hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

golf

PGA Tour photo
PGA Tour

I didn't know a golf trailer could be so annoying


Making me LMFAO TBH
Jul 06
// Brett Makedonski
Even with its new Battlefield infusion and nighttime mini-games, golf is mostly a low-key and quiet affair. Everyone stays really quiet and still; when something good happens, we'll all golf clap -- a really quiet and s...

Battlefield found a way to infiltrate EA Sports' PGA Tour

Jun 15 // Brett Makedonski
Speaking with a PGA Tour representative, the publisher has plans to tie more EA franchises into the game. Coyly, the spokesperson said that the Battlefield course will be the only one that's available at launch. It's a fair bet that more courses themed after EA series will make their way into PGA Tour via paid DLC. For the time being, Battlefield is the only addition players will initially see. It might not be what we expected, but maybe EA needed to add a bit of irreverence to liven up its leading golf title. And, when you want to get back traditional golf, PGA Tour certainly has that in spades -- it's just sans explosions.  
PGA Tour photo
Well, that was unexpected
Golf has a reputation for being a stuffy game played by uptight, proper folks. After spending some time with Rory McIlroy's PGA Tour, we can safely say that the majority of it lives up to those expectations. However, there's ...

Review: Vertiginous Golf

May 06 // Brett Makedonski
Vertiginous Golf (PC)Developers: Kinelco, Lone Elk CreativePublisher: Surprise Attack GamesReleased: May 6, 2015Price: $14.99  It'd be short-sighted to say that the developers' intent for Vertiginous Golf isn't worthy of a modest golf clap. There's no question that it would have been perfectly appropriate for them to design some wacky obstacles, slap on some ground-based golf physics, and call it a day. Instead, they opted to invent sprawling, labyrinth-like holes, and take an earnest stab at crafting a story about oppressive industrial-era society. Heady stuff, to be sure. Unfortunately, neither works as well as one may hope. When Vertiginous Golf first transplants the player from dingy street-side shop to above-the-clouds links, it's a sight to behold. It's almost as if BioShock Infinite had a mini-game smack dab in the middle of it (the classist undertones parallel holds up, too). The holes look complex, almost with a Rube Goldberg-ian quality about them -- except different parts aren't dependent upon one another in any way; they just present several unique challenges all within one hole. In the early going -- when the game is teaching the player the ropes -- this works fantastically. Lengthy as the holes may be, they're never too excessive in scope. It's always apparent where the cup is, and what potential routes there are to get there. That doesn't last long. [embed]291071:58441:0[/embed] Once Vertiginous Golf  has the player comfortable with the mechanics, it quickly broadens everything so that nothing is digestible. From the tee box, the player is met with a mess of obstacles, all of it just as dense vertically as it is horizontally. Walls often obscure any long-range view, so it's nigh impossible to go into the hole with a game plan. Just hit the ball with some degree of power and pray for the best. The developers obviously foresaw this as a potential problem and added a feature to help mitigate it. Always accompanying the floating golf club is a metallic hummingbird which can be controlled to fly around the course and get the lay of the land. However, it's mostly rendered useless as so much movement can happen on any given shot that it's often still impossible to predict where the ball may go. That isn't the only concession that Vertiginous Golf's creators made. There's also a rewind function (effectively a mulligan) which can be used sparingly in the likely event of an ill-advised shot. Drawing from the same pool of resources is the ability to guide the ball ever-so-slightly in any given direction. If that weren't enough to frustrate mini-golf purists, there's also a pitching wedge that's available almost all the time. Often times, the best way to traverse Vertiginous Golf's unforgiving terrain is to simply bypass it all through the air. Aim for a spot, hope you picked an apt shot power, and don't worry about all the randomness that comes with the ground obstacles. While effective, implementing this strategy feels a bit like missing the point. However, the wedge can't be used to completely game Vertiginous Golf. The latter part of most holes are in a sort of walled-off container where using the club is banned. Not coincidentally, this is also where the game is at its very worst. Whenever near the walls of these areas (a frequent occurrence), the camera will line up outside the structure, forcing a putt toward the hole with an obscured view. It's barely manageable if there's a straight shot; in the event that there are moving obstacles or a raised cup, resign yourself to taking even more strokes. As the golf portion of Vertiginous Golf is lacking in execution, the story similarly comes up short. In fact, it's actually detrimental to the golfing experience. There's a narrative about a raging class war in a dystopian society, and -- well, it's all very difficult to follow. That's because the plot is only told through audio logs, which are mandatory checkpoints on the golf course. Once these are hit, the talking begins. This falters because each audio log consists of approximately 30 seconds of overwhelming dialogue. To fully take it in means to put down the controller and listen. Given that there are usually four on any given hole, that's a lot of listening and not a lot of playing. This is at direct odds with the action-oriented golf. The narrative and gameplay are so dissonant from one another that it's nearly impossible to enjoy both at the same time. Really, it's the developers' ambition that weighs down Vertiginous Golf. They took a simple, beloved concept and tried doing too much with it. As a result, the course design is rarely rewarding and the elaborate story is poorly presented. No matter how far above the clouds this game is, it landed in the rough.
Vertiginous Golf review photo
'Golf,' and other four-letter words
Golf has a centuries-old reputation as being a maddening game. It's simple in premise, but that simplicity is always lost in transition from theory to execution. "Put tiny white ball in tiny cup" sounds easy enough, but after...

Gawlful photo
Gawlful

EA's PGA Tour gameplay trailer is just as boring as watching real golf


Look at that grass, though!
Apr 24
// Brett Makedonski
Golfing is fantastic. Reckless cart driving, endless jokes about "ball washers," and your friend puking in the rough on the 14th hole because he's somehow on, like, his 14th beer. Swat a tiny sphere a few hundred feet every ...

Dystopian steampunk mini-golf is now a thing in Vertiginous Golf

Apr 15 // Alessandro Fillari
[embed]289971:58047:0[/embed] Vertiginous Golf (Linux, Mac, PC [previewed])Developer: Lone Wolf Collective, KinelcoPublisher: Surprise AttackRelease: May 6, 2015MSRP: $14.99 Set in a world resembling Victorian-era London, Vertiginous Golf centers around the citizens of the city who look for escapism from the oppressive and gloomy nature of urban living. When the upper class and more fortunate citizens leave the city for comfortable living on floating islands in the sky, the lower class citizens have to settle for access to the "Vertiginousphere," essentially steampunk virtual reality, to give them a vicarious taste of what life is like above the smog and clouds. And what better way to experience it than with a game of mini-golf? As you clear courses and unlock new challenges, you'll find audio diaries explaining the nature of the world, and its denizens. There seems to be a lot more going on with the Vertiginousphere and the lands above the clouds, than you may realize. When you enter the Vertiginousphere, you gain access to a mini-golf course designed by some of the most ingenious, sadistic golfers ever. Partnered with a flying mechanical bird, you're able to get a thorough view of the course and its dangers in order to make to the hole. While some are pretty simple, with only a few dips and bumps to worry about -- there are others that feature major hazards, like air-tanks that push your golf-ball away from the hole, or moving platforms that shift at a moment's notice. During my first few games, things got pretty hairy after only three holes. On one course, I had to take advantage of half-pipes and loops in order to make it to the end of the course. They're incredibly devious, and it'll be interesting to see how players make it through the stages efficiently. It's quite clear that many liberties are taken with the game of mini-golf in the Vertiginousphere. For instance, you're given an after-touch ability to move and shift the direction of your ball, only slightly, to give it a better position and angle. Moreover, given the fact that this isn't a real game of mini-golf, you're able to rewind your moves back a few seconds, in case you make a serious error. Though the game has been in Early Access for over a year now, there have been steady updates to the game since then, which is still prepping for its release. The most recent update that came out was the inclusion of online multiplayer. Up to eight players can compete against each other in real time (no turns) on a courses. You can even use weapons and gadgets to slow down or debilitate your competition. With its release coming up, the developers took a lot of feedback from fans during its time on Early Access. This includes special courses that only allows the use of your clubs and no special abilities such as the after-touch and rewind. Moreover, the final release will feature the full story mode and level editor, which players will no doubt spend many hours in. I think it's safe to say that Vertiginous Golf is one of the most unique mini-golf titles I've ever played, and its steampunk setting is the real capper to such an off-the-wall and rich concept. I'm quite fond of its approach to narrative within a mini-golf game. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what this title has to reveal, as there's a surprisingly high level of mystery present.  Even though I only got a small taste of the story, what I experienced left me wanting to explore of what the Vertiginousphere had to offer. 
Vertiginous Golf photo
Brass clubs and copper pins
What happens when you get the developers of those old Nabisco mini-golf Flash games and have them make a new type of mini-golf title? Well evidently, you get something completely off-the-wall and bizarre, which feels more lik...

Rory McIlroy PGA Tour photo
Rory McIlroy PGA Tour

Rory McIlroy replaces Tiger Woods on EA's PGA Tour


Rory McIlroy PGA Tour
Mar 17
// Steven Hansen
Tiger Woods' name has gone from being synonymous with golf to being a different kind of pop culture reference. I'm not even sure if he golfs anymore. I just know he shows up to places missing teeth. Of course, EA's PGA Tour ...
Golf photo
Golf

Join The Golf Club on Xbox One, PC, and PS4 this month


The name that keeps on giving
Aug 12
// Jordan Devore
After a few months on Steam Early Access, HB Studios' The Golf Club is nearly ready for its final release on PC and consoles. The golf simulation title's launch on Steam and Xbox One is set for August 19, with a PlayStation 4...
EA Sports PGA  Tour photo
EA Sports PGA Tour

EA Sports PGA Tour lets you fire flaming balls over battleships


Powered by Frostbite 3
Jun 09
// Steven Hansen
Tiger Woods is out after damaging his brand. Flaming golf balls shot over battleships in the Pacific are in. Take that, Woods. EA Sports PGA Tour (Spring 2015) is going to use the Frostbite 3 engine, which will give its full...
Xbox One photo
Xbox One

Powerstar Golf is now 'free' with paid DLC


Something else to try on Xbox One
May 22
// Jordan Devore
Microsoft Studios and developer Zoë Mode have altered the pricing of Powerstar Golf such that there's now a free demo-like base version of the game and content has been relegated to DLC packs. Your progress made here wil...
Mario Golf DLC photo
Mario Golf DLC

Mario Golf's upcoming DLC isn't 'on disc' or locked


Phew
May 05
// Chris Carter
Mario Golf: World Tour has taken Nintendo into a completely new realm of DLC -- Season Passes. Although they have dabbled in the practice for some time now starting with Fire Emblem: Awakening or New Super Mario Bro...
Mario Golf photo
Mario Golf

Here's a video overview of Mario Golf: World Tour and its DLC


Kirby or Mario Golf or both?
May 03
// Jordan Devore
It's a terrific weekend for 3DS owners between Kirby: Triple Deluxe and Mario Golf: World Tour both fighting for our time. Nintendo has a pair of trailers out for the latter game -- one for the launch, another for those DLC ...

Review: Mario Golf: World Tour

Apr 24 // Dale North
Mario Golf: World Tour (3DS)Developer: CamelotPublisher: NintendoRelease Date: May 2, 2014MSRP: $29.99 Mario, Bowser, Peach and the gang are ready for you to take them to tee in World Tour's Quick Round mode, where you'll use their varied abilities in singles matches, tournaments, and online matches. This mode is primarily for jumping in for a single game, as characters you use won't earn any stats upgrades. They will earn money and unlock items, though. Those are for use in the other side of the game, Castle Club. In Castle Club, you'll play as your Mii, starting out as a golf newbie that has to work his way up the ranks. You'll take on a handicap round, jump into a beginner course, and gradually go up through two more courses, with the last being almost too difficult for a game that children might play. There's some serious score rubber banding for the last half of that last course, and that will try your patience. You will curse Mario's name. Three courses may not sound like much, but there's plenty to do outside of them in and around the golf club. For example, the practice challenges may be something you'd initially skip over for some real golf action, but my game improved considerably after working through the four levels of each of the three challenges. You'll fine tune your driving, precision, and putting game through them. They're fun enough to be considered mini-games on their own, and if you can master them they'll fully arm you for that ultra-challenging final course mentioned earlier. Outside of the three main courses, the Royal Court is home to three more unlockable courses for some non-standard golfing fun. After that, if you're looking for even more of a challenge, head out to the far right and around the corner to find the cruelly challenging "one-shot, one-putt" course. It's so difficult that I have yet to finish this course! [embed]273705:53586:0[/embed] In keeping with tradition, Mario Golf: World Tour has some enjoyable RPG-like elements. Walking around the club is like being in any JRPG's town; and it's packed with NPCs to chat with and learn from, rooms to visit, attractions to see, shops to spend at, and fun mini-games to take on.  The equipment system of World Tour is not unlike that of a role-playing game. With coins earned from completing matches and other challenges you'll be able to buy new balls, clubs, and clothing to tweak your stats. In this game, even a couple of yards advantage gained from a new club can make a huge difference. Picking the right gear is a lot like equipping before a key battle.  There are plenty of just-for-fun type clothing items, too. Nintendo went nuts with some of the costumes, and after seeing just how ridiculous I can make my player look, I'm glad that they did. Spiky hair, Toadstool hats, duds inspired by Chompers, and more have been worn by my Mii.  The courses of Mario Golf: World Tour are very good, though none of them would qualify as easy. Hills, traps, obstacles, and weather conditions keep you on your toes at all time. There's rarely a situation where you'll just be able to take the recommended shot and succeed, which is nice for those that like a challenge, but maybe not so much for younger players. All courses have that Nintendo charm, so expect star-shaped sand traps, colorful trees, happy clouds, and explosive Bob-ombs that serve as course obstacles. They're pretty, but not easy. My favorite course, Bowser's Castle, is particularly brutal. It's packed with obstacles to avoid, traps to screw you up, and greens where exact ball placement is the only way to survive. It really does feel like the golf version of one of his castles.  Peach's Playground is the place to go for golf ridiculousness. The fields are littered with coins, hearts, power-up boxes, and other odd items that you might find in a Mario platformer. It's still golf play at its core here, but you're encouraged to go outside the lines trying to earn coins to spend on items as well as power-ups that will help your game, Mario Kart style. Beating any of the weird challenges this stage offers will earn you an equally weird costume to wear. These matches are a departure from standard golf. For example, a Club Slots mode has a slot machine picking your club for you, forcing you to play nine holes with only it. The shot system of Mario Golf: World Tour is still the three-click system all golf game fans know (one to start, one to set strength, and the last to set precision), though the graphical representation is a bit different this time around. The horizontal power/accuracy bar is available for use if you prefer, but the much more useful ball view sits below it on the bottom screen. This view has a circle within the ball that grows and shrinks to represent your swing, with your goal being to click for strength as it grows and click again for precision as it shrinks. It's much easier to set your shots in this fashion than with the horizontal ball, giving you more control over your shots. For advanced players, the system allows for more shot types. Different combinations of the A and B buttons allow players to set topspin or backspin (touchscreen buttons for these shots are also available), and a power shot button offers a limited number of boosted shots per match. And if you'd rather not get into the shot system intricacies, an automatic mode will let you relax and just swing at the ball. Mario Golf: World Tour lets you get as deep as you want when it comes to planning shots. Tutorials will walk you through the effects of ground sloping or wind, but the only way to get them to click is to play several matches. Once you begin to feel how, say, backspin puts your ball on the green, you'll start to really enjoy the depths of this game's systems. There is a pretty long learning curve -- much longer than I'd expect to see in a Nintendo game. But I'm glad that they weren't afraid to put that challenge forward as World Tour is a better game for it.  Hang in there, though. I'll admit to being frustrated at first. The feel is pretty different from a Hot Shots Golf game, especially with putting. But I learned it after a day or two (those tutorials helped), and found myself enjoying the game much more after that. While I was able to overcome the frustrations of the learning curve, I'm still not completely over World Tour's camera and shot aiming systems.  The camera control is clunky and imprecise, especially when compared with other golf game franchises. As the controls are spread out across both buttons and touch screen controls, it requires a bit of finger work to track down your ball. You're able to freely move the camera up and down the course with the analog stick, but elevation is set to touchscreen controls that are fidgety at best. For post-shot views, the default height is often too low to get a clear view of your shot, so you're forced to use these up/down virtual buttons, which becomes aggravating after a few times. Worse, some poor choices were made for the default options on camera views. When switching to an overhead view, the targeting tracks the hole and not your ball, which makes finding your ball during a tournament something like trying to find a needle in a haystack. For the short game, the default view has most of the green's view obstructed by your Mii's huge head, requiring two or three camera tweaks for every hole you'll play.  And while we're on shot frustrations, the resolution of the ball grid should be mentioned. While the overall appearance of the game is fine, the grid that you'll use to plan your drives and puts is pretty rough looking, and its jagged lines make it difficult to plan your shots. It's at its worst when the grid lies over highly contoured surfaces -- it requires too much camera reworking to get a clear view, and even then the resolution is so low that overhead views are sometimes too jaggy to make out. Mario Golf: World Tour would have greatly benefited from higher resolution displays and visuals. Tournament play allows you to connect up to join in both national and international matches that cover everything from standard 18-hole tournaments to more relaxed challenges like driving contests and speed rounds. I really enjoyed the one-shot target practice that has you going up against all other players over 9 holes to see who can get closest to the pin. The overall experience is outstanding across all modes, and the connectivity is seamless and transparent. They've succeeded in making a hassle-free, highly accessible online golf experience -- something I've been wanting for a long time.  All of the matches you take part in take your ghost data and send it to Nintendo's servers where it will be shared with all other players. At the end of the tournament access time, an awards ceremony will take place to show you and other players where they stand in the rankings. For each challenge, items are both earned and unlocked in the Castle's item store. Like with this game's offline play, there are two sides to online play in World Tour. In Castle Club, you'll use your Mii and join in on both national and international tournaments. A sign-up station in the castle lets you log in to see a list of available tournaments. If you're eligible and the tournament is still open, you can sign in and immediately begin playing. Your play will be tracked, and your ghost data and scores will be uploaded after the match. Each match lets you know when the awards ceremony will take place, but you're immediately rewarded with coins, item unlocks, and other prizes for each match you participate in. Outside of Castle Club, in the standard Mario Golf side of the game, several online play modes are available. You can pick versus play for local, online, and community matches. The Tournaments mode is populated with challenges you can join to try to take top ranks. These have you taking on alternative challenges like playing a course while being limited to only one character, or trying to pick up as many coins as possible while completing each hole. You can also set up private tournaments of your own for others to join. In fact, if you have the demo, join my CorgiKing Course, which is a 6-hole speed shot contest. Look for tournament code 46-3770-5686-2231 online now. You will see the heads of other Miis playing in tournaments marked on the play field, but there's no interaction between you and other players -- the game's online modes are fully asynchronous. Mario Golf: World Tour's presentation is strong, especially when it comes to the varied characters and costumes. The course designs are colorful and exciting, and they're packed with little secrets to find. The low resolution of the shot grid is the only place where the presentation of World Tour lets you down. And while this has no bearing on gameplay, the constant chatter from characters begins to wear on you after awhile. Their cheers and gripes are unending, so much so that it seems like the game is broken at times. There's no way to mute them so you'll have to get used to an endless loop of annoying sound effects. It has been worth the wait, as Mario Golf: World Tour took that next step and brought us an outstanding online golf experience. The learning curve is steep, and there are some issues with the camera and aiming control, but working through them is worth it as the online play is outstanding.  I see myself playing in online matches in Mario Golf: World Tour for a very long time. I hope to see you out on the green!
Mario Golf: World Tour photo
The online golf we've been wanting
It's been about 10 years since we've seen the Mushroom Kingdom gang out on the green, so it was high time for a new Mario Golf title. Camelot Software steps to the tee again, this time on the 3DS, bringing dual screens and and a new spin to their much-loved links with Mario Golf: World Tour. But the biggest addition this time around is online play. Were they able to drive this one home?

 photo

Our Mario Golf: World Tour review will be a little late


But here's a crazy video and demo to hold you over
Apr 24
// Dale North
[Update: It looks like the servers are up now! I'm playing now -- review coming this afternoon.] Sorry, but we're going to be a little late on our Mario Golf: World Tour review. As of 9 a.m. this morning we're allowed to run...
 photo

Plenty of downloadable courses, characters coming to Mario Golf: World Tour


DLC schedule revealed
Apr 22
// Dale North
Mario Golf: World Tour, coming May 2, comes with 10 courses and 126 holes, multiplayer modes, tournaments and more. It's a full game. But so much more is scheduled to come as downloadable content, says Nintendo. We know that ...
 photo

See you on the green: Mario Golf: World Tour international tournaments


Collaboration with Callaway Golf
Apr 17
// Dale North
As someone that spends his life bragging about his superior ability in videogame golf, I'm excited that Mario Golf: World Tour will feature both regional and worldwide tournaments. Nintendo says it's easy to get into: get onl...
 photo

Multiplayer fun with Mario Golf: World Tour


Everyone plays simultaneously in multiplayer
Mar 26
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Mario Golf: World Tour features four player multiplayer via online, or local play with just a single cartridge. As it should, but you know the best part of all this? Everyone is playing simultaneously. You don't have to wait...
Mario Golf World Tour photo
Mario Golf World Tour

It's been too long since I've played Mario Golf, it's underwater now


Driver? I hardly even know her!
Mar 13
// Steven Hansen
It feels like it's been forescore since I've played Mario Golf. Maybe the 3DS' upcoming World Tour is a good place to rectify that. Or maybe I'll finally take a swing at Hot Shots. Then again, The Golf Club has the best name...
 photo

FORE! Mario Golf World Tour hits the green on May 2


You can use your Miis, too
Feb 13
// Dale North
Today's Nintendo Direct let us know that 3DS title Mario Golf World Tour is launching on May 2nd. As a crazed videogame golf fan, I can't wait.  Today, Iwata showed off a new mode that lets you use your Mii characters t...
The Golf Club photo
The Golf Club

Newly announced The Golf Club has the best name ever


The Golf Club. THE GOLF CLUB.
Jan 23
// Steven Hansen
The Golf Club. I cannot contain myself. I'm having a ball with this one. The realistic-looking golf game, just announced for PS4, Xbox One, and PC, is meant to butt up against EA's no-longer-Tiger-Woods-branded PGA Tour, whi...
Wii U photo
Wii U

Golf arrives for Wii Sports Club on Wii U


Puttering around
Dec 18
// Conrad Zimmerman
Nintendo has released the Golf mode for Wii Sports Club to the Nintendo eShop, letting players hit the motion-controlled links. As with prior Wii Sports Club games, you can purchase Golf outright for $9.99 or purchase a day ...

Review: Powerstar Golf

Nov 20 // Chris Carter
Powerstar Golf (Xbox One)Developer: Zoë ModePublisher: Microsoft StudiosRelease Date: November 22, 2013MSRP: $19.99 Powerstar has a unique aesthetic that's somewhere in-between cartoony (mostly the golfers) and realistic (the courses). At times, seeing the two different styles juxtaposed together can be fairly off-putting, and in other sections, the scenery can look particularly impressive to the point where you really don't care. But as a whole, the artwork presented by way of the game's loading screens is far better than what's seen anywhere else, and Powerstar looks like a far cry from anything resembling a next-gen game. Even within the confines of its graphical limitations, it's not perfect either -- I encountered a few glitches where my game locked up and a number of chunky framerate problems. Having said that, Powerstar Golf's controls are much more consistent than its visual style. All you need to do to make your way down each course is aim your shot, press the A button, line up your power on a meter, then press it again to hit a small white space to perfect your aim -- that's it. It operates like many tried-and-true shot mechanics have in the past, and it works like a charm. If you want to see your shot's destination, you just press the Y button, and you'll be greeted with an in-depth close-up camera angle of the course, with the ability to change your destination at any time. One of the best mechanical systems found in Powerstar though is putting, which makes the intricacies of each green as visible as possible. Using tiny little waves of different colors, the game will display uphill, downhill, and flat surfaces in a simple manner, allowing for some intense putting planning sessions. [embed]265873:51483:0[/embed] Powerstar also attempts to mix things up with a bit of arcade zaniness by adding in powers like blazing comet shots, multi-balls, and vacuum holes that suck up your putts. Although these shots do add a bit of character to the game, I feel like they could have gone a even further. In Powerstar's current state you only get one power per golfer, and one per NPC caddie. The golfers usually get the coolest powers, but your caddies are usually relegated to lame abilities like "better guidance." The caddie system itself is a neat idea (they give you light hints and remind you of things like wind direction), but it often feels underdeveloped and pointless -- like a half-realized design. All of this is accented by a unique RPG system that's linked to absolutely everything you do. It feels good to constantly earn experience and unlock new events even if you're doing poorly, as nothing ever truly feels like a waste of time. Having said that, the amount of content available in Powerstar is rather limited, and gated off in multiple ways. For starters, there are only four different locations (with 18 holes) to choose from, all of which quickly get old. In order to progress through to any of these areas you'll have to level up quite a bit, playing on the same few courses over and over until you have the privilege of moving on. The number of golfers and caddies are also extremely low, so experimentation is rather limited. In short, playing Powerstar can get highly repetitive without friends, both using the local and asynchronous features (which I'll get to momentarily). For golf game fans this is literally par for the course, but given the game's arcade-like influences, I expected a bit more. Another unfortunate addition is the presence of microtransactions. For a fee, you can buy "booster packs" that will randomly grant you outfits, one-time boosts, and permanent pieces of equipment (read: golf clubs). Now, in some games (mostly PVE or co-op based titles), the addition of microtransactions wouldn't bother me so much. But in a competitive title like Powerstar, it simply feels wrong to offer players the ability to get ahead if they spend a little bit of cash. If you're the kind of person who just wants to enjoy the game by yourself, it's entirely possible here with a bit of grinding, but for everyone else you may feel the sting of this DLC model. Thankfully, the social features make up for a few of the game's shortcomings by adding in good leaderboard features at every turn. On just about every course you'll be able to see your friend's best shots and longest drives in real time, as they show up on both the course and the game's menus. You can take this step a bit further as well, with the "Rivals" feature that lets you square off against someone online, going head to head with a number of different challenges. Real-time play is limited to local only, with the option for a two-player heads-up tournament, or a four-player mode. In the end, Powerstar Golf isn't particularly special, but it'll win over the hearts of golf fans for sure. If all you're looking to do is whack a ball down a course on a next-gen system with the occasional bit of positive reinforcement, Powerstar is your huckleberry.
Powerstar Golf photo
Only slightly over par
As a young gamer, often times my first foray into the wide world of sports was through videogames. Before I knew how to run a slant route in a real-life game of football, I knew how to run something in Tecmo Bowl and Madden. ...

Powerstar Golf: full of RPG-like systems, cloud features

Nov 07 // Dale North
Powerstar Golf (Xbox One)Developer: Zoe ModePublisher: MicrosoftRelease Date: November 22, 2013 In Powerstar Golf, everything has stats, and the level of customization is super deep. All characters have their strengths and weaknesses, and you'll modify what they can do for you with equipment choices. Each of the six characters have their own play style (long driver, accuracy putter, etc.), but through equipment choices you can tweak their abilities a bit. Characters also have their own special abilities. One character, Henry, has his ball splitting into five on the green, with the closest ball to the hole being the one he'll play from on the next shot. Reiko, another character, has the ability to magnetize the pin, which will have her shot drawing closer to the hole upon landing. Even caddies help you modify your abilities with their individual special abilities. For example, one might let you preview putts before making shots. They all have perks, too. You might have a better chance of skipping your shot over water with one, while another might change the how greatly wind speed affects your shot. In a pinch, you can even borrow friends' caddies to help you out. All of the gear in Powerstar also has stats, and with over 400 pieces to choose from, there is plenty of freedom when it comes to tweaking your stats. As you level, you're able to buy more gear, working to gain full gear sets. Sets give additional stat bonuses, too. Beyond this, some gear pieces are character-specific, giving huge perks when equipped. If this all wasn't enough, there are also round-specific boosters to be added. You can choose boosts to help your XP or putting distance, for example.  With any golf game, you're up against the course as well as the environment. That's usually enough depth. But Powerstar adds so many layers of customization that it seems you could spend all day tweaking your character and gear.  I'm surprised at just how social and competitive Powerstar Golf is aiming to be. Even playing alone, through the game's Rival mode, you're up against the cloud data of your friends. In a match I tried, I found that I was constantly being updated with how my plays compared to others'. A long drive showed my ball flying past the previous record holder's marker, with his score and marker shattering to be replaced by mine. The records of all your friends are clearly visible on the course through these markers, and are updated instantly as you and your friends play. If you're playing against a friend's cloud data, you'll see the game exactly as they played it. This means that everything from their shots and flubs to their outfit and club choice are shown. It's like you've rewound time and plugged yourself into their game. This means that you can enjoy competitive play at any time.  What's neat is that if you win, you'll gain experience. But, if you lose, your friend, even offline, will get experience for beating you virtually.  As we've covered before, the shot system is the standard three-point one we know from Hot Shots Golf, complete with the ability to add spin. The game offers absolutely nothing new in that respect. But the customization and special abilities are interesting, and the cloud-powered social connectivity has the potential to keep you engaged. Again, I'm not a fan of the art style or presentation, but neither are going to hinder the fun to be had going up against friends' data. Being able to play competitively at any time sounds fantastic. And so does the price -- $20.  Powershot Golf will be available for download at Xbox One's launch.
Powerstar Golf is $20 photo
And it's only $20!
Xbox One golf launch title Powerstar Golf didn't gel with me the first time I played it, but after seeing the depth of some of its systems last week I feel better about it. Its RPG-ish leveling system and cloud-based competitive features sound like something I could really get into. 

Tiger Woods photo
Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods is trying to sell his name to a new videogame


Same name, different game
Nov 01
// Brett Makedonski
After Electronic Arts broke off a 15-year relationship with Tiger Woods, the golfer is doing what many in his situation would -- he's trying to rebound. The most recognizable name in professional golf is courting videogame pu...
EA Sports photo
EA Sports

First image of next-gen PGA Tour is missing Tiger Woods


...and so is the title of the game
Oct 28
// Jordan Devore
After years of Tiger Woods PGA Tour videogames, EA Sports and Tiger Woods are parting ways. "EA Sports and Tiger Woods have also made a mutual decision to end our partnership, which includes Tiger's named PGA Tour golf game,...

Powerstar Golf is in the rough

Jul 20 // Dale North
What's different here is that Powerstar has special abilities assigned to each character. A character named Frank has a super-powered swing. Another, Reiko, has a magnetic shot that helps players close the gap in shots that were almost there. These are limited-use abilities, so you'll have to be careful to use them when you really need them.   Another neat advantage comes with separate caddie abilities, which lets these players see putt preview lines, or skip golf balls across water surfaces. So what's the problem with Powerstar Golf, then? There seems to be a lack of polish, which has it falling flat in a lot of areas. Take the shot gauge, for example. The small bar you follow with your eyes to know when to press the button to set shot power and accuracy is so small and thin that it's almost unbelievable. It looked about as thick as the letter "I" on the television I used to test this game. Worse, on the bar's return trip, after setting shot power, the bar moves on a colored field that makes it even more difficult to see. It's pretty bad when the most important part of the shot gauge is incredibly difficult to track due to its size and color. The user interface has other issues along the same lines. The UI font is so small that I had to put my face up to the screen to read some messages. Again, very important messages, like shot distances, are so small that I didn't want to bother reading them. They can improve on the presentation pretty easily, but I think the feel of gameplay needs even more work. While setting the shot landing zone works nicely (done with the analog sticks), camera movement and other related controls feel a bit rough. More importantly, the swing mechanic itself feels clunky and slow. Though it looks just like Hot Shots Golf's classic swing meter, it feels like a fair bit rougher. I just could never get connected with it. And while it may float someone else's boat, the art style isn't doing it for me. The courses look fine, but the characters fall flat. Frank, the big-chinned power swinger, looks like your generic thick-chested cool guy from an American cartoon. Reiko, a scientist, wears goofy oversized glasses and has twiggy legs.  I'm glad that the Xbox One is getting an arcade-style golf title at launch. I hope that a bit more polish can be put into Powerstar Golf before then.
 photo
Headed for the bunker?
Powerstar Golf is a launch title for Xbox One. It's an arcade golf title, but it's no Hot Shots Golf. On the surface it seems like it's par for the arcade-y golf course, but a few issues have it stuck in the sand traps. If yo...

 photo

Mario Golf: World Tour packed with multiplayer goodness


Community features added
Apr 17
// Dale North
I'm probably too excited about Mario Golf: World Tour for the 3DS, coming this summer. I'm even more excited after this morning's Nintendo Direct broadcast, which gave us the first details on the game's multiplayer.  Nin...
 photo

Celebrate Pangya's 4th anniversary with Pangya Challenges


We're giving away prizes
Apr 15
// Dale North
Pangya, the greatest MMO golf game in the universe, is turning 4 this week. SG Interactive has all kinds of fun things lined up for Pangya Challenges to celebrate this anniversary, including giveaways and online events.  ...

Review: Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14

Mar 26 // Patrick Hancock
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 (PlayStation 3 [reviewed], Xbox 360)Developer: EA TiburonPublisher: Electronic ArtsRelease Date: March 26, 2013 (North America), March 28, 2013 (Worldwide)MSRP: $59.99  My attraction to the Tiger Woods series isn't based on a prior love of the sport of golf. I've never followed the sport and don't ever watch tournaments. The Tiger Woods games, however, have always had such satisfying gameplay that it didn't matter. Each swing in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 is mimicked with one of the analog sticks. To make the on-screen character bring the club back for a backswing, the player must pull the analog stick down. To complete the swing, the player pushes the stick forward. Ideally these actions are performed in straight lines in order to pull off the perfect swing, but it is not uncommon to botch a swing from time to time. When swinging, the controller will vibrate if the swing isn't straight, allowing the player to reset the analog stick and the club and try again. If the player goes through with an inaccurate swing, the ball will curve left or right depending on which direction the swing was off. The game will even show the player their analog stick's path in order to help correct future swings. It is possible to add Draw or Fade to a shot, curving it towards a certain direction, which then requires the player to maneuver the analog stick diagonally instead of straight down and up. This all takes place after aiming the shot and picking where it should ideally end up. "Ideally" is the key word here, as variables like wind and spin will alter the ball's trajectory after it is hit. Spin can be added by rapidly tapping the L1 button while holding the left analog stick in the direction of the spin. [embed]249642:47783:0[/embed] There is a Career Mode, as always, which consists of creating a character and leveling them up over the course of their rise to fame and fortune, but let's focus on what is actually new in PGA 14. To start with, the Career Mode now supports the LPGA, allowing players to take their created female golfer into the female-only tournament. Furthermore, a new "Simulation" difficulty has been added for those who found the past games to be too easy. This new difficulty disables the game settings that aid the player, like post-swing spin or the topography grid on the putting green. The biggest addition, however, is the inclusion of the "Legends of the Majors" game mode, which spans from 1873 to 2013 and features over 50 key moments in golf history represented. These moments all play out as challenges, requiring the player to use a specific golfer and recreate their achievements, scored on a scale of either Legend (gold) or Win (silver). Some of these can be pretty difficult, especially when trying to achieve the better of the two ratings. Each challenge is accompanied by a brief paragraph describing what exactly went down and why it was so important, which is a really nice feature to have for us non-golfers. During these challenges, I could recognize the impact and achievements of what I was doing, even though I had never heard of those particular events prior. I now know that Arnold Palmer is way more than a tasty beverage. There are also Connected Tournaments, allowing the player to play alongside others at the same time, without waiting for them to make their shots. If a player is on the same exact hole during a Live Tournament, their shot arcs will appear on the screen as they happen. If no one is on the same hole, it plays out exactly like any other offline tournament, which can make the Connected Tournaments feel very disconnected. Country Clubs, which are essentially guilds or clans, also make their return with a few improvements. The max size has been increased from 25 to 40, and it is now possible to voice chat with anyone in your Club, even if you are in separate parts of the game itself. And yes, I did make a Destructoid Country Club and am currently the absolute best (and only) player in it. Country Clubs won't have much effect on the game for most users, but it's a nice feature to have for those groups who want to play together. Each golfer now has a dedicated Swing Style to act as the starting point for every swing, resulting in characters playing a bit more uniquely from each other. When creating a character, the player can shape their Swing Style to their liking. Choosing Power vs. Control and a low-, medium-, or high-ball trajectory allows for a greater sense of customization, and thankfully the game does a decent enough job of explaining what the various differences are. For example, choosing a low-ball trajectory helps to avoid wind, but limits the distance the ball can travel. There are some less-than-appealing aspects to PGA 14 as well. The load times can border on insultingly long at times, especially when altering a created character. Loading the next hole in a tournament isn't so bad, but loading into the tournament itself takes way too long. Even just navigating the menus feels slow and clunky. The game is also terrible at getting necessary camera angles for certain shots. Putting, in particular, is covered by the worst cameraman in the world! There have been plenty of instances in which I had to squint at my television screen just to make out where the ball and the cup even were, which was especially infuriating when a long putt had the potential to go in. The camera for putting is usually so zoomed out that they may as well not even show the player what's happening, removing any sort of tension from the shot. A replay can be viewed of any shot, but there's a little bit of weirdness in doing so. Immediately after the player hits the "View Replay" button, the replay screen will come up, showing the golfer from a certain angle. Shortly after, the EA Sports logo will wipe across the screen meant to be a transition to the replay that is already on the screen. Obviously that wipe is supposed to happen a bit earlier, but the end result is jarring and reeks of clumsiness. It is also impossible to save replays, which is a total bummer since some of my shots were pretty damn impressive. The visuals also leave a lot to be desired. The courses and characters look fine, but everything around them looks awful. The textures of trees are PlayStation 2-quality, and can be seen popping in quite often. Spectators are sparse, but models and animations are reused as if there were hundreds in a stadium. Satisfying gameplay is the crux of the Tiger Woods franchise. All the new modes in the world wouldn't matter if it didn't feel so amazing to actually play. Luckily, Tiger Woods PGA 14 stays true to the core gameplay, and adds a very worthwhile mode with Legends of the Majors. All of the other new bells and whistles are either mediocre or long overdue. The game is hard to recommend to someone who picked up last year's outing, except perhaps to the big golf enthusiasts among you who would appreciate the Legends of the Masters mode more than anyone else. If you're like me, though, and haven't picked up a Tiger Woods game in a while, PGA 14 has the classic gameplay that made the series stand out from its competitors, even if it is starting to show its age graphically.
PGA Tour 14 review photo
You can play as Marshall Faulk!
The Tiger Woods series has always been my favorite of EA's annual sports games. Ever since I performed my first virtual swing with the analog sticks, I became hooked. I don't like it enough to even think about paying every si...

Hot Shots Golf photo
Hot Shots Golf

Play as Gravity Rush's Kat in Hot Shots Golf on PS Vita


And more DLC in World Invitational
Mar 14
// Jordan Devore
It's no secret that Kat from Gravity Rush would find her way to Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational as a playable character. The time has finally come for non-Japanese versions of the PlayStation Vita game -- she'll be availab...
 photo

All I've ever wanted in a videogame: Dungeons & Golf


Seriously
Dec 05
// Dale North
If you're a regular reader you know what I dig; JRPGs, survival horror, strategy, puzzle games, fighters, and anything with corgis in it. And golf. I get a lot of sh*t for it, but videogame golf is one of my favorites. Peopl...

Auto-loading more stories ... un momento, corazón ...