Though the improvements are minimal, Super Swing Golf Season 2 is more enjoyable than its predecessor.
- Fun gameplay that is easy to pick up and play
- Plenty of items to unlock and collect
- Less frustrating than the original.
- The game on which it's based is free on the PC
- Not enough game types in tour mode
- Graphics haven't improved much, if at all, since the first game.
The first Super Swing Golf for the Wii was an enjoyable yet flawed game. There aren't many changes to be found in its sequel, Super Swing Golf Season 2, but the few alterations have improved the experience significantly. Although it's less frustrating now, the game still has a significant hurdle: You can essentially play the same game (known as Albatross 18) for free on your PC. Sure, there are no motion controls, and you'll have to shell out some cash if you wish to unlock all of the items, but it's tough to justify a $40 price tag for the Wii version, even if the game is pretty good.
Take one look at the box for Season 2 and you'll instantly notice more than a few similarities to the Hot Shots Golf series. These similarities become only more apparent when you start to play; the visual style, the characters, and even the gameplay bear more than a passing resemblance to Sony's popular golf franchise. There are a few different play options, such as practice, versus CPU, and offline multiplayer, but you'll spend most of your time in tour mode because that's where you unlock new characters and courses. You begin by picking either a male or female character, both of whom are beginners with limited skills. From there you're taken to an overworld map where you can travel to different areas, though only one is initially available. Once you select an area, you are taken to another map that resembles a board game. The goal is to make your way across the board to the end, where a rival golfer awaits your challenge. Once you've beaten the rival, you unlock that character along with a new area. Thankfully, the developer has chosen to focus less on providing a story, which is a good thing if you found yourself suffering through the inane dialogue in the first game. There's still a bit of yapping between golfers, but it's mostly painless, and you have the option to skip it if it becomes too taxing.
Beating the golfer at the end of each area is challenging, but just getting to them will take the most time. You'll have to play a number of short rounds of golf along the way. Generally the challenges are either stroke or match play, but you'll occasionally have to play minigames such as bull's-eye or a long-drive contest, too. Unfortunately, that's about all the variety there is to the proceedings, and you'll find yourself wishing for more game types just a few hours into the tour. Though there's little variety found on the course, there's plenty to be found in the form of unlockables. You'll earn pang (the in-game currency) for good shots and for winning. You can then use this money to unlock new outfits, clubs, caddies, and more. It's a shame that the game's multiplayer doesn't add a whole lot to the package. You can play rounds of golf against up to three other people as well as participate in a few minigames that are fun in short doses, but everything is strictly offline. Granted, the Wii doesn't have too many online games, but it does have some, and this game is based on a series that's entire focus is online play.
Season 2 plays almost exactly like the original Super Swing. You'll need to use some ultracreative shot making from time to time late in the game, but generally the gameplay is straightforward and enjoyable. There are two swing options available. You can hold the Wii Remote like a golf club, bring it back to start your swing, press the A button to set your power level, and then swing forward (keeping the remote straight as to avoid hitting the ball left or right) to finish your shot. This is the exact method from the first game, but it's much more user-friendly now because the CPU is less apt to suddenly pull an eagle from thin air, so you're not punished as much for a less-than-perfect shot. The other swing option uses a traditional three-button press swing: one to start your swing, one to set power, and one to determine accuracy. Both swings let you add spin to your shots by pressing the D pad after you've set your power. This works fine with the three-button swing, but it's significantly harder with the motion controls. Putting still uses stationary dots whose positions on the grid overlay indicate the green's slope. This is still less than ideal when viewing the green from your golfer's perspective, but it's less of an issue this time around because the dots are easier to see from above and the greens seem to be much flatter than in the previous game.
The cartoony visuals of Season 2 aren't particularly impressive; however, they are adequate and fit the overall theme of the game nicely. There are plenty of bright colors, the fantasy courses are suitably over the top, and there's always some bit of visual flair to be found, whether it's your ball shooting off fireworks in midflight or the word "Pangya!" flashing onscreen in rainbow colors when you hit a perfect shot. Although there are some nice visual elements, the graphics as a whole suffer from a lot of reused elements from the game’s predecessor. Most of the character models have been recycled, as have many of the courses. Some cutscenes are fully animated, whereas others are nothing more than static screens. There's also no widescreen option, and the game doesn't support progressive scan. The audio does little to help the presentation. Character voices and sound effects are on the annoying side, and there's very little variety to them. The music can best be described as what a movie's director uses when making fun of elevator music.
If you appreciated the first Super Swing Golf, you'll certainly enjoy its sequel. It's hard to justify spending $40 when you can play a good portion of the same content on the PC for nothing, but if you're looking for a good, fun golf game for the Wii, Super Swing Golf 2 should fit the bill.