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John Daly's ProStroke Golf matches Tiger Woods' Move controls, although sadly they both badly lag behind the Wii's golfing experience.
John Daly's ProStroke Golf brings some common sense to real swing golfing. But even its good planning and attention to delivery can't hide the fact that this is a game created on a limited budget.
Ever since playing Tiger Woods 07 Wii on the Wii, I haven't touched a golf game that wasn't motion controlled. I know I've been missing lots of features and great visuals from the big console versions, but without the real swing magic I wasn't interested.
I've stayed up countless nights in the intervening years with a glass of Highland Park and Wii-mote for company - and had some exhilarating rounds of golf. After being let down by Tiger Woods PS3 Move I had high hopes for ProStroke.
At the centre of things is a solid real-world golf swing mechanic that, with a little practice, feels natural. It throws up the odd surprise here and there but that's what happens in real life too. It's here that the likes of EA's Tiger Woods should take note.
What has become quite complex in Tiger is simple and paired down in ProStroke. Rather than picking a style of shot before swinging - full, chip, flop and the like - the game simply interprets the strength and style of the swing into a real world shot type.
ProStroke offers a nice first person view when you are taking a shot - as we have in Tiger Woods 11 Wii this year. There is a nice touch where you can press a button to glance up from the ball to see where you are hitting. Again this view is simpler than the Tiger Woods equivalent and doesn't try and match the player's depth of swing, happy with just their left-right motion.
The swing view also provides a gauge that clearly shows the player how hard they are about to hit the ball. Of course the resulting power is a combination of this back swing and follow through, but it gives you a good starting point. It made me realise how odd it is that Tiger's motion swing on PS3 and Wii don't offer any sort of power feedback - particularly on the easier swing settings.
It's a swing that works with a much wider audience and penalises players less for controller inconsistencies.
It's a swing that may not have the level of control of Tiger Woods Wii, but it is one that works with a much wider audience and penalises players less for controller inconsistencies. There are a few gotcha's you have to be aware of - like the slight over sensitivity that will trigger a shot before you are ready - but generally it is solid.
Around this swing things are sadly sparse though. Courses are barely populated with foliage, trees or people. The golfers themselves are somewhat dated and odd looking at times. There is a general not quite finished air to the whole thing. These are just appearances though, and as those of us who have lived with low-fi Wii visuals in favour of its enhanced controls know, there are many more important things in a video game.
Unfortunately though, the navigation and general user interface isn't a lot better. It just about works, but without the finesse that makes Tiger on the Wii such a joy. A lot of the issues here are shared with the Tiger Woods Move Edition and result from potential shortcomings in the Move controller as much as anything.
The main issue I have is the lack of a D-pad. This has lent both PS3 golf games to use the Motion controller pointing to pick menu items, aim shots and generally work with the game. What results is a fiddly experience that shatters any connection that comes from the real world golf swing.
Pointing at the screen to aim a shot was literally nauseating for me as I swung the camera left and right trying to find the right angle. This sort of aiming needs to be precise and perfectly suits direction buttons - only, as I was saying, the Move controller doesn't have any.
This means that John Daly's ProStroke Golf, like Tiger Woods Move, limits the player's functions when playing without a traditional controller. On Tiger is was after touch and applying focus shots, here it is adjusting weight transfer and reset the shot setup - which when you've struggled with the aiming is kind of important.
It's still as magical to hit a ball with just motion, but these games have missed the massive improvements made in the Wii version of Tiger in recent years.
I found that picking up a standard controller actually improved things for me. Although I had to give up that lovely golf swing, what I gained in direct control elsewhere meant this was a compromise I was prepared to make.
Having had high hopes for both Tiger Woods' and John Daly's PS3 Move games, it has been disappointing to find us back in 2007 when we first clasped a Wii-mote to play golf. It's still as magical to hit a ball with just motion, but these games have missed the massive improvements made in the Wii version of Tiger in recent years.
ProStroke has some great ideas, and could teach Tiger Woods a thing or two. But in terms of delivering a competitive golfing experience, while I can forgive the sparse visuals and atmosphere, I simply can't understand why this hasn't done a better job creating a Move controlled experience. I'll have to wait until next year for a definitive PS3 Move golf game - and in the meantime I stick to my Whiskey and Wii-mote that have done me proud so far.
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