The Golf Club 2, from HB Studios, is the sequel to 2014’s The Golf Club. The shining part of The Golf Club 2 is in its gameplay, with its deceptively easy, yet deep golfing mechanics. Swinging the club is done by pulling the right stick back to prepare the swing, and then pushing it forward to swing the club.
This simple method of swinging the club made it incredibly easy to pick up and learn, but difficult to master as the speed timing and movement of the stick all affect how your swing goes. Of course you also get to control what clubs you use, what type of hit you make, and what kind of pitch you give the ball.
Rather than have a bunch of meters showing your power and expecting you to time exactly when you need to hit, The Golf Club 2 instead expects you to get a feel for each club and understand how hard you need to make your hits with your thumb. This made every successful swing feel even more satisfying, especially with the excellent sound design of the club hitting the ball.
Speaking of sound, having the crowd and the announcer reacting to your hits emulated the feeling of being at a golf event. Every time the crowd clapped for a good hit, or gasped when I just barely missed a putt, it made every moment feel that much more impactful.
The game is centered around societies, which are player run communities that you can join, play games together and host tournaments. There are also pre-made societies for people to join based on their skill levels, or one that is open for everyone. These are a cool feature, and gives you the chance to test your skills against others, or to have friendly exhibitions with your pals.
The single player aspect of the game is set-up similarly to the online, where you create a society, start events, and then compete in those events against AI opponents. Every time I would see my score stacked up against my opponents It motivated me to try harder and improve my game so that maybe I could beat them next time.
Playing the career mode earns you money which you can use to buy new customization options for your character. There are many options to choose from, and many that are atypical of what you would expect from a golfer (I.E. Zebra Print anything). I was surprised at how much character customization there was actually, with a lot of different clothing options and the option to alter the colors on all of them.
Another core component of the game is the ability to create your own courses. This system was easy to pick up, and provided a lot of depth to it as well. In a matter of minutes, I made a full course into a hellish, sandy nightmare like something out of Mad Max, which, unsurprisingly, was not fun to play on. I look forward to seeing what kind of unique courses people create, as there is a lot of potential to do a lot of different things with the tools they offer.
The graphics in the game are fantastic, and each course has a lot of little details all around that enhance the feel. Buildings in the distance, animals roaming around, all help make each course stand out. Unfortunately because there was a lot to load in texture pop-in can be frequent, especially when the camera flies over a course for the first time.
Another major issue I ran into was server problems, as well as load times. Loading into menus felt overly sluggish, and starting a course would take upwards of a minute or longer just to load sometimes. The game also suffers from some server woes at this time, but I’ve read they are working on improvements for that. When I was playing, I would often get kicked out of the career mode because of the server issues they were having, and that was frustrating at times, especially when it took so long to get into the game in the first place.
The Golf Club 2 provides some of the best golfing gameplay I have ever played. Every swing felt great, and the amount of strategy involved would make any golfing fan happy. Despite not being a pro at the game I found it very easy to pick up and enjoy, and striving to get better feels great when it pays off. The robust course creator gives the game a wealth of possibilities when it comes to courses, and as such it is a game that can keep players coming back. It is a shame the game was bogged down by so many technical issues, because the gameplay is so fantastic and well put together. Hopefully in the future some of those issues can get worked out because this is one game golfing fans should not miss. 8/10
*This review is based on the Xbox One version of the game, it is also available for PS4 and PC*
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