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Wii-Sports Resort Golf provides something special. A solid real world golfing environment that insists you use instinct rather than maths to make your shots. And the headline is that it works wonderfully.
Playing Golf in real life brings me combination pleasures - the outdoors, competition and company among them. But perhaps the top amongst them all is the slow but sure bettering of myself. For me, this is a sport I play as much against myself as I do with anyone else.
Playing the various video golf games though the ages, from PGA Tour on the Megadrive, Links and Microsoft Golf on the PC to Tiger Woods first on the PS2, then 360 then onto the Wii, I've never quite found an experience that was solid enough to match that man-against-course feel of the real thing.
The game simply feels like you are playing golf in a real and solid world in real time.
It was some surprise then that what I took to be a mini-game, Wii-Sports Resort Golf, finally delivered what those other games couldn't. A simple, intuitive game that feels real and solid to play. Wii-Sports Resort Golf is simply like you are playing golf in a real and solid world in real time. Whereas other games create a great Golfing simulation, they have the sense that you dial in the right numbers and then watch as the pre-set simulation plays out. Perhaps it's something that harks back to the Full Motion Video powered Links aesthetic, either way it never quite felt right.
When I play Wii-Sport Resort Golf the simple absence of numbers and data means I have to rely on the world the game creates, raw. And because this turns out to be both readable and reliable I find that I can invest the same instinct I'd normally reserve for the real thing.
Driving down the fairway, hitting a bump and pining into the rough. Adding just the slightest feints to my bunker shot to accommodate the green slope. Over-hitting an iron to clear the water. Sinking a put with little more than a visual slope for guidance. All these things become simple to plan, direct to achieve and create such an air of realism that I'm totally hooked.
What I hadn't expect though was that back in the real world, my game seems to have benefited from the horse-play on the Wii.
With only two full courses to compete on I realise that EA's obsession with broad coverage in Tiger Woods Wii is at the cost of what they could have achieved in terms of physical realism. This is mirrored with their lifelike graphics, which suck horsepower away from keeping the swing in real time towards keeping the course looking pretty.
I've not given up on Tiger Woods Wii and that full golf calendar, but having played Wii-Sports Resort Golf it is going to be difficult to go back to it even with it's similarly realistic swing and ability to apply spin.
But what I hadn't expected in all this was that it somehow translated back to the real world. My game seems to have benefited from all this horse-play on the Wii. Whether this a direct result from playing Golf with MotionPlus I'm not sure. But it certainly gives me more ways to practice, and my handicap is tangibly improving.
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