If there are two things I absolutely do not have, it’s patience and skill in video games. Unfortunately for me, these are pretty much the only two things required when tackling a game such as The Golf Club 2 (TGC2). The sequel to The Golf Club, TGC2 sees a vast improvement in gameplay mechanics and realism and offers golf enthusiasts probably the best golf game on the market. There are extreme highs and aggravating lows, and the overall sense I got was that is exactly like what golf in real life is like. Sure, I’ve played a few rounds myself but I’m no Robert Allenby (except for that time I got kidnapped and beaten in Hawaii) but I know how difficult it can be and at the same time, completely and utterly rewarding when you even hit the ball off a tee (OK, I’m not that bad). TGC2 enveloped me in a world of wind reading and grass looking, but is it something you should buy?
Often in sports games, there are elements of the gameplay that are included to increase the enjoyment of the gamer but are usually a little unrealistic. The ability to affect the movement of the ball after it has been hit is something that comes to mind. In TGC2, there are no such additions and what you are left with is the most realistic golf game I’ve ever picked up. There is a career mode in TGC2 but it’s not the traditional career you might expect from a sports game. Rather than set up pre-ordained tournaments for you, the game allows you to create your own tournaments. If being guided through a game and its story is something that you prefer, you might be more comfortable with a different sport because TGC2 will not hold your hand. The developers have given the player more choice as to the courses they want to play, the number of rounds and how many courses you wish the tournament to have. Aside from this career mode, there is also the option to create an online society that other players can join to then compete in events for sweet, sweet cash, which can then be used to upgrade your society. The more you upgrade your society the more options become available to you. When you reach level 5 you can start to enter major tournaments and each new level brings with it upgrades to the clubhouse. There’s nothing new about this function and there’s certainly nothing there to suggest to me that it is merely a token gesture to make the game feel more packed with content.
Welcome to the tour!
Just standing in a rock!
Upon loading the game you are walked through a tutorial and this is a must if you want to be able to hit the green, but fear not, there is a practice mode available if you’re just needing a wee touch up. Included is also a course designer function which allows a huge range of customisation options for the budding landscaper. The sheer amount of options for each course, hole, fairway, you name it, will keep you entertained for hours; trying to sculpt the perfect course will be a near endless task but an enjoyable one.
There are some really nice landscapes on show here and it’s really quite peaceful to sit back and watch as each hole is previewed before tee-off. The textures are nice and relatively smooth and everything is colourful and vibrant, but TGC2 is not without its flaws. In my many hours of gameplay, the application crashed twice, which is not a deal breaker but it’s annoying if you’re mid-course and you lose focus; TGC2 is a fierce mistress if tackled without focus. Glitches were infrequent but frustrating; standing inside a rock or not being able to see the ball is less than ideal. More frequently than that however: glitches in the backswing. The mechanics are extremely sensitive and a poor backswing, either too fast or too slow, will see the ball sail into the rough. The entire swing action is controlled through the right thumbstick, by pulling it back then following through into the swing. Players will be able to hear a sweet shot as it pings off the driver and sails away into the distance. It’s a glorious feeling, that’s for sure.
Guys, I’m going to need you to move!
In the dwindling world of golf games, The Golf Club 2 shines as a beacon in the dark. Its intricate yet simple mechanics and beautiful landscapes will appease beginners are experts alike and the pick up and play nature of TGC2 makes it very easy to invest a few hours into. The glitches and crashes were few but frustrating but certainly not a deterrent to owning this game. Lovers of the game of golf will find hours upon hours of enjoyment with TGC2, but so too will casual sports gamers.
Reviewed on PS4