Review – John Daly’s ProStroke Golf
Developer: Gusto Games
Release Date: October 5th, 2010
Format: Retail (Move, Dualshock 3 compatible)
Price: $29.99 (as of November 10th)
Players: 1-4 (online and offline)
What I Liked:
Precision hitting with the Move controller
Challenges don’t need to be beaten in order for them to be completed
What I Disliked:
Challenges need to be completed to play the game
John Daly’s ProStroke Golf is a golf sim, which means it’s entering a genre that has been dominated by EA Sports’s Tiger Woods franchise for the past decade. John Daly’s ProStroke Golf has one thing going for it: precision Move support. Where Tiger Woods’s Move implementation is novel at best, John Daly’s is an accurate golf swinging simulation. The problem with John Daly’s ProStroke Golf, however, is the hassles you’ll have to tackle in order to get to the green.
The overall presentation in JDPSG is sub-par, to say the least. The graphics are passable, I guess. Every loading screen and menu, including the XMB splash screen, contains the same picture you’ll find on the cover of the game. Unless you particularly enjoy seeing John Daly’s face as he’s unleashing the lion, you’ll quickly become bored of his mug plastered all over your television. Practically every menu and literally every billboard on every course has an advertisement for the HBO show The Pacific. I don’t know if the ad will change in the future by releasing patches, but I do know that The Pacific is the winner of 8 Emmys. If you’re playing with the Move, good luck navigating any of the menus. It took me a bunch of misclicks to finally get into the tournament mode. The cursor on the screen is hyper sensitive and constantly shaking. This problem is compounded in-game, when the only menu options are displayed on a thin horizontal line at the bottom of the screen. Sure, it looks sort of slick, but it’s near-impossible to select anything if you’re using the Move controller. After I had finally made it to the tournament screen, I found that all of the tournaments were locked. In order to play in a tournament (what one would think the core gameplay consists of), you must first defeat John Daly in a series of challenges on that course. That’s a pretty ass-backwards approach, in my opinion.
There are four different challenges for each course. In the Driving Test challenge, you’ll have to drive your ball farther than John Daly in a series of holes. In Approach Ordeal, you have to hit closer to the pin using wedges and irons. In The Hole is the putting challenge. Finally, after beating John Daly at separate parts of his game on 18-27 holes, you are required to combine the skills you’ve honed and beat Daly in match play. After all of this, the course you played on for the last hour or so is unlocked and available for tournament play. Great.
Unless you want a good laugh after reading this review, I suggest you turn off the commentary in JDPSG. Every time you hit the ball, either John Daly or one of the two commentators will say something about it. The problem here is that the comments come mid-shot, while the ball is in mid-air. Therefore, you’ll know how awful your drive was before seeing it land in the water, or how far you are from the pin seconds after pitching it from the rough. When you’re playing through the one-on-one challenges, the comments are aggravating, to say the least. John Daly will all but berate your shots left and right. “That’s just not a very good shot at all.” “Pretty good, but I can do better.” “Good luck; you’ll need it.” The worst part about it is the limited number of phrases in Daly’s vocabulary, meaning you’re going to hear “driving is my specialty; maybe I can help you” a dozen times before you start talking smack back at the screen.
The gameplay is where this game redeems itself. While I couldn’t even come close to beating Daly in any of the challenges while using the Move, my uncle, who plays golf regularly, was often neck and neck with the lion. He was really impressed with how accurate the swinging motion was. It took him a while to get through the menus and into a match, but once he started swinging away, he had a ball with the game. Granted, after just a few swings against JD, he was cursing in response to the arrogant, repetitive comments. At one point, he lost one of the challenges against Daly by a slim margin. The message “You lost, but your efforts have been recognized. The challenge will be marked as complete anyways” popped up, and he was that much closer to unlocking the tournament. I think that’s a pretty cool feature.
John Daly’s ProStroke Golf offers an unequaled experience in the way of golf simulation. Its first-person ProStroke hitting mode is perfect for play with the Move controller. Unfortunately, there are a few things that land this game in the bunker. The presentation is lacking and, in some sense, outright shameless. On some holes, your character is surrounded by six billboards advertising The Pacific. The commentary is obnoxious, and the game is basically silent when it’s turned off. If you can make it through the challenges (a relatively easy task when using the Dualshock3), there are twelve tournaments to compete in. The game recently saw a price drop to $29.99, which is great. If you’re any good at golf, want to improve your game, or know somebody who would love to grip it and rip it against The Lion, I can recommend this game. If you’re looking for a more casual, video-game golf experience, however, you may want to check out the Tiger instead.
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