per set of holes. Besides forcing you to stand up and play the game like a real golfer, the Move controller also allows more granular control of your shots because it will look for twists in your wrists. These slight adjustments in technique allow for more complex and accurate (or inaccurate) shots which should please sim fans. The game also includes Swing Skill Levels including Amateur, Pro, Tour Pro. These different swing levels determine how much assistance the game is going to give you, from lots with Amateur to none with Tour Pro.
ProStroke makes further use of the Move controller by changing the color of the sphere. The sphere color changes based on what's going on in the game; in between shots, the sphere is amber, when in practice swing mode it's red, and when you're swinging for real it is green. These subtle changes are welcomed although not very useful if you're playing the game alone against the CPU. In addition to the sphere changes, ProStroke will also vibrate the controller which, especially when playing alone, seems to happen too often. If you're paying attention to the game at all, you really don't need the constant vibrating reminder that it's your turn to play.
I would also point out that I had some minor difficulty in navigating the game menus with the Move controller. The Move icon that appears and acts as a cursor can be pretty jumpy. When you press the Move button to make your selection, it's pretty easy to select the adjacent menu option rather than the one that you meant to pick. Calibration and sensitivity adjustment can help this, but just bear that in mind. Also, in watching the Tutorials, I found it interesting that the game demos a technique that simply isn't available when using the Move controller. The video talks about Weight Transfer, something that will give your swing more than 100% power (but less accuracy) which is a good technique for that first shot. Using that extra power in your body by shifting your weight is something John Daly has made somewhat famous, but with the Move controller, you can't do that.
Modes And Presentation
So control-wise, ProStroke overall is pretty good. As far as gameplay, there are several modes of play including local and online multiplayer with up to four players. Other modes include Practice, Quick Game, Career (which is made up of Tournament and Challenges). Different Match Types exist too including Strokeplay, Matchplay, Foursome, and Four Ball. Strokeplay is what most people are probably familiar with -- the winner is the golfer with the lowest swing count over eighteen holes. Matchplay is similar, but each hole has a winner. Foursome requires two teams, each with two players. In this mode, one player hits the ball, then the other player on that team takes the next shot, and so forth. Finally, Four Ball is similar but each player takes their own shots and whichever score on a team is the lowest is the one that is taken for the team score.
ProStroke features twelve playable courses, six of which are available from the get go. To unlock the others, and to play the Tournament mode, you have to face John Daly in a series of challenges. These challenges require you to drive the ball farther than him, make an approach better than him, and so forth -- these are actually pretty tough and probably not something you necessarily want to dive right into. Leaderboards exist for both Challenges and Tournaments, too.
I played some online matches as well and besides finding myself thoroughly out-skilled, I also noted that the game moved along smoothly and without any problems. Different settings can be used as far as the course and time of year and so on to setup the match, and then from there it's up to you to hit the best balls.
One area where the game does suffer very noticeably however is in the presentation. Visually, this is rough looking game that you might be fooled into thinking was from the last gen. The animations, what few there are, overall, are okay, but the textures are surprisingly bland. The colors are drab (even Daly's crazy pants) too, and the entire game just has a poor look about it. I hit a few balls in the water and the splash looked like shards of glass, not smooth droplets of water, for example. Just about every texture from the menus to the green is aliased, too. Don't even get me started on the in-game ads, either. It was so weird to be lining up for like my second shot of the game and suddenly this Predators ad pops up on screen in the lower corner, reminding me that the Blu-ray and DVD are available on October 19th. The same ad appears in online play, in the menus, and is all over the golf course. It's silly, and sad.
The audio package is does okay for itself. I actually liked the mellow menu music and the effects are fine. The commentators don't say a lot, which is good, but you will find them repeating themselves which is a letdown. John Daly offers you some tips and some light smack talk in the Challenges as well, although he doesn't sound very fired up at all.
Finally, I would point out that the manual is actually nicely done with lots of detail about not only the controls, but also how to size up a shot, what the modes are about, and all that. So kudos to the manual team for being as detailed as they were.
With that, let's get to the summary...