Great swing mechanicOne of the strangest things about playing a golf game with a motion-sensing controller is that you don’t have to think about a multitude of different things, such as putting spin on the ball during flight, adjusting angles, or keeping an eye on a power meter like you would do in Tiger Woods. Instead, it’s all determined by your swing when using Move instead of a standard controller. Slightly veer to the left or the right when swinging and your shot will go in that direction. As a result, it takes great skill and some time to get used to being able to execute some of the more skilful shots such as chipping onto the green from nearby. Though the accuracy of Move adds to the challenge, and means that you have to concentrate a lot harder than other non-motion-sensing golf games, its sensitivity can also be a right pain.
Navigating the menu is a chore, specifically when you're trying to make the cursor stop exactly where you want it to, but on the green it’s even more frustrating. Lining up a putt, when you often need such accuracy, is tough when you have to use Move to adjust the angle on screen - as is learning to swing using exactly the right power to sink a putt. Despite being able to select different levels of difficulty, it’s a tough and frustrating game to master even on the lowest settings and this cursor sensitivity is an unwelcome annoyance, especially when it's taken great effort to get to the green in the first place.
When you look at golf games, Tiger Woods is always going to be a comparison, and even with the decent Move feature, John Daly’s ProStroke Golf just doesn’t measure up in terms of presentation, audio or feature-set. The Challenge Mode, which offers 12 courses, offers little in terms of excitement, or motivation to keep playing the tournaments. You take up challenges before you unlock courses, but there’s not the level of interaction and tinkering with the set-up or enough incentives to spur you on like established golf games.
In addition to Challenge Mode, there's a half decent set of game modes including Strokeplay, Matchplay, Foursome, and Four Ball, plus a quick match mode, but still it feels a little lightweight compared to similar games. The online mode is the highlight of the other game modes and it holds up very well with four players online, but still there's the lack of options and modes that we so often take for granted in other sport's titles.
Overall, John Daly’s ProStroke Golf just lacks the production values of other top tier sport's games. Character models are appallingly bad, like they've been plucked out of a PS2 game, and many of the locations aren't rendered in the same quality as even the better games on PS2. Audio is also ropey and fails to capture the atmosphere of a big tournament, with commentary from Sam Torrance and Peter Kessle failing miserably to ignite any passion, and even occasionally playing out of synch.
There are good things to take from John Daly’s ProStroke Golf going forward. Good use of the coloured Move sphere, for example, where it moves between red for practice and green when you’re teeing up to take the actual shot, comes in handy, and the simple “grip it and rip it” swing mechanic works very well. On the other hand, this game of golf is all too simplified -swing the controller and you're done - and as a result it isn't really a compelling experience. The over-sensitivity of Move on the green was definitely a major issue for us and it may well have you reaching for the "off" button. As for the presentation…well, that’s quite shocking. Nevertheless, this is the closest that any game has come to providing an accurate golf game and for that it deserves some merit.
Rent before you buy.