Review: We Love Golf

Chris LaVigne | 4 Sep 2008 16:51
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In its title, We Love Golf suggests an abundance of emotion is contained on its disc. We don't just tolerate golf. We more than like it, even. We [/b]love[/b] it. We have the same feelings for golf as we do for our families and friends, says the title.

Well, the actual game says otherwise. Decent gameplay is marred by lackluster presentation and hindered by a deficiency of flair or personality. We Love Golf is missing the imaginative and artistic passion that could have made it the must-have golf title for the Wii. It's also way too easy.

Step one for enjoying We Love Golf is lowering your expectations. Step two is turning off the background music. Immediately. Unless you answer yes to the questions "Is elevator music awesome?" and "Is it better when it's loud and you're trying to concentrate on golfing?" you won't like the music. Trust me. Unfortunately, the game doesn't consider the music that plays during hole previews and character animations as belonging to the "background" category so you'll still have to put up with occasional blasts of bad muzak.

You'll also have to put up with some terrible graphics. Trees, bushes and flowers look like props from an elementary school play. Background sky textures are so pixilated a Super Nintendo would be embarrassed to be seen in public with them. Every time the camera zooms in to show where your ball lies, the grass texture's resolution is so low a Nintendo 64 will actually walk in to your room to make fun of it.

The game's courses are mostly not interesting. The first few are largely indistinguishable and playing them is straightforward. Later in the game, designs become more fantastical. Courses based on Egyptian deserts and Arthurian castles boast multi-path holes with shortcuts and challengingly sloped fairways. Tornadoes, pirate ships and desert rock formations add to the scenery. Nothing is ever spectacular, though, just perfectly balanced on the fulcrum between crappy and good.

Submerged in the aesthetic swamp of We Love Golf, though, is a decent way to whack some virtual balls. The motion-controlled swinging feels good. Games don't drag - you can breeze through 18 holes of solo play in about 30 to 40 minutes - and the game simulates golf's intricacies with different lies, wind speeds and grips affecting how your balls fly. None of these features are original in a golfing videogame, but at least they're here. We Love Golf includes some mini-games as well, like hitting your ball through targets or landing a shot as close to the pin as possible. They're fun, but at about a four out of ten level (where twiddling your thumbs is a one and having a magical wallet that never runs out of money is a ten).

Controls are basically a Wii version of the "time your button presses to a moving power gauge" scheme used in other games by developer Camelot Software Planning, who also made the original Hot Shots Golf for the PlayStation and the Mario Golf series for various Nintendo systems. In We Love Golf, you stop your backswing when your gauge powers up and then swing at the right moment to hit a straight shot. Twisting your Wii Remote affects the draw and fade of your swing. How hard you swing has no effect, unlike golfing in Wii Sports, except during power shots, which send the ball further but require better timing. It's all competently designed, but lacks anything to make the word "Wow!" come out of your mouth.

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