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John Daly's ProStroke Golf
Score: 65%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: O-Games
Developer: Gusto Games
Media: Blu-ray/1
Players: 1 - 4; 2 - 4 (Online)
Genre: Sports (Golf)

Graphics & Sound:
While John Daly's ProStroke Golf isn't the first Move-enabled golf game on the market, it is the first built with the controller in mind rather than including a post-release patch like Tiger 11. While the Move controls are fantastic, they're really the only thing keeping ProStroke in the game.

ProStroke suffers from two key issues: presentation and gameplay features. Compared to other sports games, ProStroke comes up incredibly short in both areas. We'll touch on the features later, but when it comes to presentation, ProStroke doesn't stack up. It doesn't look terrible by any sense of the word, but some elements look more like leftover stand-in visuals.

Characters, including Daly, look and move awkwardly. Courses may be modeled after real-life locales, but there's little life to be found. About the only thing the visuals nail is Daly's Technicolor attire. The rest of the game may not look lively, but at least his pants add some sort of spark.

Commentary is provided by Sam Torrance and Peter Kessler and is about as exciting as golf commentary can get. It sometimes drops out of sync with what's actually happening on the course, though not so much that it is distracting. Outside a few ambient sounds, audio is generally low-key.

John Daly's ProStroke Golf offers several play modes, though the real value comes when playing with friends. Play modes include Practice, Quickplay and Tournament, the game's core career mode. Each mode also offers four play styles: Strokeplay, Matchplay, Foursome and Fourball.

Even players unfamiliar with golf in general should at least be familiar with Strokeplay. Here, the player with the lowest number of strokes at the end of the match wins. Matchplay is similar, though it awards victories after each hole. Foursome is Strokeplay, but with teams taking turns hitting the ball. Fourball runs along the same basic guidelines, but everyone has their own ball.

Most of your focus will likely go into Tournament, if only to unlock new courses. You begin with a total of six and unlock six more by beating John Daly in a series of challenges. Challenges provide ProStroke's only real sense of play depth. Each is designed around a specific golf skill, such as putting or driving. I love when games reward players for basically going through tutorial modes, but ProStroke really makes you work for your rewards.

Unlocking content is next to impossible. Going one-on-one with Daly isn't terrible, but when he's always playing at a high level, it's not much fun. Imagine a basketball game where you needed to play a pick-up game with Michael Jordan or a football game where you need to beat Drew Brees in an accuracy test. I was able to top Daly a few times, usually due to some stroke of dumb luck.

Beyond dealing with Daly, it's really all about learning to swing the club and, well, play golf. Oh, and learning to navigate the menus. It's easy to find your way through the interface, but for a point-and-click system, it's an absolute pain. Icons are too small and require pinpoint accuracy to hit.

Game Mechanics:
John Daly's ProStroke Golf's Move support is some of the best I've seen outside Sports Champions and it's obvious the developers had a clear goal in mind while developing the game. There are three "swing" settings, each offering a different level of control. Amateur places training wheels on your swing, primarily monitoring your swing velocity. By comparison, Tour Pro simulates using a club right down to rotating your wrists on the back end of a stroke to adjust the slice or hook of your shot. It's about as realistic as controls can get without actually holding a club.

If you haven't invested in a Move yet, ProStroke is playable with a normal controller. However, if you aren't into the game for Move support, there isn't much reason to check the game out in the first place. Playing with a controller never feels right. Shots rarely react the way you expect; I can't tell you how many times I hooked shots that, from all indications, should have been straight line drives. It's frustrating.

It's really easy to see where John Daly's ProStroke Golf is trying to go, and I can respect that. If the aim was to implement near-perfect 1:1 golf controls, the developers succeeded. However, that one feature isn't enough when everything else looks and feels light. With some added focus on gameplay, ProStroke could be a "Must Play," but what's here simply isn't enough.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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