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Saturday
Jul222017

The Golf Club 2 Review (Xbox One)

My father found his way on the green in regulation, his confidence high despite being annoyed by his inability to hit the long ball even in a video game, so sure he’d be able to one-putt the green and land himself a birdie since his ball landed a mere 8 feet from the hole. He pulled back on his putter and swung forward. His putt went long, very long. He looked at me, confused, and then returned to the game, pulled back again and swung. This time he was short, very short. He looked at me again, his eyes defeated, silently asking me, “Why my dear son, why is this game treating me like golf does in the real world?” I had no reply and could only watch as it took my father five strokes before his ball finally landed in the cup. Upon seeing his triple bogey appear in his scorecard, my father promptly handed me the controller in a way that said without words, “I don’t ever want to play this game again.”

That was my father’s first and last experience with The Golf Club 2.

Now, I don’t think The Golf Club 2 is bad and it is unquestionably a significant improvement over the previous game, at least on Xbox One (where I played both); however, the biggest problem with the original game still exists with The Golf Club 2: it is, in no way, accessible for casual players. There is no easy difficultly and no assists of any kind for those who just want to relax with a round of digital golf every now and again. This, of course, won’t be an issue for the most extreme golf fans who love a challenge and want nothing more than to devote many hours to learning the nuances of how far back one needs to pull their putter in order to hit the ball exactly 57 feet, but for anyone else, anyone who enjoys golf games for the relaxing, beautiful simplicity they can be, The Golf Club 2 is not the game for them.

I don’t find The Golf Club 2’s difficulty problematic myself—think of it as the Dark Souls of golf games—and I know there are those who enjoy the challenge as well, but any chance of reaching a larger audience is buried deep in the deepest bunker because the game, as the mentioned earlier, doesn’t offer many options to make the game easier, other than the ability to choose one of three golf sets, exchanging power and distance for more reliable accuracy, but this isn’t nearly enough. Something is wrong when someone like my father, an avid golfer and fan of golf games, tries and fails to find enjoyment because he isn’t someone who can just pick up a controller and “be good,” instead requiring a bit of help from a game, like the existence of auto-aim assist in many console shooters. But The Golf Club 2 doesn’t concern itself with people like my father, people who like golf and golf games on a casual level, but don’t want to (or have the time to) devote hours and hours to a game in order to learn and master its subtleties.

All that said, if you like a challenge and really love golf, or you enjoyed the original game and just want more of the same, The Golf Club 2 is a solid upgrade over the original. The visuals have seen a significant upgrade, with much better texture quality and character models [on Xbox One]; though, if you look closely, you’ll be reminded that this is still a lower budget game and won’t be tricking anyone into believing it’s a real life tournament they’re watching. The course designer, which is one of the series’s biggest selling points, is better than ever, more robust and surprisingly easy to use. And the commentary has been improved quite a lot as well; though, I still found myself turning it off in favor of listening to podcasts instead more often than not. Overall, The Golf Club 2 is a strong follow-up to the original game, adding several layers of polish that make it an overall better experience, but, as I’ve already said and will say one last time, it doesn’t do anything to attract new players and, most importantly, doesn’t do anything to attract the more casual player who may have tried and disliked the first game, hoping a second game might fix the problems they had. Sadly, The Golf Club 2 only delivers more of the same and nothing new, for better or worse.

The Golf Club 2 [official site]

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