The Best thing to Happen to Golf Since Happy Gilmore, The Golf Club 2 Review
I want to begin with the disclaimer, I am horrible at golf. I cannot drive the ball, I do not really know the terms, and I pretty much only know the sport when there’s a windmill involved. That being said, I love The Golf Club 2. Not since Happy Gilmore have I enjoyed golf so much. Given how little and how lax I am about golf, I did not think I would enjoy The Golf Club 2 as much as I do and I believe many others will feel the same.
The Golf Club 2 is the largest and most dynamic golf game ever created. Players can assemble and join online societies with other players, compete in tournaments, and earn money to climb the ranks in golf’s largest gaming community. This is the driving aspect of the game. While there is a career mode, there is no set story. The career mode is pretty much like most sports games, you kind of infer your own history of climbing the ranks and becoming the best. But like most sports games, being better than other actual players is the real purpose of the game. The society features let you compare your crew against others, and even among yourselves.
What makes The Golf Club 2 so engaging is the gameplay. It’s simple to learn and difficult to master. To drive the ball, or put it, you use the right thumbstick. You pull the stick back to begin your drive and then flick it forward to finish it off. Essentially you trace your swing with the right thumbstick. It sounds simple, but timing and angle are crucial to the power and direction of your drive and putt. Personally, I’m fairly decent at driving. I am horrible at putting. The same timing and control used for driving is completely different than putting. Which is why I either grossly over shoot or just barely tap the ball. It’s upsetting in a good way. Add the controls to the wide selection of clubs and putters, and you basically have an endless combination of ways to approach the green.
On top of the player approach, there is also the environment to consider. Most environmental hazards are visible, and affect the game as you would expect. For wind, the direction and speed, or velocity, is displayed at the top of the screen via an arrow. Where I am really impressed with the environmental effect is on the putting green. The green is covered in a grid that has traveling white dots along the lines. The directions the dots travel display the angle of the slope, while the speed they move displays the intensity of it. It’s very subtle, but extremely effective. It’s perfect visual representation that substitutes the actual physical sense of determining the nuanced angles of a green. The visual representation and gameplay combine to make intuitive and fluid gameplay. It is uncanny how enjoyable and satisfying it is to play, and even very gratifying just to sit and watch.
Another big aspect of the game is customization. The game can be customized from the courses to the golfer. Course creation allows players to let their imagination run wild and create gorgeously designed courses on grand scales. Players are given a wide selection of elements to design courses, allowing them to select the back drop of their course, as well as the wild life that inhabits it. It was worth noting that you are unable to really interact with the wild life. The designers told me at E3. I may or may not have asked if I could hunt the wild life using golf balls… Players have made some truly amazing courses using the course creator in The Golf Club and have been given even more elements to play with in the sequel. The most interesting courses I found were the miniature golf courses. It was not the intent of the game’s creators to create miniature golf courses, but they were just as thrilled and impressed to find them as well.
Character customization isn’t quite as impressive in scale. You are able to choose y our look and outfits, but I really wished you could choose your emotes. Your character emotes when they make and miss shots; I feel being able to customize their reactions would add a nice layer to the game. I just want to see my character throw off his hat when he sinks a putt. But despite that, the customization does take a lot into account. The best example of the customization depth, is your character’s outfits during tournaments. Your character will change their outfit every day of a tournament. It’s a really minute detail, but one that shows how deep the developers really go into the game.
The gameplay and deep customization are all rendered beautifully. The environments of the game are gorgeous. The way the background fades in and out of the shot is spectacular. The Golf Club 2 boasts some tremendous graphics, and you are given numerous ways to view it. When driving, you are able to change the camera angle you view the ball using the d-pad. This allows you to appreciate the environment as well as your driving prowess. The character rendering, however, doesn’t quite live up to the rendering of the courses and the clubs. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it doesn’t have the same flare that the environments do.
The Golf Club 2 is a really fun game. It has simple controls that allow for endless combinations of play that is simultaneously soothing and exhilarating. In concept, it appears to be just a golf game, but in execution, it is a masterpiece that perfectly translates the sport into an approachable and enjoyable videogame that appeals to hardcore and casual gamers. If you like golf, or just looking for a fun game to get into, The Golf Club 2 is a hole in one. (I was going to say sub-par because that’s good in golf but bad in general. I also wanted to say sinks it, which is again good in golf but bad in general. Then I was gonna go with drives it home, but again golf sayings I feel only works in golf and kind of means the opposite in every other context.) My The Golf Club 2 Review gets a 9.5/10.