Review: Take one part Dead or Alive: Extreme Beach Volleyball, one part Hot Shots Golf, bake for 30 seconds and you'll get this game.
When the Wii was first publicly announced as Nintendo's new system, many people began to ponder different uses for the innovative controller. Consequently, a golf game only made sense. No other sport allows for such an easy transition to the Wii than one that features the player swinging their arms through the air while aiming at an imaginary ball.
In came Nintendo's first official ?game' Wii Sports that featured Golf as one of the few available mini games in the collection. Although it was fun, the game certainly lacked depth and controls were a bit picky. Here comes Super Swing Golf by Tecmo, based off of the free online MMORPG ?Albatross 18'. For people already satisfied (or not) by the free Golf game in Wii Sports, would Super Swing Golf warrant gamers to plop down another $50.00? The answer is yes.
With highly imaginative courses, colorful characters, and ?real-life' golf swings this game is the answer for your golf fix until the next Tiger Woods game is released. The game's controls are almost dead-on as they represent real-life form. In this game, the better your form the better you'll do.
As a result, real life golfers will definitely benefit faster in this game than someone who's not an avid player. This also makes the game a bit frustrating to play in the beginning as it takes time to get used to the game's swing control mechanics. Personally, I was slicing the ball during each and every swing until I spent the first twenty or so hours perfecting my form. Before your swing, there are three different parts where you'll have a chance to aim and power your stroke. Once you aim the ball using the game's intuitive map system along with basic wind and elevation judgement, you'll have to raise your arms to gain power. Then you press either ?A' or ?B' on the Wiimote before making your final swing.
Driving the ball aside, the putting in the game takes some serious time to get used to. Relying upon a grid system to show the player how the hill is sloping, the player will be forced to spend time analyzing how their ball will react along with the wind in order to avoid shanking a 2-yard putt.
If all of this seems overwhelming to the player, Tecmo was kind enough to include a ?button' mode that will be reminiscent of other console golf games. While it still makes the game fun, it just loses some of its impressiveness and personal satisfaction. Since the game revolves around the player's actual form and skills it's highly satisfying when you're able to outdo the computer in any hole. Especially when they're getting either a Birdie or a Par on every course.
Along with this satisfaction however comes the fact that the game will make some players want to throw their Wiimotes against a window as they see the computer make miracle shot after miracle shot. I mean, having a ball that bounces against the side of a volcano and then going into a tree only to land directly in a golf hole is impossible right? Or is it? It's moments like this where the player will become highly frustrated yet won't be able to stop playing. Helping to level out the playing field however are various power-ups and items to help you outdo that villainous CPU.
Features wise, the game contains possibly one of the deepest single-player golf games I've played. As you progress through the game's various modes (Pangya Festa, tournaments, match plays, and practice) the player is rewarded with a currency called ?Pang' for making nice shots and getting their score under par. Similar to Dead or Alive: Extreme Beach Volleyball, the player uses Pang to unlock more characters, outfits, and purchase extras such as items and artwork. Every piece of equipment in the game gives the player's characters added stat bonuses, which gives the game with a unique RPG feel. Although this provides players with an incentive to play on, much of the game is locked in the beginning with only two of the eight characters available from the get go.
Although the game focuses on unlocking everything for multiplayer from the single player mode, multiplayer mode is still unbelievably fun and only needs one controller for four players. In addition to your typical match mode, a fun mini-game mode called ?Balloon Pop' was included in the game. In this mode, the more balloons you pop the more points you'll get. Although this isn't as easy as it sounds. During each of the players' turns, the other players can actually do things to distract him or her such as draw on the screen or having their controller ?vibrate' in their hands while they're trying to swing.
Despite all of the positives in the game, there are a few glaring weaknesses that are apparent and takes the game's value down a notch. First off, the game requires the player to watch every stroke the computer makes, which causes some of the nine-hole matches to last insanely long only to watch yourself end up in defeat. A larger problem is the fact that you can only have one profile active at a time when playing. This means that your younger brother's ex-girlfriend's mother can go and ruin all of your own personal records or spend your pang. There are a few but very tedious ways to get around this. They mostly involve a SD card and resetting the game multiple times. Also, there's no online mode. Hopefully Techmo will include one in a sequel.
Visually, this game is decent. While it's not groundbreaking in any way, it's pleasant and helps to give the game a very nice fantasy-like atmosphere. Obviously inspired by anime, each of the characters has a nice feel to them and the player can customize each one to his/her own likeness. Additionally, the courses provide a dynamic setting to golf that's different from any other. You'll get a chance to golf on ice, in between ships, and even on frozen battleships. The downside though is that there's no 480p or widescreen support in the game.
Audibly, the game's soundtrack is pleasant which is good as it's the only thing that you'll hear during the game with the exception of the occasional (or frequent) ?Pangya!' for making a nice shot. The game would have been greatly enhanced with the inclusion of voice acting during Pangya Festa (the game's story mode) but it isn't significantly hurt by its absence either.