Swingerz Golf - GC - Review

The ball lies 45 yards from the green, which is only slightly elevated from the where the dimpled sphere lays. Yoshiki Kitamura has been in this situation before. The caddie usually recommends a sand wedge. It seems that within 50 yards the caddie always recommends a sand wedge.

But because Yoshiki can only knock the ball 140 yards with a driver, a sand wedge seems like it is too little club. Perhaps a 7-iron will do the trick. Yoshiki sets the line for the shot, then takes it back nice and easy before powering through the ball.

The power meter reads 99 percent, the contact is rated as excellent, but the ball only goes about 20 yards.

Club selection and usage are only one of the problems that plague Swingerz Golf, a GameCube release from Fresh Games and Eidos Interactive. The game purports to take an array of normal characters and let them tee it up in competition against one another on championship courses.

The course architecture is indeed quite nice, though a pair of holes on the front and back nine of an 18-hole layout seem repetitive ­ particularly in terms of dogleg left, hill at the corner with obstruction to the left and an elevated green guarded by bunkers.

Ball dynamics are also remarkable and the camera angles offer a wonderful look at the game ­ even the ball flying straight at you and "shattering" the monitor. The animation is also very nice.

However, the game needs a mulligan in terms of how it handles club selection. You are forewarned that caddy recommendations are not always accurate. Apparently club reality is'nt a factor in the game either. Take that par 5 that usually takes four shots to get near the green, never mind on it. If Yoshiki (and only two other characters of the 14 available are unlocked at the game’s beginning) can only manage 140-150 yards off the tee with a driver, the driver (any golfer knows it is not a fairway wood) is the only thing recommended next. On consecutive hits, the power meter registered 99 percent and the contact (determined by the control) is rated ‘excellent’. On the drive the ball hops along that fairway for 140-150 yards. Yet the next shot, off the fairway with the driver, goes 180 yards.

A golfing trick, in real life, for a ball laying just off the green’s fringe a long way from the hole is to use a punched 5-iron. Don’t try that here. The ball won’t run across the green very well. You get more from a sand wedge popped up toward the pin with almost a 100-percent power stroke. Therein lies the game’s biggest fault.

Yes, the clubs, and ball, do level up, which increases distance.

Among its other features, the game offers nine loudmouthed caddies, and seven nicely rendered courses.

The controls are a little different than most golf games. Swingerz jumps away from the two- or three-click method to use the yellow control stick to swing the club. Moving the stick backward starts the power meter. When you get as close as you can to the desired power, nudge the stick forward to set the contact point. After that you can survey the results.

Swingerz had a nice premise ­ take a bunch of ‘ordinary’ people (the array of characters is very nice) and put them out on a golf course. However the game lacks any kind of consistency when it comes to club length, which seems to override swing and contact elements. It does present a good challenge for fans of the genre, but when stacked up against its competition, this game only offers a par round in a world of under-par games.

This game is rated for Everyone.

 

Gameplay: 7
The formula for club length lacks consistency, and steps away from reality. Each hole is preceded by an overview, which you can skip past. You can play a round very quickly though, which is nice.

Graphics: 8.8
The game features three-dimensional animation that looks very nice. The environments are also incredible. Some holes though are very similar, and a sense of déjà vu sets in when you encounter a hole on the back nine that you thought you already played.

Sound: 6.8
The crowd noises are repetitious and can become annoying. The effects are exactly what are expected from a golf game.

Difficulty: Medium
Hitting the ball is not a problem. Figuring out what clubs will actually work is the challenge.

Concept: 7
Though the game tries a different tack in the golfing genre, it doesn’t succeed all that well. The player interface is easy to use, and the control elements are player friendly.

Multiplayer: 7
The usual assortment of games is available for up to four players to compete head-to-head. There are also a couple of mini-games that offer a nice challenge. The taunting options is a nice touch.

Overall: 6.9
While the game is very nice graphically, it hooks off the tee in the realm of golf games. True, these characters are not supposed to be PGA Tour professionals, but weekend duffers have more inherent skill then the characters here. When you can only drive the ball 130-140 yards off the tee on a par 5, after apparently striking the ball well, frustration sets in.

Above Average

Gw
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