Thursday, March 01, 2007

Use an open-faced club! The sand-wedge!

Wii Sports: Golf. It's not yer uncle's golf.

Golf is the most complicated of the games in Sports, and as a result it probably has the most solo replay value. There are a number of things you need to take into account. Wind speed and direction. The lay of the green. What club do you want to use? How hard do you want to hit it? Will you try to take a shortcut over that distant water hazard, or will you play it safe and save the strokes?

The basic controls are pretty self-explanatory. You hold the Wiimote like a golf club. You can practice-swing. To approach the ball, you need to hold in a button. It's simple. The game will choose which club is best for your current needs (although you can, of course, experiment). One of the ancillary buttons shows you the lay of the green, which is essential for the more difficult levels of putting. Obviously, you'll need a means to adjust your direction to make up for wind speed, and the control pad does the job nicely.

I've never played actual golf, but I've always assumed that swinging the club would be the most difficult part. In this game, it's just the opposite. You get an unlimited amount of practice time, and it gives you a gauge to show you if you're too weak or too powerful. The real challenge of Wii Golf is dealing with the environment. The wind is killer, and as you progress in level the courses get more and more elaborate.

Along with bowling, this is one of the only Wii Sports games that allows for multiplayer with only one controller. Also much like bowling, I got beaten severely every time. Great.

My only problem with Golf is the putting. When I'm putting, I expect to use an extremely gentle touch. However, you have to put quite a bit of power into the Wiimote swing to get your putt on. It's not a problem and you can make enough adjustment to get used to it, but it seems a bit unnatural.

I like golf, although I would appreciate some sort of fun mini-game involving driving the cart like crazy around the courses. And I would love--LOVE--if Nintendo created and sold Wii Mini-Golf with a variety of courses. Of all the Wii Sports games, this is the one that most deserves a full-version expansion.

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