We haven’t seen a ProStroke Golf game since World Tour 2007, and what better way to break into the current gen market than to feature Five-time PGA Tour winner John Daly.  Like other sports titles released by some of the bigger publishers, golf games have grown somewhat stagnant.  Other golf games have become a yearly release, and enthusiasts are starting to become tired of the same old thing.  That’s where this game seeks to reinvigorate simulation golfing, and it does a fine job at that.

In this game, precision is key and every variable that can affect a golf stroke in real-life, can and will affect the stroke in this game.  With every shot, you start off in a third person view with the option for an alternate camera angle with zoom, to get a feel for what is needed at any given time.  For the actual stroke, you’re put in a first-person perspective and must find the appropriate power, speed, and foot positioning to get the shot you really want.  That being said, if you only use the standard controller for these actions, like the Sixaxis or DualShock 3, you’re really selling yourself short.  I actually jumped into the game initially like this, and thought it was decent for what it offered.

If you want to get the full hands-on golfing experience, the Playstation Move controls in this game are outstanding.  I’ve played other golfing simulators with motion controls, and while they work, they don’t really give you the feeling that you’re doing anything beyond swinging the controller in a general motion and getting the same results regardless of what you do.  This game is quite the opposite.  Once I put down the DualShock 3 and turned on the Move controller, I was absolutely blown away at how well the motion controls work.  You jump into the first-person view, but instead of adjusting game variables, you adjust..well, yourself.  You turn sideways, take an appropriate golf stance and since you’re automatically in a practice swing mode, you swing the controller like you would a real golf club.  Depending on the angle in which you swing and how far back you pulled your ‘club’ for power, you see an arrow indicating what kind of stroke would have happened had that been a real swing.  If you’re comfortable with your swing, you simply hit the ‘Move’ button and you are no longer practicing, and whatever actions you take from here are actually what happens on the screen and the ball will take flight.

It seems like a few things made a difference in the accuracy of each stroke.  First and foremost, initially my swings just weren’t doing what I wanted them to.  I tried what I thought was everything.  I swung slow, and then tried swinging fast.  I tried swinging at a different angle, following through differently, and even taking smaller swings.  By chance, I took a big step back and tried one more time, and this time a big smile ran across my face as the ball flew 300 yards!  So, distance from the camera matters.  From there, it was a matter of fine tuning how far back to pull my ‘club’, in what direction and angle to swing, and being careful how the Move controller was twisting, as just like in real golf, the wrong angle or twist can give you undesired results.  Needless to say, I won’t be returning to using a DualShock controller anytime soon.

The core game will have you facing John Daly himself in a series of challenges that you must complete in order to participate in the tournaments that follow.  Seeing as there are no difficulty settings, taking on John Daly and being successful is no small feat.  Of course, the game is rather forgiving as if you fail a few times, the game will feel sorry for you and mark the challenge as complete anyways.  You won’t be able to earn any PSN trophies if you advance like this, but it’s nice to see the game open itself up to a wider audience.

The graphics and sounds in the game aren’t anything mind blowing, but are certainly forgivable for how well this game represents itself as a Move title.  I played with a pair of headphones on, and like the subtle leaf being ripped from a tree if your ball passes through or the occasional bug buzzing in your ear.  I grew a little tired of John Daly taunting me during some of the challenges, but it was humbling when you’re told how well you just hit a ball.  The announcers at times felt repetitive, as they seemed to only mention how far away from the hole you were.

The game does have multiplayer, so you can take on human controlled challengers on the green, but the greatest replay value will come in taking on John Daly in the challenges and competing in the tournaments.  For those on a PSN trophy hunt, merely defeating John Daly earns you trophies, but placing higher in the tournaments or within a set amount of strokes will grant you even more.  If you’re anything like me, you’ll spend a lot of time trying to get that perfect stroke and wanting to successfully take down Mr Daly and not advance because of pity, which I have yet to do.

Overall, I’m still kind of amazed at how well this game performed with the Move controls.  I didn’t expect to have this much fun, and will have to go reserve a tee time at my local golf course to see if the game has subtly improved my stroke, if even just my stance and swing direction.  If you jumped at the opportunity for motion controls on another platform and couldn’t help but feel disappointed, like I did, this game changes everything and has set the bar for motion controls and simulation for others like it.

Title : John Daly’s ProStroke Golf
Format : PS3 (Also Available on Xbox 360 & PC)
Developer : Gusto Games
Publisher : O-Games
Release Date : 10/05/10

[starreviewmulti id=1 tpl=20]

*O-Games provided SlimGamer.com with a review copy on the PS3 platform.