ProStroke Golf - World Tour 2007 Review

ProStroke Golf - World Tour 2007 is a passable effort, but one that fails to bring anything new to the world of golf games.

There's no question that the Tiger Woods series is the king of video game golf, but that hasn't stopped other developers from trying to get their piece of the pie. While there's always room for more good golf games, ProStroke Golf - World Tour 2007 from Gusto Games doesn't fit the bill. The core gameplay isn't bad, but the lack of distinguishing features, painfully slow pace of play, and paltry list of licensed pros make ProStroke Golf an underwhelming effort.

A generic golfer on a generic course in a generic game.
A generic golfer on a generic course in a generic game.

If a feature-rich golf experience is what you seek, ProStroke Golf is not what you're looking for. You can go through the inadequate training mode, play a quick round, enter a tournament, or start a career. Up to four players can play a round against each other via an ad hoc connection, but you can't play together in the career mode. In many games, career mode offers the most depth and replay value, but that's not the case in ProStroke Golf. Embarking on a career is extremely basic, consisting of a calendar of fictitious one-day tournaments and little else. Hidden away are challenge events that can be accessed only by selecting an open date on the tour schedule. These challenges consist of shorter events or one-on-one matches and are often more enjoyable than the full tournaments, so it's curious that the game doesn't do a better job of pointing them out. Money can't be spent to upgrade equipment or buy new outfits, so you'll find yourself pursuing "renown points," which are earned for winning tournaments and accomplishing feats such as hitting a green in regulation or driving the ball 280 yards. These points improve your golfer's abilities, though you never actually see any stats reflecting the changes. Renown points also unlock higher-profile events, though these events are largely the same as those that you started off playing, differing only in the number of entrants, size of the purse, and score of the winner.

ProStroke Golf has eight licensed professional golfers--Sergio Garcia, Mark O'Meara, Justin Rose, Ben Curtis, Thomas Bjorn, Colin Montgomerie, Ian Woosnam, and Zhang Lian-Wei--only a few of which the casual fan will recognize. The number of real-world courses in the game is even less impressive; there are only two: The Brabazon and Sergio Garcia's home course, Lake Nona. There are 16 fantasy courses, and though they do offer up a good challenge, they aren't particularly interesting. It would have been better if the developer had taken advantage of creating a course from the ground up by taking some risks with the fictional courses.

On the course, ProStroke finds a decent balance between being challenging and fun. Since the scores are realistic, you'll never shoot in the 50s as you could in the older Tiger Woods games, but the game never feels unfair. In fact, the realistic scoring makes salvaging par after an errant tee shot as rewarding as getting a birdie in other games. The dual-analog swing in the console version has been replaced by a timing-based swing. To start your swing, you simply tap the right shoulder button to start the shot meter, release it when you've reached the desired power level, and then hold down the left shoulder button to release it at the proper moment to determine accuracy. You can continue to hold the right shoulder button while you press the left shoulder button to add more power to your shot. This method will add 10 percent to your distance, but it also increases the likelihood of hooking or slicing the ball, and it's not really worth it. Should you wish to add a slice or hook to your shot, doing so is as easy as shifting the position of your front foot, via a quick press up or down on the D pad. This occasionally comes in handy when you need to get around some trees on a hole that doglegs left or right. You can also aim for particular spots on the ball with the analog stick to add backspin or topspin to a shot.

You can design your own course, which is a nice feature, but it's very time consuming.
You can design your own course, which is a nice feature, but it's very time consuming.

The basics are fine, but several issues keep the on-course action from rivaling that of more established golf games. The game's pace of play is agonizingly slow since you're always forced to play alongside a computer-controlled golfer in career mode. You can't skip your opponent's turn, and there are load times when the game switches from one golfer to the next. To make matters worse, in the early tournaments the computer's play is dreadful. Matches will drag on for close to an hour as you watch the computer score in the mid-80s. Hopefully, you've got plenty of time to play because you can't save midround. Figuring out just how far a shot is going to go is another problem. Iron shots can be excessively erratic and will often fall far short of the target or go much farther than you intended them to, and drives vary in length by 20 to 30 yards from one hole to the next for no readily apparent reason. Some of this may be due to the wind, but the onscreen indicator is impossible to read. Also, it's very difficult to judge the slope of the greens when you're chipping and don't have the benefit of the grid overlay. You can try to compensate for not knowing how a green slopes by shaping your shot using the left analog stick before your swing, but it's extremely difficult to judge how far the ball will travel, even with the aid of the visual shot-shaper indicator.

Judging by the popularity of the create-a-character mode in the Tiger Woods series, it seems obvious that one feature people enjoy most about video golf is creating and then building up a character. Apparently, the developers at Gusto Games didn't get the memo. When creating a golfer, you are stuck choosing between two hats, two shirts, two pants, and two gloves. The options are so limited that you don't even have the alternative of going hatless, nor can you change your body type, height, or facial features. Even if you could customize your character, it wouldn't do much to make your golfer more interesting since none of the characters can blink, make facial expressions, or so much as celebrate with a fist pump after a big shot. The course-designer tool is similarly limited, but it is a welcome addition because no other PSP golf game has the feature. After naming the course and selecting a region, time of year, and cloud cover, you're left to fumble around with the unintuitive editor. The manual does a fair job of explaining the course-building process, but there's no onscreen help to ease the learning curve. The shallow visual-customization options leave your created courses looking repetitive and drab. If you're patient, you can create some interesting and outrageous courses, though the lack of any official course-sharing support renders any such endeavor destined to be viewed by a precious few.

ProStroke Golf's visuals are technically sound yet thoroughly uninteresting. However, on the PSP's small screen they don't negatively affect the gameplay as they did on consoles. The greens look fine, but it's tough to see their undulations when chipping from off the green. The colors are bland, and the water looks pretty poor, as well. Swing animations are OK, but everyone's swing is the same. Gusto's decision to not show a swing animation until you're done pressing the required buttons to swing forces you to time your swing solely off of the meter. This is peculiar since the game encourages you to "feel" a shot rather than just hit it based on what the numbers say. Putting is made more difficult not only because the poor camera angles cut off half of the putting line when you zoom in toward the hole, but also because it's tough to judge the blips that move along the grid indicating the slope since they move extremely fast, making the break seem more severe than it actually is.

There's no sunshine on this cloudy day--this is one dreary-looking game.
There's no sunshine on this cloudy day--this is one dreary-looking game.

You could certainly argue that good commentary has yet to be done in a golf game, and ProStroke Golf isn't going to change anybody's mind. The commentary is dreadful. Ian Baker-Finch, Alan Green, and Sam Torrance call the action without an ounce of enthusiasm. To make matters worse, their dry narration is often incorrect. They'll chide you for a bad shot when you put the ball just feet from the pin from 150 yards out, praise you as your ball rolls past the pin and off the green, and call out the score incorrectly more often than they get it right. The crowds are equally dull. They'll clap politely for any reasonably good shot, and they'll cheer just a tiny bit when you hit an exceptional shot. Even simple sounds like the ambient noises of the course are done poorly and end abruptly rather than fading out. The background and menu music don't stray from the bland precedent set by the rest of the audio--they're just as bad.

ProStroke Golf's action on the course is just good enough to be entertaining for a short while, but its many problems keep it from being fun for very long. Too few golfers, horrible commentary, pitiful create-a-character options, and dreadfully slow gameplay are just a few of the game's many shortcomings. It's a shame the developers didn't address these holdover issues from the console versions in the six months they spent bringing it to the PSP, especially since the PSP version currently costs twice as much. Having 2007 in the title indicates that Gusto Games has at least considered a follow-up effort, but the developers have a lot of work ahead of them before this series can be mentioned alongside Tiger Woods, Links, and Hot Shots.

Judging by the popularity of the create-a-character mode in the Tiger Woods series, it seems obvious that one feature people enjoy most about video golf is creating and then building up a character. Apparently, the developers at Gusto Games didn't get the memo. When creating a golfer, you are stuck choosing between two hats, two shirts, two pants, and two gloves. The options are so limited that you don't even have the alternative of going hatless, nor can you change your body type, height, or facial features. Even if you could customize your character, it wouldn't do much to make your golfer more interesting since none of the characters can blink, make facial expressions, or so much as celebrate with a fist pump after a big shot. The course-designer tool is similarly limited, but it is a welcome addition because no other PSP golf game has the feature. After naming the course and selecting a region, time of year, and cloud cover, you're left to fumble around with the unintuitive editor. The manual does a fair job of explaining the course-building process, but there's no onscreen help to ease the learning curve. The shallow visual-customization options leave your created courses looking repetitive and drab. If you're patient, you can create some interesting and outrageous courses, though the lack of any official course-sharing support renders any such endeavor destined to be viewed by a precious few.

There's no sunshine on this cloudy day--this is one dreary-looking game.
There's no sunshine on this cloudy day--this is one dreary-looking game.

ProStroke Golf's visuals are technically sound yet thoroughly uninteresting. However, on the PSP's small screen they don't negatively affect the gameplay as they did on consoles. The greens look fine, but it's tough to see their undulations when chipping from off the green. The colors are bland, and the water looks pretty poor, as well. Swing animations are OK, but everyone's swing is the same. Gusto's decision to not show a swing animation until you're done pressing the required buttons to swing forces you to time your swing solely off of the meter. This is peculiar since the game encourages you to "feel" a shot rather than just hit it based on what the numbers say. Putting is made more difficult not only because the poor camera angles cut off half of the putting line when you zoom in toward the hole, but also because it's tough to judge the blips that move along the grid indicating the slope since they move extremely fast, making the break seem more severe than it actually is.

You could certainly argue that good commentary has yet to be done in a golf game, and ProStroke Golf isn't going to change anybody's mind. The commentary is dreadful. Ian Baker-Finch, Alan Green, and Sam Torrance call the action without an ounce of enthusiasm. To make matters worse, their dry narration is often incorrect. They'll chide you for a bad shot when you put the ball just feet from the pin from 150 yards out, praise you as your ball rolls past the pin and off the green, and call out the score incorrectly more often than they get it right. The crowds are equally dull. They'll clap politely for any reasonably good shot, and they'll cheer just a tiny bit when you hit an exceptional shot. Even simple sounds like the ambient noises of the course are done poorly and end abruptly rather than fading out. The background and menu music don't stray from the bland precedent set by the rest of the audio--they're just as bad.

ProStroke Golf's action on the course is just good enough to be entertaining for a short while, but its many problems keep it from being fun for very long. Too few golfers, horrible commentary, pitiful create-a-character options, and dreadfully slow gameplay are just a few of the game's many shortcomings. It's a shame the developers didn't address these holdover issues from the console versions in the six months they spent bringing it to the PSP, especially since the PSP version currently costs twice as much. Having 2007 in the title indicates that Gusto Games has at least considered a follow-up effort, but the developers have a lot of work ahead of them before this series can be mentioned alongside Tiger Woods, Links, and Hot Shots.

The Good
Good number of playable courses
Challenges between tournaments are fun
Inclusion of a course creation tool is nice
The Bad
Being forced to play tournaments with a partner makes them take forever
Graphics are dull
Commentary is awful
Only two of the courses are real
5.6
Mediocre
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ProStroke Golf - World Tour 2007 More Info

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  • First Released Aug 29, 2006
    released
    • PC
    • PlayStation 2
    • + 2 more
    • PSP
    • Xbox
    ProStroke Golf - World Tour 2007 offers up accurate animation and a unique control scheme for the golfing gamers' delight.
    6.4
    Average Rating127 Rating(s)
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    Developed by:
    Gusto Games
    Published by:
    Oxygen Interactive
    Genre(s):
    Golf, Simulation, Sports
    Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
    Everyone
    No Descriptors