Pro Stroke Golf
I feel bad for the employees who have to work on games like Pro Stroke Golf. Itís not that Pro Stroke Golf is a bad game, but they must know while theyíre working on it that their hard work probably isnít going to sell. The Tiger Woods franchise dominates the market completely, and if a golf gamer on a tight budget has to choose between the two, theyíre undoubtedly going to choose the one with Tigerís mug on the cover. There might be some good reasons for doing so, maybe EAís offering is a bit better and more complete. But if you have some extra cash around and youíre looking for a golf simulation outside of EAís evil empire, let me introduce you to Pro Stroke Golf.
Before I really begin dissecting this game, let me first make sure you realize something: as much as I like to pretend I know absolutely everything, I know almost nothing about golf. I watch highlights on ESPN when Iím waiting to see baseball highlights and I nod along excitedly when people tell me that Tiger Woods won another match, but besides that, Iím a novice. This is one of the reasons why I liked Pro Stroke Golf. It didnít bombard me with a lot of options, making me feel like I need to know a million things about golf. It didnít even confuse me with a lot of terminology. It started out with a simple tutorial that introduced me to the basics of the game. To hit the ball, you move the analog sticks to the right, and then flick them back to the left, and the ball goes from there. If you donít hit them back evenly, the ball might go off to the right or left. Itís as simple as that. You can also change your stance around a little bit, putting more weight on your front or back leg, and thatíll cause the ball to hook around trees and other obstacles, which can get you out of some tough spots if the ball goes sailing into the woods.
Moving the ball around each hole is a simple and actually entertaining affair. Golf can be a boring sport to watch, and Iíll concede that I was bored quite a bit, but never when I was actually driving down the fairways. The only time I was ever bored was when I had to sit through the shots of my opponents, watching what they do and where they put the ball. I understand that itís part of the game, but the sparse commentary and relatively weak graphics donít make for an interesting show.
Once you get the ball by the hole, youíll have to start putting, which is not as fluid as I think it could be. It was awfully hard for me to figure out exactly how to hit the ball into the whole, even though the mechanics are essentially the same as driving the ball. It was quite hard for me to get a real grasp on the slope of the green and how to adjust to it. This might have been because the graphics engine in the game makes it look like a late-generation PSOne game. Save for the character models, thereís just not much going on here. Leaves look like giant pixels and foliage is never affected by the wind because the game doesnít seem to have any. I had always thought that wind had a major impact on the way golf was played, but in several tournaments in Pro Stroke Golf, I never felt itís effects, and judging by the fact that thereís no on-screen wind gauge, I figure that there just arenít wind effects.
Thereís really not much more to say about Pro Stroke Golf. Itís a basic golf simulation thatís fundamentally sound. Ultimately, I think your purchasing decision should come down to if you like golf or not. Iím not an avid golfer, so I didnít get much out of it, but if you really like golf, you might enjoy the very robust course creator. Me, I wasnít all that particularly impressed. There arenít any professional golfers to emulate, so I couldnít pick a professional that I knew. Still, at times, it can be really exciting getting a birdie or an eagle on a late hole in the match, sealing the deal for a win. If you like golf, I think you should buy this, but keep in mind, it might not have all the features youíre looking for.
Six out of ten