A little while ago I professed my absolute love for The Golf Club and how much I hoped that The Golf Club 2 would be all I dreamed about. You can check out the previous article here
So now with the released of The Golf Club 2, I finally got to get my gloved left hand on the controls. The game once again being developed by HB Studios they have given us what could be the greatest golf game released.
The Golf Club 2 builds upon the unique gameplay that made the first game such a joy yet a nightmare at the same time. Hitting straight shots is no easy feat, having the slightest deviation from the thumbstick causing the ball to veer off drastically either way. The game takes you through a pretty comprehensive tutorial when you first start the game. Taking you through shot shaping, getting good tempo on your swing, and the short game. That is putting and chipping to the non-golf initiated.
Once through the tutorial, you are let loose to choose what you want to do. Play through a round of golf, created a career, customise your golfer, or create a Society.
Starting with customisation, this has been improved upon greatly from the first game. Previously only having a few options to pick from, you can now customise to your hearts content. Along with standard colour changes to your clothing, you can now purchase different designs to wear out on the course. Although none are from branded companies, you can make them individual with any combination of colour you can dream up.
Moving onto your bag, and The Golf Club 2 now allows you to customise the look of your clubs, change the head design and colours, shaft colour as well as the grip colour. None of the changes you make will affect the way that the club performs, but it makes you look good when you step up with a Bubba Watson’esque pink driver.
Moving onto the course and you are greeted with lush greens and deep browns aplenty. The games mechanics have been improved and the swing seems much smoother and responsive. This combined with the fact that the game now reacts realistically when it was in heavy rough or the sand. Previously this seemed to be a bit glitchy, where you would hit from the sand and it wouldn’t travel as it should.
Its a golf game, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the courses. This is what The Golf Club 2 does to set it apart from the limited competition. The Course Designer is the shining light in the dark, the hole in one. Being able to create any course you want means that the game is near endless. This also means that shortly after launch there will be thousands of couses from all over the world on the game. From favourites such as Chambers Bay, to quite possibly your local course. They will all be generated in the game to usually a high standard. I remember playing the Taunton Vale course on The Golf Club and each part of the course was as accurately detailed as the game would allow.
So randomly generator a course using a few different options. From locale of the course, to the number of holes, right the way down to the width of green. There is a multitude of options, and rather than detail them all out here it would probably be easier for you to watch a short video on the Course Designer contained within The Golf Club 2.
So now we move onto the Societies section of the game. This essentially is where you can create a golf club, where friends and strangers can take part in tournaments and competitions. Starting from the bottom you create the name, colours for the clubhouse as well as the logo. Create a tournament and then let people take part in that competition. Earn money through entry fees, or allow people to join free of charge and become part of the legacy you are trying to build. Have enough money in your club account and you can upgrade your clubhouse to all sorts of styles.
The one thing that The Golf Club 2 represents fantastically is something that real world golfers refer to as ‘Feel’ This can only be described as that ability to rely on your golf clubs to perform the shots that you want too. So how does the game allow you to experience this ‘Feel’? Firstly there are no guide lines to rely on when seeing where your ball is going to land. You have to aim in the general direction of where you want your ball to land. Check the wind strength and direction, check whether you are above or below your target, and then you are ready to hit the ball. Now it’s not as easy as swing back and through the ball. You have to think about the tempo of your swing, taking back a nice steady backswing will allow you to transition through to the downswing comfortably and giving a decent downswing will also help in getting the most out of your club. Chipping from around the green and it steps up a difficulty, with no power meters you are left to work out quickly the length of backswing you need. Say you are using a club that can chip to a distance of 50m and you are only 20m away from the flag. You then have to determine a 40% swing, but whilst doing that you have to ensure that you have a successful downswing. Too slow and you will hit a little dribble of a shot, too fast and you will accelerate into the ball and send it scooting off the other side of the green.
As you can imagine, explaining ‘Feel’ is difficult and the only way that you can experience it is to pick up the game and get out on the course.
The Golf Club 2 stands up against other sports games out there, whilst it might not have the quality of an NBA 2K game it shows of the world of golf perfectly. Showcasing the foliage of trees very well as well as character models. No longer are the slouchy stances in this game, with the character models more accurately representing how you would address the ball in real life.
Being able to edit colours does have its own problems, being able to pick any colour available known to man can create some very unrealistic and garish outfits. This doesn’t downgrade the graphics one bit and hitting a ball off the tee whilst looking at the lovely vista is always a joy.
The sounds present in The Golf Club 2 are perfect for what you would expect. Birds chirping and animals making whatever sounds they do. All down to the sound of club contacting with the ball are perfectly represented. Even the commentary voice has a hint of sarcasm with some of the quotes.
The nice and relaxing music as you go through the menus is always welcome, although after a while this can get slightly annoying.
With the game having an unlimited amount of courses there is a huge replay factor. Taking part in competitions either within your society or just in general also gives you a large amount of gameplay to take part in. Add friends into the mix and you can imagine the hours of golfing fun that you have ahead of you.
So with all that in the basket, HB studios have built on the great things that the first game brought to the table and have taken it to what could potentially be the upper echelons of great golf games. The Golf Club 2 drives its way into a Thumb Culture Gold Award.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.