The tutorial lets you bat away at your heart's content from the tee, from the fairway, and from a few other common positions, but the directional arrows on the ball's interface will teach you all you need to know about the milieu of gradations informing each shot on the course. This is all done to the effect that -- if at least for a moment -- your attention is drawn away from the game's handicapped peripherals.
The pared down commentary from three of golf's most recognizable personalities doesn't just fall short, it falls off. Sam Torrance, Ian Baker-Finch, and Alan Green surely aren't to blame -- despite their plain vanilla delivery -- but too many times I've been chided for a shot that'll "still take a lot of work" when I'm only a foot or two from the cup. Or they'll congratulate me for a shot that I "shouldn't have any complaints with" when I've hooked it off into deep left, somewhere between the Ponderosa pines and the pixilated pond scum. At least they don't hit you below the belt from the safety of the commentator's box, but you have to take what they say with either a grain of salt or a sense of humor.
When your game does turn into a walk in the woods, try not to step into the piles of past-dated graphics lying underfoot. No, you're not seeing a leafy-green level of Darwinia, you're actually trying to hit a low-flying "worm burner" beneath the Lego-block tree leaves and up over the cross-hatched ground flora. Again, try to ignore the commentators when they say you should have "no complaints there" as the camera locks itself into position behind a thick-leafed arbor of your choice.
And also try to ignore the aimless applause from the invisible audience as well. The intensity of the golf clap they award is based on how far you drive the ball, not on the ball's lie or on any particular skill shaped into the shot.
While you're at it, ignore the stoic faces riveted under each one of the golfer's caps. Ignore the exact same tilt of the head they all share, and ignore their industrial strength poker faces. Ignore the assembly-line constructed walk, crouch, and lineup that they carbon copy off one another. And ignore the two-item wardrobe on your non-customizable character (somebody send these guys a Lacoste gift card for Christmas).
Ignore the fact that you're never given a visible grasp of any golfer's stats and abilities, and you're never fed any more information about these purportedly top-shelf players other than perhaps a five-second bio voiced over at the beginning of a tournament.
While ProStroke has got a hit on its hands with its patented thick and rich simulator golf swing, this flagship offering has a long par 5 ahead if it wants to contend with golf gaming's big boys. Just as a good racing simulator is more than a gas pedal and a gear shift, a good golf simulator is more than a foot position and wrist snap.
While the innovative ProStroke golf swing system goes the whole nine, it's got a ways to go before it makes it all the way to the 18th. Kudos for bringing the game of golf back to its mechanics and giving non-Golden Tee fans what they've been craving. Pour as much attention-to-detail into the rest of the game, and the ProStroke name will have a fighting chance against Tiger & Co.
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