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John Daly's ProStroke Golf review

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Posted by: Robert Workman

Review Rating 4.5 Below Average

John Daly’s ProStroke Golf is O-Games’ latest attempt at revitalizing the long-running golf series for a new video game generation. While it has good intentions, it does nothing to stand out.

The development team at Gusto Games has implemented PlayStation Move support into the game, along with enlisting the support of golfing legend (and fashion guru) John Daly to help endorse the game. However, while these expansions are welcome, the rest of the game simply doesn’t compare.

Daly’s presence is hard to miss in ProStroke. He’s easy to spot on each of the 12 courses, Technicolor pants and all, as he guides players on how to play like a pro. While he definitely looks the part, however, he sounds less than enthusiastic. It's as if he’s reading off cue cards rather than standing by the player on the green and giving natural advice.

What’s more, O-Games relies on him a little too much. In order to unlock content in the game, players must face him repeatedly. We understand that Daly needs to be in the game, but did he really need to be attached to every challenge? And at such a high skill level, no less; fortunately, players can adjust difficulty settings, should he be too much of a lion.

Oh, well, the over-presence of a golfing legend can be forgiven if the gameplay is up to par, right? Unfortunately, this is where ProStroke Golf will probably divide the golfing community. First, there’s the good – the game works suitably with the PlayStation Move. After a few seconds of calibration and practicing their golf swing, players should be hitting the links like a pro. It’s a little finicky (don’t be surprised of slicing and/or hooking the first few tries), but once the foreign feeling wears off, it resembles real golf.

Then there’s the bad, which is pretty much any other option outside of Move. The game is playable with a regular DualShock 3 controller, but it's nowhere near close to being accurate. Players can either change to a side-view swing (going from side to side) or the traditional behind-the-golfer perspective (pressing back and pushing forward), but no matter which option they take, frustration should set in. The swing is never read accurately with this control scheme, resulting in shots that come up short or, worse yet, slice – even if all the actions are performed correctly. It’s as if the game filters some different feedback system going with regular controls, and it’s never really focused on.

The rest of the game fails to keep up either. While the graphics aren’t horrible by any means, they do come up short compared to any recent EA Sports-produced Tiger Woods effort. There are too many instances when the visuals look unfinished, leaving both the golfers and the courses looking unimpressive. That’s a shame, because the 12 courses featured here aren’t bad. As for the running commentary, provided by Peter Kessler and Sam Torrance, it’s okay, but too often it drops off in timing. The other sound effects are serviceable, with occasional crowd noises and other golf sound, such as clubs striking into balls.

Even if Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 hadn’t spoiled us like it did, we would still feel some discontent with John Daly’s ProStroke Golf. While the development team’s intentions were good, the actual gameplay and presentation just don’t do enough, outside of PlayStation Move support. Stick with EA Sports’ golfing pro – even if he doesn’t have ridiculously colored pants. Sometimes it’s simply the performance that matters.

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