Golf is a hit and miss sport, some love it, some hate it. But for those who do enjoy a game here and there, it is generally a good experience being out in nature working on your technique, others are pure frustration. With the number of sports simulation games, it is great to see one developer and publisher who gives golf fans a truly immersive experience from your comfy couch and that is HB Studios and Maximum Games with the new title, The Golf Club 2.
After great success with The Golf Club, this new game brings everything that made the first game so good and expanded it further. Players have the ability to fully customise their character, in fact, to a much greater extent than any other game.
The expanse of variation spans greatly on not just the characters themselves, clothing of course and equipment. You have freedom to choose brand and particular clubs in your kit. This can be expanded more as you progress.
I particularly liked the assortment of course that are available to play. These not only include the ones from the previous title but also new official courses as well as many user-created ones for you to play at your leisure. It is reported that these accumulate to over 100,000 courses so you will never be short of variety.
Speaking of user-generated courses, the creator itself is simple to use and deep with options to make the perfect or unique course ever. The possibilities are endless and the power is in your hands.
My preference was to complete the tutorial and jump straight into the new Career Mode as I already had numerous hours of experience in The Golf Club. What this showed me was that although the game retained its simplicity and familiar appearance, there was still something that felt fresh with the new game. Shot modification appeared more important, and more attention was required. It was a strange feeling and yet appealing. As in, it became clear that this isn’t just a slightly tweaked version of the first game. It gives even seasoned players a new experience and something to learn.
One of the new features is the focus on backswing and downswing. Where these didn’t seem overly important before, now have considerable affect to your shots, get it wrong and you will see a difference in outcome.
The Golf Club 2 also focuses on community, playing with friends or strangers, joining the Society. Not only do you have other real-life opponents to beat on the scoreboard, but having the feature to join Teams, Leaderboards so you can show off how well you are doing and earn extra currency through tournaments. This is a game to enjoy with others and the incentives are all here for you to do so.
Audio & Visuals
One thing you can absolutely guarantee with The Golf Club 2, the audio is going to be very calm, relaxed and serene. You have wind, birds and water, everything you need to remedy your busy day at work. Aside from the environmental, each shot variation has its own unique shound from drivers on the tee, a wedge in the rough and bunkers, to the putters on the green. All these sounds are very familiar to even the most amateur of real life golf.
I was pleasantly relieved to hear John McCarthy, the Senior Audio Designer, return as the commentator. Although the tutorial seemed very robotic and some words oddly accentuated, the rest of the game was similar to the previous game with relevant information and the occasional humourous remark. Honestly, The Golf Club would not be the same without him.
When you consider the graphical expense of a golf game, you can expect a very smooth experience. You can understand that although you do have a large area of visual space, much of this can be saved as this isn’t an open world game. That leaves the local detail to be much greater and little to no lag. This is exactly what you can expect from The Golf Club 2. Everything runs very smooth and looks great thanks to the Unity 5 Engine. Even during the Career Mode, where the crowd is animated with subtle motion and applause. It is a very beautiful game both visually and audibly.
HB Studios and Maximum Games tee off again with The Golf Club 2, a true simulation sports game for all golf lovers and sports gamers alike and it is excellent. It leaves nothing on the table for a realistic gameplay experience. There is no need for gimmicks like exploding ships here.